Fact or fiction? Resilience is about the individual and relationships. This is a question that I have presented to at least two high performance client groups that I currently work with. How would you answer this question?

It is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I am reflecting on what I am thankful for.  What I am most thankful for are the relationships that I have cultivated in my life. My relationships at times have provided me with the highest of highs, and at other times, the lowest of lows.  My relationships are pivotal to who I am and who I aspire to be.

Some of my relationships feel very ‘easy’.  These people are a natural fit with my personality and the activities that I enjoy doing.  We seem to be “on the same page”. My choices are never questioned; my actions are supported - even when those choices and actions are so obviously poor (in hindsight of course!). During the times when I am low, these individuals pick me up and inspire me to persevere.  Oh...if only all my relationships could be like that.

My (late) father gave one of his superintendents some advice about relationships early in his career. It was something he never forgot in working over 20 years of construction and he shared this advice with us at my father’s service last year.  It all came about when this young superintendent went to my Dad to complain about the Foreman of the job site.  Dad admitted to knowing how difficult the foreman was to work with. He said, “Relationships are the hardest part of your job. You could complain about those who are hard to get along with or you could try to appreciate each worker for what he or she uniquely contributes to this job.” That piece advice transformed the way the superintendent saw his relationships and his ability to lead the construction project.

No matter if my relationship is “challenging” or “easy”, each relationship I hold teaches me about my place in the ‘team’.  No construction project or aspiration can be met without a ‘team’.  When you watch the Olympic games, you may be watching a single athlete aspire for a podium finish with his or her performance. The preparation that has gone into that performance has been carefully scripted by a ‘team’ of coaches, sport scientists, financial backers, family, friends who all work with the athlete.  It is not a ‘solo’ effort at all.

The correct answer to the question above is FACT.  Without my relationships, I cannot relentlessly pursue my very best self with resilience.