The Energizer

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Guest Post: 3 Ways to Maximize Your Resilience and Be an Extraordinary Leader

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, May 28, 2018
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Dear readers—I love it when long-time colleagues continue their personal journey toward excellence and serving clients. Cher Holton is just such a colleague. I think you will find value not only in her article, but also in her newest book.


3 Ways to Maximize Your Resilience and Be an Extraordinary Leader

Any leader who has been in the trenches even a short period of time understands the need for resilience. You call on it when you have to deal with that difficult employee who doesn’t want to be engaged and team-focused; you pull it out when you find yourself in a meeting that is not going your way; you dig deep into those inner depths of strength and tenacity to keep working on a project that seems utterly impossible; you fortify yourself to rise again when faced with failure for yourself or your team. In fact, leadership seems to present endless opportunities to tap into your reservoir of inner strength to handle the multitude of challenging situations you face on a daily basis.

Since resilience is such a powerful Core Ability for Extraordinary Leaders, it is important to be able to call on it at a moment’s notice and know you can count on it. For that to happen, you need to exercise this Core Ability, just as you would a skill you want to keep sharp. Here are three unusual “maximizing strategies” any leader can use to strengthen the Core Ability of resilience.

Set realistic and healthy boundaries: Creating healthy emotional and physical boundaries gives you the room you need to grow. This means knowing what is yours to do, and what belongs to others. It also means being aware of who your “crazy-makers” are, and not allowing them to manipulate you.

Make peace with the past: You strengthen your resilience and inner strength every time you reflect on the past in order to learn from it. Let go of grudges and resentments, recognizing you can give powerful meaning to everything that has happened. Learn from it, then let it go!

Set aside time for inner focus and introspection: I call these “Laser Focus Moments.” Give yourself the gift of time apart, to collect your thoughts, breathe, and reflect on how to proceed. Whether you write in a journal, meditate, go for a quiet walk, create a piece of art, or simply sit quietly and reflect, carve out time to be still and strengthen your inner resources.

Leaders who have a well-defined sense of resilience are able to see through uncertainty and chaos. They remain calm in the midst of a troubled world and can move through difficult situations with ease and grace. As a result, they can help their people do the same.

Research from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Inner Strengths of Successful Leaders program speaks to the essence of resilience: “Inner strength [resilience] deepens your presence, wisdom, focus, and ability to stay calm and centered. It helps you better manage uncomfortable feelings and difficult interactions, think more clearly and compassionately, discern where to direct your time and energy, sustain your enthusiasm, and achieve results.”

In short, by developing your resilience and inner strength, you are elevating your ability to be an Extraordinary Leader! Be Extraordinary!

Cher Holton, Ph.D., CSP Is a nationally recognized keynote speaker, author, trainer, and group facilitator, and one of only a handful of professionals world-wide who have earned both the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) and the CMC (Certified Management Consultant) designations.

Learn more about Cher’s new book, Extraordinary Leadership: Connecting with Your Seven Core Abilities to Bring Out the Extraordinary Abilities in Others at

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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