An Invitation to Resilient Leadership
A few years ago, Robert Near, a Veteran working for HealthWest in West Michigan, held a workgroup for CEOs, directors, administrators, and other leaders within his community.
The objective was to facilitate conversations like Peter Block recommends in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging. This is a process of working through issues in a facilitated manner with the goal of raising awareness and solving problems.
As most community workgroups discover, they found it helpful to expect the unexpected.
Although not a high priority going into the community conversation, the workgroup discovered that from executive leadership down to front line staff, they were not properly equipped to support Veterans in their community. They also agreed that they lacked a clear understanding of what resilience looked like, especially as it relates to trauma.
As a next step, Robert attended our 2017 National Resilience Summit in Chicago to benchmark their community work. His time at the Summit planted a vision for creating a conference in his community to spread an understanding of resilience as it relates to trauma in the Veteran community. On a personal level, the Summit inspired him to enroll in graduate school to earn a doctorate degree so he could make a greater impact in the human resilience field.
In a full circle moment, Robert reached out to share his story. He invited me to come to Michigan to keynote the ReCon Veterans Conference… and to keynote a ReCon Youth Conference, an event that was born from the momentum created by the work with Veterans.
A few takeaways:
- Plant seeds and trust the process. Growing resilience is a process of planting and nurturing seeds towards a better future. So is leadership. Years passed before we were made aware of how our Resilience Summit had served as a catalyst for the Michigan work. Your impact might not be immediately – or possibly never – known. Yet, this does not mean that you are not positively impacting others. Show up, put your best work into the world and trust that you are making a difference.
- Stay curious. This story is woven together by threads of curiosity – from the open community conversations that led Robert to attend our Summit to wondering what resilience education might look like in his own community to pursuing a personal path of formal higher education. Keep asking smarter questions with an open mind and see where the answers take you.
- Take inspired action and build momentum. Each community must find its own starting point that inspires collaborative action. Robert’s community identified a pressing need and felt that they could make a difference for Veterans. Along the way, these collaborative efforts and impactful outcomes lit a fire in other community members dedicated to growing stronger youth. Begin working together on the project that most interests you and invite others to make their unique contributions as it grows.
The story continues…
As it happens, Robert reconnected in the midst of us piloting a Resilience First Aid project in Iowa – work highly relevant to the great work he is leading in Michigan. He will be joining us on July 1st for our next event, a Leadership Resilience workshop with David Richmond from the UK.
Backstory: Richmond, CBE, is past Chairman of the Contact Group, a charity partner of the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together Campaign who served 26 years in the Royal Army before receiving a medical discharge for serious wound battles. After rehabilitation, he served as Recovery Director at Help for Heroes, overseeing services for over 18,000 wounded and sick military personnel, veterans and families. He has done a lot of cool stuff… including being a Team Director for the UK Invictus Games and advising other nations on recovery services for Veterans and families, including working with the United States Air Force and supporting NATO in advising the Ukraine. We’re happy to say… he’s also very witty 🙂
We invite YOU to join our Leadership Resilience workshop (full scholarships available).
As Robert can attest… you just never know how our time together might inspire and support your work to strengthen others.