“Fall down seven, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb.
We have all felt the pain of falling down. When we do, I know, first hand, that it can be challenging to find the resilience to get back up again.
The emotions we place in our backpacks when we trip and stumble are similar to what I felt during the early days of my near-death cycling accident recovery. These moments can shake our identity and create a sense of loss. When this happens, it’s hard to get back up, but when we do, a better tomorrow is possible.
When I struggled to get back up in the hospital, I developed my G.R.A.C.E. model to help me keep pedaling. Here’s how you can use G.R.A.C.E. to get back up and become more resilient.
G is for Gratitude
When I started my gratitude practice, it helped me see what I still had and could do. It helped me realize what and who had in my life as I grieved for what was.
“No Mud, No Lotus.” – Chinese Proverb
The cool thing about gratitude is that your practice can be anything you wish it to be. I know many who start their mornings with their gratitude journals, while others, including me, have a bedtime routine. It can be as simple as acknowledging what you appreciate right now and how it makes you feel.
I like to focus on the tiniest things and even my challenging moments because I know that little things lead to bigger wins, and challenging moments spark our growth, like how a beautiful lotus appears after it grows through the dark, damp mud.
R is for Reframing
During one challenging moment in my recovery, a mentor shared, “Michael, you go where your eyes go.” Meaning that wherever you place attention is where you put your energy.
“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Englebreit.
Once you have awareness and acceptance, reframing through curiosity is possible. One of my favorite questions is, “Is this moment happening for or through you versus to you.”
At first, I thought my accident happened to me. I was the victim and played that role with precision, but I realized that my accident shifted my perspective and journey for the better over time. It happened to me.
The same is possible for you today. You can acknowledge your challenge and, at the same time, hold space for growth opportunities. This paradox can help you reframe how you see things.
A is for Awareness, Acceptance, Action, and Agility
For many, life is one big hamster wheel chase. During the early part of my career, I spent most of my time chasing happiness, but I later discovered that it’s hard to catch without awareness. I was a great human DOer but hadn’t yet become a human BEing.
“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” – Bill Gates.
Given the pace of life today, you need time to pause, breathe, and reflect to gain awareness and acceptance. They are essential if you wish to reframe your situation and take intentional action.
Unfortunately, not every shot you take will hit the mark; you are human, after all. Agility will help you adjust and implement what you’ve learned during your challenging moments.
C is for Community
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.
As a fan of cycling, my community is my peloton, which is a group of cyclists in a bike race like the Tour de France. Like these cyclists, when we work together, we can go farther faster.
Your peloton is like your personal board of directors, charged with bringing out the best in you and made up of those who can help clarify, comfort, challenge, and celebrate you.
E is for Energy Management
If you wish to be more resilient, then managing your energy is essential. Some may call it your vibe or mojo, but regardless of our labels, how you show up will influence what happens next.
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” – Nikola Tesla.
Energy is something we feel and ripple. Think about how your mood is often improved when you’re hanging out with uplifting people and how it dips when you interact with those who live in a finite world.
One of the best ways to shift your energy is a breathing process I call, Pause.Breathe.Reflect. I used it during my accident recovery and executive career to reset and recharge.
You start with one big inhale and a powerful exhale, and then you transition to a slow five-count inhale through your nose, exhale slowly with a five to eight-count, and repeat for two minutes. It’s a simple way to embrace that slow is fast and manage your energy better.
There you have it. I promise that if you G.R.A.C.E., you will develop the resilience to be tougher than your toughest moments and create a better tomorrow.