Pursuing the Excellent Life
May 3, 2023

Building Your Resilience Inventory (Five-Minute Flourishing)

In this Five-Minute Flourishing episode, Craig dives into the concept of resilience and introduces the idea of a resilience inventory. He highlights the benefits of having and using a resilience inventory to help you deal with life's inevitable adversities. Craig provides a step-by-step guide for creating your resilience inventory, starting with a non-critical self-assessment of the skills, abilities and resources you possess that can help you cope with challenging times.

Jordan Harbinger's Six-Minute Networking course:

Live Well and Flourish website: https://www.livewellandflourish.com/

The theme music for Live Well and Flourish was written by Hazel Crossler, hazel.crossler@gmail.com.

Production assistant - Paul Robert


Craig 00:00

Welcome to Live Well & Flourish. I’m your host, Craig Van Slyke.

In the last episode, I talked about the benefits of stress and brought up the importance of resilience. In this episode, I describe a simple, but powerful idea I call your “resilience inventory”. What it is, how to build one, and how it can help you flourish.

Resilience is an important personal resource that can help you cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and challenges. But resilience is a complex characteristic. It’s the ability to adapt and cope with adversity, stress, or difficult life events, but it’s really not just a single thing. Your resilience is made up of a bunch of other characteristics and abilities. By the way, although characteristics, abilities and resources are all different things, I’m going to use them more-or-less interchangeably here, just to make things easier to follow.

Craig 00:54 

A resilience inventory is really a simple concept. It’s just a list of your personal characteristics, abilities, and other resources you can draw on to get through challenges. A resilience inventory is a compilation of your resources that contribute to your capacity to effectively manage the challenges, stressors and difficulties you face.

There are some significant benefits to having a resilience inventory. The main benefit is awareness of the fact that you have many, many resources that can help you not successfully face difficulties, but grow from them. A resilience inventory will also help you become more resilient, which can lead to enhanced coping, personal growth, stronger relationships, greater adaptability and improved well-being.

 Craig 01:44

Before building your list, you might want some idea about what to include. So, what abilities make you resilient? Really, anything that you draw on to navigate choppy waters makes the list, but here are a few common elements that make up someone’s resilience. Remember, this is just partial list of a few examples:

Craig 02:05  

●       Adaptability

●       Problem-solving skills

●       Self-awareness

●       Emotional intelligence

●       Self-efficacy, which is your belief in your own ability to succeed in various situations

●       Optimism

●       Coping strategies

●       Communication skills

●       Mindfulness

●       Your support network

●       And a lot of other things

I want to spend a little time talking about an especially important resilience resource: your personal support network. Do not discount the importance of your network of friends and colleagues when developing your resilience inventory. This network is an almost endless well of support, whether it be emotional support, workplace support or something else. The support of your friends and colleagues is perhaps the most important resilience resource. So, don’t forget them! One warning though: strengthen your network before you need it. As podcaster Jordan Harbinger often says, “Dig the well before you get thirsty” or something like that. Jordan has a great free course on building your network called Six Minute Networking. I'll put a link in the show notes.

Craig 03:14 

Now that you have an idea of what might make up your resilience inventory, let’s talk about how to create it. The first step is a non-critical self-assessment. Reflect on your current strengths, abilities, characteristics and resources that helped you overcome past difficulties. My advice is to actually write down this inventory. Sometime during the next week, take 20 minutes or so and reflect on what personal characteristics, skills or resources you can draw on when facing challenges. Actually write them down on paper. You can transfer the list to a digital form later, but you want 20 minutes away from devices to really think through your inventory. Go broad on this list, almost like brainstorming. If you think of something, write it down, you can always cross it out later. Also, be detailed. Don’t write down “social network”, write down individual names.  If all you do is this, you’ll have a great resource. Be sure to actually use the list when you face adversity. You can get even more out of your resilience inventory if you use it as a growth tool. It can be the core of a plan for growing your resilience.

Craig 04:26 

Once your self-assessment is complete, categorize your list by grouping similar items into categories like communication skills, emotional skills, adaptability, technical skills, and your social network. To start making your resilience plan evaluate each category and see if there are gaps or areas where you could benefit from further development. Then, set behavioral goals based on your evaluation. Make these goals actionable and dependent on your behaviors, not external events. For example, let's say your social network needs work, your goal could be to contact five people in the next week, or to start Jordan Harbinger’s Six-Minute Networking course. These goals depend on your behaviors, not the actions of others, which makes them behavioral goals.

Craig 05:14 

Be sure to maintain your list. Revisit it periodically and update it as new resources come to mind.

Adversity is part of life. Resilience helps you not only face adversity, but grow from it. Build your resilience and you’ll be better equipped to live a flourishing life.

Talk to you next time.