Reflection for Resilience

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Resiliency is about handling stress, uncertainty and setbacks well — in other words, maintaining equilibrium under pressure. And in our modern lives, whether we are at school, at work, or at home, there is no shortage of pressure. Maintaining our equilibrium is something, it seems, we all need these days.

There is something you can do — everyday if you would like — to help build your resilience, your capacity to weather stressful events.

It’s journalling.

Keeping a journal can foster resiliency.

CCL recommends using “learning journals” or “reflection journals” as tools for gaining insight into your leadership experiences. The process of writing and reflection builds self-awareness, encourages learning and opens the door to adaptability.

The form and content of your journal is a matter of individual choice. However, when you do sit down to make a journal entry about an experience that has challenged your equilibrium, we recommend it have three parts:

  1. The event or experience. Describe what occurred as objectively as possible. Don’t use judgmental language. Stick to the facts. What happened? Who was involved? When did it happen? Where did it happen?
  2. Your reaction. Describe your reaction to the event as factually and objectively as possible. What did you want to do in response to the event? What did you actually do? What were your thoughts? What were your feelings?
  3. The lessons. Think about the experience and your reaction to it. What did you learn from the event and from your reaction to it? Did the event suggest a development need you should address? Do you see a pattern in your reactions? Did you react differently than in the past during similar experiences and does that suggest you are making progress or backsliding on a valuable leadership competency?

So remember, capture the event or experience in objective language, describe your reaction, then note the lessons you might get from it. CCL uses journaling as part of almost all our leadership development program experiences and we emphasize with our participants that learning doesn’t come from the “doing” but in the “reflecting on the doing.”

2 thoughts on “Reflection for Resilience

  1. I had an incident with one of my students and a para during the last half of the school year. My student liked to come to our sessions early, as it did not interfere with any other student, I was okay with it. One day the student was five minutes early and was followed by a hall monitor who was suspicious of the student wandering the halls. I normally tried not to come between any school staff and a student. Although I got to know my students well, I only saw them for 20 minutes a day, and knew that the staff may be more aware of their behavior than I did.
    This particular student was sometimes sent down to me by the teacher when he needed to leave his classroom. We had a good connection and it usually calmed him down to sit with me and read or talk. I felt agitated that he had been followed by the hall monitor. But stayed calm and assured her that he did have service time with me, at that time. I wanted to be fair and honest with the staff, but I also wanted to have this student remain willing to come to me when he was stressed rather than get into trouble. To prevent this from happening again, I asked the teacher to give the student a note when she sent him down early, with the time on it when he left so that he was accountable for the time in the hallway.

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