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1-250-514-8459 tamara@posminds.com

WHY EVERY MEREDITH NEEDS A CHRISTINA- FOSTERING RESILIENCE AT WORK, AT SCHOOL AND IN LIFE

 

 

 

 

Resilience is a person’s ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity. Your resiliency enables you to take risks and capitalize on opportunities. There’s a large body of work studying resilience and what fosters it and one of the most exciting findings is that having one key person in your life is an indicator for increased resilience.
What are the characteristics a resilient person?        

Self-awareness
Self-regulation
Optimism
Mental agility
Strength of character
Connection
I’m a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and I’ve often been curious about the Meredith Grey relationship with Christina Yang- her “person”. She and Christina define one another as one their go-to for the big questions, when they need a blatantly honest opinion. They have each other’s backs, they take turns lifting one another when they’re down and inspiring one another to do great things. I think Oprah and Gayle are a real life Meredith and Christina.
I’ve had mentors in my life I’ve had teachers in my life. I have a husband and a family and great parents but I don’t know that I’ve ever had a person. 
I understand the value of this person and have consciously made effort for my children to ensure they have one by looking at their coaches and their teachers and making sure they have an adult outside of their parents they can go to who has a good head on their shoulders.
For educators knowing that having this person helps to foster resilience would suggest a model of peer mentoring as a strong identifier for social connection inside school. My daughter’s sorority does this with big sisters and little sisters basically giving every new member someone as their first friend.Questioners might suggest that scripting friendships isn’t realistic but I would advocate that teaching how to foster these friendships will help to create true and real friendships from scratch outside of the scripted situations and in fact I have watched this happen with my daughter.
In your career having a person can steer you through more sensitive professional dilemmas. Having a confidante in a trusted mentor opens the door for two-way conversations about big issues like the Weinstein fiasco that impact the touch barrier in the workplace or even how to deal with uncomfortable situations like the distracting “chatty Cathy” that comes by to gossip while you try to get things done.
I recently discovered the App Shapr whose idea is to make networking simple by introducing you to like-minded professionals that are nearby and are also interested in expanding their networks. My social feeds are filled with people talking about their tribe. Clearly we all need our people.
My goal is to keep attending meet-ups and conferences and yoga classes and school events with a mind that is open to finding my person.
​If you have any great tips to share or stories about you and your person, please share them.

KNOWING YOUR HABIT FORMATION TENDENCY HELPS TO INCREASE HAPPINESS

Prioritizing happiness is a worldwide phenomenon. Given reports like The World Happiness Index (Helliwell, 2012) and the emergence of the new field of Positive Psychology, the emphasis of personal well-being is broadening. When you ask any parent what they want for their child, happiness ranks near the top. Research has proven that practices focused on increased gratitude (Sheldon, 2004) and social connection (Cacioppo, 2008) positively impact self-reported life satisfaction. Effectively using these practices correlates to your ability to successfully form a habit. (Rubin, 2015) Pairing scientific happiness boosting practices with habit formation style will increase their efficacy and improve subjective well-being.

Gretchen Rubin has studied habit formation and discovered four distinct tendencies. To better understand her framework she explains that people have two types of expectations, inner and outer. Outer expectations include deadlines at work, assignments at school and showing up for your running group; they involve others. Inner expectations are keeping New Year’s resolutions, practicing meditation every morning or giving up carbs; these are personal choices. (Rubin, 2015) Research done by Sheldon & Lyubomirsky shows that having a gratitude practice decreases depression and anxiety and boosts an individual’s experiences of subjective well-being.(Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2004) Similarly research done by Cacioppo concluded that strong social connection was an indicator or self-reported well-being.(Cacioppo,2008)
Rubin found the majority of people were able to form habits well when they were outwardly accountable but were less effective at forming habits around inner expectations. She called this group Obligers.(Rubin, 2015) Since obligers need external accountability to form the habits of social connection and gratitude, the practice that would be most effective for their increased happiness would be a gratitude group. This would be a weekly meeting where a group of friends gather and share their daily moment or gratitude from a journal. Having the accountability to show up at a social meeting and to publicly reflect on their week of journaling would meet the requirements of habit formation to effectively boost happiness.
A smaller group are those who are equally good at forming habits around both inner and outer expectations. This group is called Upholders. (Rubin, 2015) Upholders don’t needs external accountability. Once they have a plan to increase social interaction and to practice gratitude, they will act. For this personality sector deciding to have lunch with a good friend every week or putting a daily gratitude thought in a jar in their office will be enough of a prompt to get the habits of gratitude and social connection formed.
A third group Rubin identified will only form habits or meet external expectation if they understand why. This group she calls Questioners. They like to research more than the average person and quite often their need for more and more information can lead to analysis paralysis; the inability move from research to action. (Rubin, 2015) For a questioner to start a gratitude or social connection practice they might prefer to read about successful ones on the website of a scientist who studies gratitude rather than taking the word of their yoga teacher. If they write out a few questions they want answered and make a plan to act once they have found the answers, it keeps them from getting stuck in the research phase.
Finally, there is a group that resists both inner and outer expectations Rubin refers to as Rebels. The rebels are the smallest category (Rubin, 2015). “Mastering habits is a particular challenge for Rebels, because of their general opposition to anything that feels like a chain or a pre-commitment.”(Rubin, 2017 How Does A Rebel Change pg 1) The most effective way for rebels to create change is by using the strategy of identity. This strategy works for rebels as they place ovalue greater than normal on being themselves. They need to define themselves by their new habit and then they are more likely to uphold it. To prioritize gratitude or social connection a rebel needs to define themselves as a grateful person or a very social person. This will encourage their continued action. Rebels also do best when they change their gratitude or social practice regularly so that it feels like choice.
To summarize, gratitude practices and social connection are paths to increased happiness. Knowing how individuals can best form these habits will help ensure success in implementing a strategy for increased gratitude or social connection, ultimately allowing individuals to flourish. Getting happier becomes easier when successful habits are paired with personalized action plans. By taking this simple online test to identify tendency then making an action plan that includes measureable metrics like frequency and duration happiness will increase.

References: Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., Kalil, A., Hughes, M. E., Waite, L., & Thisted, R. A. (2008). Happiness and the invisible threads of social connection. The science of subjective well-being, 195-219.
Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2012). World happiness report.
Rubin, G. (2015). Better than before: Mastering the habits of our everyday lives. Hachette UK.
Rubin, G (2017). How Does a Rebel Change. pg 1 https://gretchenrubin.com/2015/04/how-does-a-rebel-change-habits-one-rebels-clever-solutions
Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2004). Achieving sustainable new happiness: Prospects, practices, and prescriptions. Positive psychology in practice, 127-145.