By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please take a look at my resiliency e-books at www.resiliencyfirst.com)
Being that it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the US with Presidential inauguration festivities, I’d like to pick up on a resilient theme Dr. King and now Barack Obama have reminded us about - …”our work is not done” by introducing the 4Rs in just a few minutes.
While the two gentlemen focused on political or human rights messages, I’d like to turn it just a bit so all of us look in the mirror – at ourselves. Shedding away all the material trappings of life, do we just pay lip-service to the word “enjoy”?
What do you think?
The concept of enjoying life is so important to our personal – and our professional lives. But how can we (as some have said) make this pie-in-the sky phrase become more tangible for all of us every day in our hectic worlds?
There a lot of ways to approach this, and I’d like to highlight a few thoughts that helped my recover from very serious cervical spine surgery last year. Ones that allowed me to get back in the game in less than four months, instead of the typical 12-month plus rehab.
In addition to the perseverance, persistence and patience (the three Ps) mantra of resiliency that allowed me to smile, I’ve really taken to heart and celebrated another set of letters to enjoy. That is, the 4Rs, which my colleagues at Lennick Aberman Group (soon to renamed Think2Perform) have taught to corporations, educational institutions and individuals worldwide for many years.
What are the 4Rs. Read on…☺
As I’ve mentioned before, the easiest way to remember how to apply your resilience is by thinking about three words, “managing your emotions.” But sometimes, as I recovered from the sometimes extreme surgery pain last year, I found that my emotions clouded the way I should have been Recognizing, Reflecting, Reframing and Responding to situations in such times. These “4Rs” can help us adapt and respond to most situations and conflicts we face no matter the circumstances…
They helped overcome those days I was doubled-up with excruciating pain - and to see the very promising light at the end of the tunnel. While the great men mentioned earlier did not use these exact terms, the essence of what they stand for is all about the 4Rs.
Early in my life, I heard Dr. King talk so eloquently about overcoming challenges. Since then, I have used his words to apply my own unique understanding in life and work. A resiliency strategy allowing me to overcome nearly all challenges that inevitably have crossed my path.
I look forward to hearing how you have used at least parts of this already – and in the future in life and work.
More specifically, here is what the 4Rs are:
- Recognizing your own experience of thoughts, emotions, physiology/action and recognize the experience of others. What is stimulating the experience?
- Reflecting on the big picture, the long term, the biases that might be in play, the moral principles you can understand (Values). What are your beliefs? Are they rational?
- Reframing your self-talk and actions to account for possible biases and to avoid reflexive responses to highly-charged emotions.
- Responding with a decision consistent with principles/values and goals you live by.
My world after the operation was intense to say the least. The operation worked great and solved my potential paralysis as I get older. But my brain has always dealt with my physical disability as “onward…full steam ahead.” This time, because of the unquestioned severity and delicacy of the procedure, I had to think beyond my self-defined box.
This is where the 4Rs really helped me through the “trenches” – so to speak. I hope they have done the same or can help you overcome your unique obstacles.
I ultimately had to recognize that fear was stimulating the experience. My brain went into a locked down mode initially not even considering that there may be a better way than just plowing ahead as I successfully have down for my physical challenges all my years.
But then I recognized this situation was different. I had to focus on myself and see myself as #1 priority instead of putting me as third or fourth on the scale.
How has this uniquely happened to you?
Before I made this move, however, I had to reflect on why it was so important especially in the long term. Sounds silly that I worry more about others than me, but I had to figure out what life may be like with me front and center.
It definitely wasn’t easy. How have you used reflection to significantly change your thoughts in life or work?
Additionally, I had to reframe my thought process that this was just not some ordinary or typical moment in my life. This self-talk opened a lot of compartments that I thought would never open.
This self-talk made it much easier to reframe how I should proceed.
How have you used your self-talk to overcome self-imposed or real barriers in your life?
And, finally, responding the way I never did before. I learned (which I now continue throughout my life) that I had so much to learn about my real vs. ideal self. Focusing on myself moved me a little closer to my ideal, instead of being satisfied with the behavior I always had.
I very humbly went beyond what I thought I could do and found a bit more of myself. I’m finally enjoying who I am. Hurray…it’s about time!
I ask again: How are you enjoying your life more completely? Incorporating the 4Rs and 3Ps is a progressive step forward.
But my work is not done as Dr. King and President Obama mentioned in a different context. I hope you can continue your discovery and journey…it’s very satisfying.
Your continued readership is amazing…thank you. Please, again, check out my resiliency e-books, articles and videos on www.resiliencyfirst.com.
I hope you are enjoying life today…and always!