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Personal Best: Making the Shift

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INTRODUCTION

In the athletic arena, we celebrate elite athletes for the Strength, Endurance, and Power that allow them to highlight their talent. In individual sports, such as weight lifting, track and field, and swimming, an acronym exists for athletes’ optimal performances—their “PB”—their Personal Best.

In our personal lives, we too exercise our competencies of Strength, Endurance, and Power. I call this the Resiliency Fitness Paradigm—the arena that in which we highlight our Resiliency. We demonstrate our abilities to rebound despite deficits, to thrive despite setbacks, and to establish our Personal Best. (This functions on an individual and a group level.)

The key to the Resiliency Fitness Paradigm lies in how we exercise our Strength, Endurance, and Power in life. The Paradigm speaks to psychosocial fitness, blending both the psychological and social self, and how well suited we are to respond so that we suffer less. The issue is complex because Resiliency rarely has statistics (except, for example, when counting money or persons). Nevertheless, we can judiciously assess our own Personal Best based on quality of life and the quality of our relationships.


COMPETENCIES AND TRAINING PRINCIPLES

Consider weight-lifters: These athletes encounter challenges to Strength, Endurance, and Power in accordance with three training principles—Overload, Recovery, and Adaptation. The weight that they lift pushes their abilities to the limit. They Recover in between workouts, and their muscles and cardiovascular system Adapt. With consistent effort over time, their Personal Best improves.

Consider you and me: We encounter challenges to our Strength, Endurance, and Power. Life delivers crises that Overload our sensibilities; some feel more manageable than others, but life tests our ability to respond. Putting aside our shortcomings, we exercise our competencies to the best of our abilities, our Personal Best. We eventually enter a period of Recovery. As we gain perspective, if we are wise, the lessons we glean yield to Adaptation—we know better. Adaptation gives us the “magic” ingredient for future reference, feeding our Personal Best for the next Overload.


WHY INVEST IN PSYCHOSOCIAL FITNESS?

Resiliency Fitness and our Personal Best determines our ability to Adapt and Adapt well. Prolonged crises increase the risk of trauma if insufficient Resiliency prevents a Personal Best:

  • Failing to properly grieve a break-up, we may avoid future loving partnerships.
  • Avoiding medical care may threaten a timely prognosis and lead to premature death.
  • Difficulties in establishing intimate friendships may impede necessary happiness.

Endowed with a native inclination to solve problems, we need not await crises before we test our Personal Best. Resiliency and thriving take root in our conscious mind, lying dormant until we decide to cultivate them. At the very least we avert dysfunction; at the very best we invite prosperity. In a world that often hails winners over losers, where competition often pegs profit against loss, let us shift our consciousness to our Personal Best.


HEROES Resiliency Fitness Training guides the co-creative process of personal development that supports resiliency and thriving. I can facilitate your cultivation of Strength, Endurance, Power, and more through individual and group resiliency coaching—Co-Creative Transformation. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Coach,, and we will work together to invite your HEROISM!

An Irrevocable Triumph: A Midnight Taxi

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The hour hovered around midnight and my mother slept in her bedroom. I cried in mine. I often cried privately at home (and publicly at school). My mother lent ample cause to my distress—rejecting my individuality, issuing tirades at my expense, and being unwilling to take responsibility for the harm she perpetrated. At 15, having worked with LICSWs (social workers/psychotherapists) and the public school psychologist for years, I knew that my mental health presented crises. No practitioner ever reported a diagnosis to me, but I had read about Major Depression, and I knew I lived with it.

I left my house in the middle of the night, taking a taxi to the Emergency Room at Franklin General Hospital. The explanatory note that I left on the kitchen table read: I went to the hospital to find out why I get so sad all the time.

Because I was underage, the hospital could not admit me without parental consent. I feared my mother’s wrath were the hospital to call in the wee hours and wake her. As second thoughts arose, regarding whether she would consent to my initiation of an inpatient stay or perceive this as a public embarrassment, a reproach for her parenting skills, and spurning of our home life, I opted not to wait until morning only to have her come and get me.

I needed the power of an authority on my side. Not finding any, I aborted this request for help and opted to walk home, arriving home by dawn, removing the note from the kitchen table, and returning to sleep with voiceless desperation. What child takes herself to the Emergency Room and asks for a psychiatric admission?

What Strength! My gumption to call a taxi and walk myself into an ER manifested maturity and sheer courage. By yielding to my vulnerability and taking measures to ask for help, I demonstrated fortitude. The resourcefulness to seek medical help reflected the asset of education.

What Endurance! I had carried my burden—albeit with copious tears—with keen personal insight. My perseverance despite crushing emotional pain spoke to tremendous patience. The patience did not feel like patience, or like any asset at all, yet somehow day upon day my mind continued to trouble-shoot and problem solve.

What Power! In the face of mental illness, there seemed to be absolute powerlessness—a sickness that I could not control. This truth of this perception prevailed for me. Yet I owned my response. I possessed the power to choose the next right step for me and the autonomy—the self-governance—to take it.

The failure of my orchestration to get medical help frustrated, disappointed, and dismayed me, but the attempt spoke to an irrevocable triumph: I had advocated for myself. Resourcefulness, insight, autonomy, and self-advocacy facilitated a heroism that, at the time, I could not appreciate but today is undeniable.

Heroism can be vividly dramatic, as in my story, and it can be ordinarily extraordinary. Among the nine competencies—including STRENGTH – ENDURANCE – POWER—heroism develops through grave hardship and through unpretentious dedication. We cultivate it through examination of how we focus our time and attention, how patterns of relationship and work contribute to our personal growth, and how our reactions and decisions take root and take wing. Do you know that we were born to be our own HEROES?

Did you hesitate to answer? Did you answer “yes” resolutely? HEROES Resiliency Fitness Training guides the co-creative process of personal development that supports resiliency and thriving. I can facilitate your cultivation of Strength, Endurance, Power, and more through private resiliency coaching—Co-Creative Transformation. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Coach,, and we will work together to invite your HEROISM!

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