How to find the path to resilience

Jan 13, 2022 | 0 comments

In our current context there’s a growing need for resilient workers, leaders, and organizations. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulty. It requires openness to change. But here’s the issue: we don’t change well on our own. 

We may even resist change, digging in our heels and grasping for old certainties that don’t exist any longer. The road of resistance keeps us stuck. But forging a path of resilience can set us free. What does this path look like?


In seasons of transition and uncertainty, we need voices on the outside to disrupt our thinking by reflecting our thoughts back to us, challenging us to consider why we think and perceive things the way we do. 

This is the path of resilience: disruption, reflection, learning, and action. 

Working backwards, action comes from learning. You learned something because you created space to reflect and add to what you knew. But we often don’t reflect without a disruption. So, put simply? That disruption you’re experiencing just may be an invitation to action, but not without reflection and learning.

This path is hard to do in isolation, as most of us can testify. Been there. Done that.

My wife knows I’m pretty darn ticklish, and she’ll take advantage of that at times. It doesn’t take much effort on her part to make me squirm. But even as a ticklish individual, I can’t tickle myself. Leadership coach Marcia Reynolds states, “For the same reason we can’t tickle ourselves, our brains resist self- imposed testing of thoughts and reactions.” The catalyst for transformation requires engaging a process of disruption from the outside.

In this season, do you find yourself welcoming the disruption, or resisting it?


Life in cross-cultural work involves enough disruption, so inviting it might sound like scheduling a root canal, “just because.” But it doesn’t have to be. Instead, one of the keys is to invite outside “disrupters” into our lives. An outsider (even this month’s “Reflecting and Planning” packet) brings the gift of presence, active listening, and powerful questioning. When we have the courage to invite disruption, the stories we tell ourselves—our personal narratives—can change. In the process, we begin to learn and grow outside our perceived limits, moving all the while toward greater resilience.

What’s been your personal narrative through this season, the story you’ve been telling yourself? Has it been one of resistance or openness? Is it leading to resilience or feelings of stuckness?  These personal narratives impact our emotional and spiritual well-being, our relationships and organizational cultures. 

Engaging a process of disruption, reflection, learning and action lends itself to changing the narrative and creating a culture of personal and professional resilience.


Okay, so you’ve experienced a disruption and you’ve reflected and learned from it. These three steps can combine to create the clarity and momentum necessary for positive Spirit-led action to take place.

But the process takes time. 

The temptation is to leap into action too soon, hoping to avoid the pain and uncertainty by making it to the other side of the disruption. As a result, the process of learning and growth gets sabotaged. Here are some potential focus areas to consider as you slow down, invite disruption, and move toward greater resilience:

—Revisiting personal and organizational core values.
—Soaking in God’s Word regularly…renewing your mind.
—Sorting and sifting ideas and options by engaging in a season of discernment.
—Confronting identity issues and aligning what I do with who I am.
—Learning new strategies for consistently showing up and taking action.
—Recognizing and removing obstacles to growth and development.
—Focus and self-discipline….leading yourself with greater intentionality.
—Prioritizing what matters most and creating strategies to achieve desired outcomes.

Some questions to consider…

Which of the above focus areas could take on a community or organizational approach? Which ones are more personal, individual, and reflective?

Who could you invite into your personal journey toward greater agility as you consider these focus areas? A coach, counselor, spiritual director, mentor, trusted friend?

I do not mean to make the path of resiliency sound like a simple formula. “Just reflect, learn, take action and voila! Resilience.” That’s why I talk about it being a path, a path with twists, turns, maybe even a few rocks. But a path that you can travel with the Lord and fellow travelers. 

One of the steps you can take is to join this month’s Reflecting and Planning challenge. One of the actions you might take after you work through the packet is to work with a coach, like me, to help you engage with the path that God has you on. 

P.S. What if plan to grow, but have no actual plan? ‘What could be‘ turns out to be ‘what never was.’ This doesn’t have to be true of you. You can Grow in 2022! Enroll before doors close for the course on Friday. Enroll today.

Photo by Alexander Milo on Unsplash

Tim Austin

Husband of one. Father of three. Coach. Podcaster. Cross-cultural worker.



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