In this keynote presentation, Dr. Maria Sirois outlines the last research in the fields of resilience and post-traumatic growth and provides specific tools and perspectives that build individual and team-based resilience, irrespective of the difficulty of the moment. She’ll address what it means to hold a grounded optimism, how we might pivot from derailing thoughts/emotions to beneficial action and what the most successful teams know to do in the presence of complexity. This work blends beautifully with recent understandings as well in the field of leadership development, in particular the work of Hermina Ibarra and researchers in the field of Appreciative Inquiry such as David Cooperrider, who have helped us understand how we might leverage the multiple aspects of ourselves to potentiate success in new and challenging environments.
We know for example, that most of us are resilient most of the time – yet resilience can be strengthened and ought be strengthened (even in times of ease) because we never know when the next assault from life, or the next opportunity will appear. Resilient practices enable us to ride the waves of upheaval with greater ease and clarity, and those same practices, when integrated with positive psychology approaches also enable us to grow and this is relatively new information. Former understandings of resilience helped us return, after difficult events, to our baseline – to levels of functioning that had been true for us before the event (such as a pandemic). Newer understandings, emerging from research in the field of positive psychology, have helped us to see that many of us actually grow through difficult events – activating what is termed Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG).
PTG is a process through which a traumatic or difficult event triggers new understandings in how we see ourselves, how we make sense of our world, what and who we choose to invest in and what we find meaningful. We need to shift our focus from threat to opportunity, build an internal sense of efficacy and grounded hope that both inspires and motivates us to engage the best of ourselves. Resilience is not just about getting through difficult or dangerous times – it is that and more. It also refers to a process through which we learn to center ourselves as leaders of our own lives, and from that place of personal leadership, begin to find the hidden opportunity in every stressor by shaping our thoughts, emotions and behaviors in directions that serve us. This is the difference between a CEO who runs away from conflict, to one who faces it directly after having gathered the necessary information to make the wisest decision possible. It is the difference between an employee hoping that someone will notice her talents, to one who has the courage to ask bravely to be considered for greater responsibility because she has grown in her sense of value and has a clear idea about how she already contributes to the greater good of the enterprise. It is also the difference between a woman who feels oppressed by the demands of the organization and the demands coming at her from home, versus the woman who know how to prioritize, delegate and honor her own needs for recovery and inspiration.
Resilience can be taught and increased at any time.
It does require a focused attention on the habits that currently derail us, and those that actually make a positive difference. Our keynote conversation will highlight a few of the most important considerations in learning to shift our resilient capacity in healthier and wiser directions – ones that enable both wellbeing and success. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of resilient growth, with specific tools that can be practiced both at work and at home, and shifts in perspective that underscore our astonishing ability to rise, even in the most difficult of times.
Maria Sirois, PsyD, is a positive psychologist and seminar leader who teaches internationally in the intersection of resilience and flourishing. Known for her wisdom, authenticity, and rampant humor, she delivers invigorating practices. Maria offers a wealth of perspective from decades of study in the areas of mind-body medicine and resilience to those who seek personal transformation and an increase in meaning, happiness, and health. Maria is the author of A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (And Other Dark, Difficult Times) and Every Day Counts.