Master FISH! trainer Deena Ebbert brings The FISH! Philosophy to teams and organizations around the globe. We asked her what culture issues are on their minds these days. She named four. Here are her thoughts on the first—Resilience.
“As the pace of work becomes more demanding, people need to find ways to handle stress. Resilience is what keeps us going when things go sideways. And whether it’s our work or personal life, something’s always going sideways.
“I maintain my resilience through the FISH! practice of Choose Your Attitude. For me it’s a must. It’s like taking vitamins every day.
“For the longest time I didn’t understand I was in charge of my attitude. I just knew things would happen to me and I would be obliged to feel miserable. I finally realized I’m the boss of me. I can’t control what’s coming at me but I can be ready in advance.
“Now I prepare. I carry a little piece of paper with a better attitude I can look at if I get off track. Once when I knew I really needed a certain attitude, I wrote it on my arm in Sharpie. I can be resilient because it reminds me I can choose.
“The other thing that helps me be resilient is Play. When you go through your day with a sense of playfulness, it trains your emotional muscles. When rough spots come at you, you can jump right over them.”
A little help from my friends
“When I started working 30 years ago, you never showed weakness and tried to handle everything yourself. But now I know to be resilient, I need people to help me.
“They’re people I can confide in and be vulnerable and be myself. They encourage me when I need it and challenge me when I need it. They tell me the truth.
“Some days they might give me a squeeze on the elbow and say, ‘You look like you’re going to flip over some tables today. Is that really what you want to do?’
“They remind me I don’t have to pour gasoline on every emotional fire. I can let it just burn out and not waste energy on stuff that isn’t good for me.
“We all need people who carry us when we can’t carry ourselves. And when I know you’re going to carry me when I can’t carry myself, I want to work hard to be stronger so I can carry you when you can’t carry yourself.
“That’s what The FISH! Philosophy is about. Being there for each other, making each others’ day, choosing our attitudes, being playful so we are more resilient—and accomplish what we need to.”
As told to Phil Strand / Image PROPS to René Schindler