Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and I’m thrilled to help lead the recovery. I know that I’m just a guy recording a video. But this what I do. I hope that something I say in the next few minutes inspires you to lead the recovery in your own way. And then you will inspire someone else to take action. And that’s how we will emerge from the apocalypse – one person inspiring one person at a time.
It’s June 3 2020, Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first phase of the Covid apocalypse. An apocalypse is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as a very serious event resulting in great change and destruction. All our lives have been changed in ways that are still simply unimaginable even though they’re really happening.
How can you come to terms with being locked in your own house? Or not being able to hug your loved ones? Or being scared to be within six feet of anyone not wearing a mask? Or seeing your business implode because you’re forbidden to operate it? Or witnessing the assets that you’ve built over a lifetime crumble away? Or realizing how many things you took for granted that have just evaporated? Or how much you have to learn just to stay in the game? Or taking on a future that is absolutely nothing like you’ve ever seen before?
Here’s my answer to all these questions: I don’t know. Sorry, let me clarify that: I don’t know what it is for you. All I know is that you need to discover it for yourself. What’s more, you need to go beyond just coming to terms with it. You need to own it. You need to find ways to even relish it. That means intentionally finding ways to like or even enjoy it.
In my work as a motivator, researcher and executive coach, I study people who have the capacity to recover quickly from setbacks or difficulties. I make a living helping people heal from hurt and become stronger after failure or loss. Right now, that means all of us. No matter who you are, you’ve lost something – income, capital, a way of life, faith, personal confidence or just peace of mind.
Recovery from an apocalypse requires more than just garden variety resilience. It requires Robust Resilience. When we describe something as “Robust,” we mean it is strong and healthy. It is primed for vigorous activity. It’s ready to take on big challenges. Robust Resilience is resilience that has been amped up. It’s adaptive and anticipatory. It’s the certainty that whatever the circumstances, you will be able to transform them into your desired outcomes.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know exactly how I’m going to recover this year. I’m a motivational speaker that is not allowed to speak to people. I’m pivoting as fast as I can to a virtual platform. I’m learning how to maximize my impact remotely. I’m expanding my offerings wherever I can. I’m forming new partnerships in the quest to enhance the value I deliver. I’m in the hunt for my own vaccine to inoculate my clients against loss. Every day is a race down a course that keeps morphing into something else. And I know that it’s exactly the same for you.
But here are the Seven Principles of Robust Resilience that I’ve learnt so far from the amazing people with whom I hang, my research and my own experiences:
- Make a Powerful Promise. A promise is something that you make with your mouth. It’s a declaration that assures others something will happen because you say so. It must be a commitment that captivates others and stretches your capacity at the same time. It’s what sets you apart and what drives you forward. So I promise you that I will help you create breakthroughs in a post Covid world. That’s my source of Robust Resilience. I need to model the behaviour I want you to adopt. I can’t fall below that standard. What’s your Powerful Promise?
- Be disappointed, not destroyed. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, 2493 athletes competed for 222 gold medals. There was a near certainty that loss would plague even the best competitors. Winning is sweet but losing is inevitable. But there is a big difference between being disappointed and being destroyed. Disappointment is a passing sense of unhappiness or displeasure because you didn’t achieve your goal. Being destroyed is an emotional implosion that cripples you from competing at the highest level. Have a prize that is worth the pain. Get bent but never broken.
- Interpret to win. It’s not the external reality that determines our wellbeing, it’s the parallel reality we create for ourselves. Whatever the circumstances, we need to interpret them in a way that enables us to perform at our best. Covid is a massive crisis. But it’s also an extraordinary accelerator of innovation. It’s a call to action not an excuse for inertia. If you’re healthy, you have an opportunity to do things that you could never have done before. When you change your mindset, you change your world.
- Focus on what fires you up. At any moment, you can choose to focus on what frightens you or what fires you up. Energy flows where your focus goes. It’s easy to be hijacked by the infodemic caused by the pandemic. In a heartbeat, you can get sucked into the horror of it all. You cannot be blind to the danger, but you also cannot be hijacked by it. It’s called dynamic deniability. That’s the refusal to grant disempowering things the power to ambush your wellbeing or positivity. For example, just like you, I’m acutely aware of the tragedy unfolding around us. But instead of being depressed by it, I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a difference, for being a Canadian citizen and for the miracles that will happen today.
- Be prolific: GO FOR NO. Here are the three words that will enable you to achieve your prize: GO FOR NO. Pursue every opportunity to hear the word “NO.” Thrust yourself into impossible situations. Take chances when the odds are stacked against you. Do what you’ve never done before. Call people you’ve never called before. Make promises you’ve never made before. Say what you’ve never said before. Every time you hear “NO,” you grow. You take pride in your courage and commitment to your cause. You’ve strengthened your mental muscles to go for even more NO’s. Winners will always collect more NO’s than anyone else. They are trying more things. They are risking more personal capital. They are learning more techniques. They are experimenting with new approaches. They are setting themselves up for success. Remember, NO means it’s Never Over until you get to yes.
- Build a Community of Champions. All our social research shows that building strong relationships builds robust resilience. The more people on your team, the greater your psychological wellbeing. You can only face the future because of the people who’ve got your back. Investing in relationships is the best insurance you can have for the adversity ahead. In the Financial Times, October 24, 2015, Neuroscientist David Eagleman wrote, “What does your brain need to play normally? Beyond the nutrients from the food you eat, beyond the oxygen you breathe, beyond the water you drink, there’s something else, something equally as important: it needs other people. Normal brain play depends on the social web around us. Our neurons require other people’s neurons to survive and thrive.” Every brain is a network of networks. There is no such thing as a robustly resilient loner. We’re only as good as the company we keep. And we only keep the company that we constantly earn. You have to be good company to keep good company.
- Train like an athlete. We are all athletes in the game of life. Ultimately, all performance is physical. Fatigue breaks us down. Success is a function of stamina. Well begun is half done but it’s how you finish that counts. According to USA Today, only 23% of American adults are getting enough exercise. For inactive adults, that can lead to morbidity, disability and mortality. What’s more, a recent Environics Social Values survey revealed that not only is taking care of oneself rare, but people know and admit it. 60% of people claim to prioritize health but fewer than 30% seem committed to actually exercising. Only 10% seem to believe that they have more energy than the people around them. And those are the 10% of people will cause 90% of the breakthroughs in a post covid world. Are you one of them?
So that’s how you recover with Robust Resilience. Make a Powerful Promise. Be disappointed, not destroyed. Interpret to win. Focus on what fires you up. Be prolific: GO FOR NO. Build a Community of Champions. And Train like an athlete. This is Mike Lipkin, and until the next time, remember: Winning means learning to live with losing. The only pitch that matters is the next one.