Recently, I fell flat on my face. Yes, flat on my face at the airport in front of hundreds of people. As you can imagine, it was scary, embarrassing, frustrating and so much more. The list of emotions was endless.
How do we get back up when we fall, and I don’t just mean at the airport either. We all fall either physical or figuratively sometimes so how can we recover? We constantly need emotional resilience when life throws us curve balls.
What is Resilience?
It is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s toughness.
Wow. That definition really resonates with me. Back in the days working in big business and when I was starting my own businesses, I had to learn to be tough and resilient. I had to learn emotional resilience which is what resilience predominantly relates to. Learning how to recover quickly from difficulties was a requirement. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have moved forward, would I?
THE REST OF THE STORY
So let me share more of my airport story. I was recently flying cross-country from California. I have a personal policy of booking first class seats when I travel on long flights. As usual, I was one of the first off the plane and was racing to get to my connecting flight. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed before or not, but there’s a little transition or lip between the airplane and the gangway, which I usually navigate with no issues.
However, not this time. I go racing off the plane. Suddenly, my suitcase catches in the gap. I fall flat on my face and my knees. If you know me, you know, I don’t travel lightly, so I had two bags with me that went flying in the air. So, here I am, down on the ground with my luggage all around me. What do you do?
I’m sure you can imagine how I felt. I was in pain, totally embarrassed, and surprised that nobody came to help me. I felt like crying. My first thought was where’s Peter, where’s my husband? I need him because none of that emotional or physical pain I was feeling would have stayed with me very long if he was right there.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because right away it made me think about how many times we fall. It happens. We don’t have a lot of control over it most of time.
What should we do to build resilience? What should we do to make sure we get back up again? I want to share four things with you today.
There’s a lot of things you can do to build resilience, but these are my top four.
Expect and Accept – #1
Learn to expect and accept you’re going to fall. Accept that it’s a fact of life. We are all going to fall, and in fact, the more we put ourselves out there, the greater our chances are that we will fall.
For me, with as much air travel as I do, I excepted I would most likely fall on that silly lip one day. I thought about it, took precautions, and it still happened. So I have to accept that falling down is going to be a fact of life and I should expect it. If I expect I may fall, I might not be as embarrassed. I may feel a little better and bounce back faster.
What happened when I fell? Yes, I was embarrassed? My brain took over and began to think about all those times I fell on the playground as a little kid. What do little kids do when they see another child fall? They typically laugh. They make fun of you. When experiences like this happen your brain recounts similar situations. Your mind replays old recordings, and so immediately you are embarrassed.
RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN
What if instead of being embarrassed, instead of wondering why nobody helped me and thought that they were all laughing at me, what if I thought instead that they didn’t come to my rescue because they didn’t want to embarrass me more? Have you ever been in that situation where you see something happen to someone and you don’t know if you should run over? In fact sometimes when I have run over to help somebody, they are like, no, no, I am okay, like don’t draw more attention to me, lady.
Instead of me thinking about the playground scenario, about all the kids are laughing at me, what if I trained my brain to think people are being positive, people are really just not wanting to make me feel worse? Maybe they are trying to pretend like oh we didn’t see that, don’t worry lady, nobody saw it, you are okay. I know that’s not the case because I was down there for quite a while. But I can begin thinking more positively that those people didn’t come because they didn’t want to embarrass me more, and they were trying to take care of me in that way. Isn’t that a much better way of looking at the situation?
Perspective – #2
The second thing I want you to do is to work on your brain’s perspective. Work on your perspective of falling down, that it’s okay that there’s nothing wrong with it, everybody does it. How many people were in that situation, looking at me saying, oh my gosh, I remember the time that happened to me? Everyone has fallen, slipped or perhaps tripped. Okay, don’t tell me you are one of those people that have never fallen, never tripped on the escalator, never ran into someone’s suitcase or had somebody run you over. Even if you didn’t fall on your face as bad as I did, I bet you tripped up and fell, if not at the airport, somewhere.
Build Emotional Resilience – #3
The third thing I want you to do is to build resilience. Don’t sit there too long. I told you that this time I felt like I stayed down on all fours for a while trying to catch my breath. What did I do next? I got back up, and I started moving. Now, I was still in pain; I was still in physical pain, my knee was burning. I think it was just a terrible rug burn and my hand hurt like I kind of cut it a little bit on the metal. As I got up and as I was continuing to walk through the airport, I was still in physical pain, but my emotional pain was healing.
GET UP AND TAKE ACTION
Getting up and taking action will help you heal emotionally. One thing I knew as I walked through the airport was that nobody else saw me fall. They didn’t know I was in physical pain; they didn’t know I had a big scar on my knee. In fact, I had the jeans on with the big rips and tears in them, and of course, it was right where the big hole was in my jeans. So it wasn’t like I had a nice pair of pants on and I now had a big hole. Nobody even knew that I had fallen down other than me.
I walked through the airport really proud and emotionally fine. My physical pain was there. But what if I had stayed down? What if I had stayed down, what would have happened? Someone would have had to come over and take care of me; someone would have had to pick me up, someone would have had to put me in a chair maybe and wheel me to the next gate. I don’t want that. If I had the power in me which I did, because this wasn’t a bad fall, to get up and take action and go, that’s what I wanted to do. Get up dust myself off and go.
There are times when the fall is so bad, the fall is so hard, and you’re unable to get up. I get that. But, take action to build resilience, you want to take action and get moving, knowing the emotional part will subside. Any physical pain may continue until that healing occurs.
Build Relationships – #4
That gets me to the fourth point, which is, build relationships and work on your relationships. Now, why emotional resilienceis that – why does building relationships help me with resilience? I only told you that one thought came to mind which is, oh darn, I wish Peter were here, or I wish I were traveling with one of my friends. Why? Doesn’t that make everything better when you have your support system right there for support? I mean if you know my husband Peter, you see he would have picked me up so quickly, I wouldn’t even know what happened. He would have grabbed my bags; he would have brushed me off, he would have made me feel much better.
So to build resistance in your life and in order to have resilience, you need a support system, you need to work on your relationships all the time and build that support system because it doesn’t necessarily relate to them being physically there. Because what happened – can you imagine? So I get myself out of the gateway, I start down to my gate. When I get to my gate pretty close, I stopped, and I called that special person. I called my husband on the phone, and I said, you are not going to believe what happened to me, I fell, I was so embarrassed, and my knee is sore. Just hearing his voice calmed me down and helped me feel better immediately.
In other situations where you fall, not physically, but in business or anywhere else, you call someone, and you talk about it. And what did Peter do? He made me feel better. Through our conversation, he supported me, which lifted me up and made me feel better. That’s how you build relationships.
EXPECT IT AND ACCEPT IT.
Know that it’s coming, know that you will fall, accept that it’s a way of life and that’s going to help you build resistance. Work on your mindset and your brain, turn it around to the positive. The fact that people that didn’t come to my rescue isn’t because they were laughing at me. They were probably trying to make me feel better. But I have to train my brain to get those playground thoughts out of my head.
Learn to take action. The more you take action, the more you are going to build emotional resilience. Remember every time you fall or every time you have a difficulty, what’s the resilience definition? You are going to have the capacity to get up quickly and move on. It’s a muscle you have to strengthen.
Continue to develop those relationships. There is nothing in this world that we can’t do when we have a support system and people who come alongside us to cheer us on, to band aid any wounds, or just be there to help us get through life.
My name is Renee Teller, and I am so happy to share this little fall of mine with you today. I know they are going to happen. I am just going to get up, keep going and hope you will too. Share this with a friend and go out and create your amazing life.