5 Pro-Tips for Enhancing Resiliency Through Adversity

By Alison Levine, Thursday, April 23, 2020

With access to some of the most incredible faculty that have looked adversity right in the face, we surprised our staff with a guest visit from mountaineer Alison Levine at our weekly, virtual team meeting. Having overcome extraordinary challenges in completing the Adventure Grand Slam - climbing the highest peak on each continent and skiing to both the North and South Poles- Alison offered our team some sage advice on how to be resilient in adverse conditions.


In our current environment, we are challenged with keeping our focus, taking care of ourselves, and meeting demands at work and at home. We all need to have a leadership mentality in order to get through these trying times. Leadership is everybody’s responsibility. It’s not about title or tenure; it’s about realizing that every single member of the team—regardless of title or tenure—has a responsibility to help move the team towards a goal. This leadership begins with strengthening yourself, physically and psychologically. If you are unsure how, here are some tips that you can use daily to practice self-care and be resilient during these times of uncertainty.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for being afraid. Fear is OK—it’s just a normal human emotion—but complacency will kill you. Do not let fear paralyze you. You can be scared and brave at the same time.
  2. Always be ready to pivot. You should be able to take action based on the current situation, vs. taking action based on a previously created plan. Your plan is outdated as soon as it’s finished when you are in an environment that is constantly shifting and changing, so focus on executing based on what’s going on at the time.
  3. When you feel overwhelmed, take big tasks and break them down into smaller parts so that they feel more do-able. And every time you accomplish something that you were focused on—celebrate that success (even if it feels small). Don’t worry about getting to the summit of a mountain every day. Just get to that next section of the trail and be proud of the ground you covered. You don’t have to be the strongest or the fastest in order to get to the top of a mountain; you just put one foot in front of the other.
  4. You are being stressed like never before, and that can wear you down physically and emotionally. Do something every morning that makes you feel strong.  Even if it’s as simple as doing pushups. If you can only do one, that’s fine! Start with one push-up and work your way up to doing more. You will improve each day and before you know it you will be firing off ten push-ups, then twenty and then more. You will see/feel your progress. You will know that you have gained strength. Remaining psychologically and physically strong during this time will help you keep going when you feel like quitting.
  5. Look out for one another. Don’t ever underestimate the power of compassion and words of support (especially in this era of physical distancing where human contact is limited and hugs are not possible). A few kind words can entirely change the outcome of the situation.

This is a global pandemic that has paralyzed the entire world. This is like nothing we have ever seen before. So, cut yourself some slack on the days that you feel like you’re not perfect or productive and remember that all the hardship and struggle right now will make us stronger down the road.