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Picking Yourself Up

“Why do we fall down?” Thomas Wayne asks his son Bruce. “So we can learn to pick ourselves up” Bruce answered. (From the movie Batman Begins)

I’ve come to believe that resiliency is the most underrated and least talked about quality of a leader.

Which doesn’t make much sense since from my own personal experience and the experience of so many leaders I’ve talked to resiliency is the one quality that we all have in common.

I was just at breakfast with a successful leader and part of his story was the resilience he and his wife had through 30 years of leadership. Now both of them are CEO’s of significant organizations that impact 1000’s of people each year. Without resiliency they wouldn’t be in these positions.

This is my story as a leader. Whenever I’ve been able to fight through difficult and challenging situations it’s always led to a place of greater influence and effectiveness. Where I haven’t it’s led, frankly, nowhere.

So what is resiliency? Webster’s (I know old school) says it’s “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or changes.”

Why is resiliency so important?

It’s because the reality is that bad things happen and misfortune is always just around the corner. Believe it or not but we are not in control of all things. We live in a fallen and bent world. This means we will experience bad things in our life and leadership.

The question is can we recover and learn and grow from them?

In his book Breakout Churches Thom S. Rainer used Jim Collins’ research method from Good to Great to determine the factors that lead churches to become a “breakout church”.

Guess what the research found? The average tenure of the senior pastor of a “breakout church” was 21 years compared to 4 years for comparative churches. Rainer says “The breakout church leaders endured pain and did not leave. They were tenacious (and I’d add resilient). Their short-term pain brought long-term gain.”

So I am making a recommendation that resiliency be added to the official list of necessary qualities of every successful leader.

And my prayer is that it will one day it’ll be counted as one of the qualities I displayed in my leadership and life.

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