The Resilient Leader is Transformed

He was the greatest golfer ever, and then he wasn’t.


He changed his swing, national news focused on his infidelities, his marriage fell apart, sponsors abandoned him, and surgeries prevented him from competing.


After falling to #1199 in the world rankings, Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters and his first major win in 11 years. They describe this as the greatest comeback in sports history.


Everybody gets knocked down, but not everyone’s resilient.


Some leaders are in prison due to circumstances and they can’t get up.  Often, it’s not that they can’t get up, they are afraid to face the truth.


In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell described stages of the hero’s journey: the adventure, the threshold, the trials.  Ultimately, a revelation must occur that leads to transformation and rebirth.


Revelations “reveal” the truth.  Something opens your eyes to a new reality.  You think again, or “repent”.


In an interview with Forbes, Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela described the transformation at Microsoft under the tenure of Satya Nadella. They spent the first six months of his leadership in “wallowing” at their state of affairs.  Microsoft missed many opportunities and screwed-up.  They had to repent, think again, allow something to reveal the truth.


A new spirit of humility transformed the company.


I once heard John Maxwell say, “when you get knocked down, don’t pull yourself up right away.  Stay down and look around, you will learn something.”


Falling hurts, it can be shameful.  I already thought “I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough”, but now I know it.  My brain wants to focus on that and avoid the pain of exposing myself again.  Shame isolates me and keeps me from reality.


Joseph Campbell pointed out that a guide helps you see reality and to get back on course.  In the Hobbit, Bilbo had Gandalf the wizard. He also had the “fellowship” of elves, dwarfs, and men who kept him safe and valued his contribution.  They helped him believe.


Resilience may be an art, the ultimate art of living, but it has recently been subjected to the scrutiny of science. This much is known so far. At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself.

Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.” Psychology Today

I know many leaders in many stages of resiliency; some in prison, some are thriving.  The most resilient embraced their situation, changed their thinking and learned a new dimension of living.  It has transformed them and are thriving in a better situation.  You can too.