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Commander's Corner: Practicing resilience

  • Published
  • By Col. Stuart M. Rubio
  • 403rd Wing Commander

 “We’re talkin’ about practice, man!” – Allen “The Answer” Iverson

I’ve talked many times about the challenges we’re going through and how important it is for us to continue improving our resiliency. This month, while still working through the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with financial challenges, we’re faced with the task of showing the visitors conducting our Unit Effectiveness Inspection how awesome the 403rd Wing really is. It’s a tough challenge because our level of awesomeness is just so great!

Earlier this fall, wing leaders had lunch with Ms. Amy Morgan, the founder and CEO of Academy Hour, as she gave a briefing entitled “Suicide Explained.” During her talk, she said something about resilience that really resonated with me. She simply said that, “teaching resiliency is not about turning people into psychopaths.” If you’re like me, you read that and said, “WAIT, WHAAAAAT?” But she went on to explain that a psychopath is someone who can walk up on an absolutely horrific situation and think, “Hmmm, interesting.” Whereas, anyone else would be traumatized and have trouble processing what they’d seen.

Said a different way, learning and improving your resilience is not about being unaffected by your challenges. It’s about having and PRACTICING with tools to be ready when forced to face those challenges. Those tools can be a person you talk to or “unload on” who can be a friend, family member, or a professional. They include activities you do to clear your mind or lower your stress: like exercise, listening to music, or painting. They can be watching a show or your favorite sports team … though my wife would say that’s an activity that definitely does not lower my stress level. Or they can be meditating or just sitting quietly on the beach. But the more we PRACTICE our resiliency tools, the better off we are when those challenges come our way. The higher our resiliency skill level, the better prepared we are to work our way back from an extreme stressor or multiple stressors.

So keep PRACTICING and looking for new ways to improve your resiliency or support others in theirs so you’re ready for weekends like this one when it’s game time!