Tim Arnold is the author of The Power of Healthy Tension: Overcome Chronic Issues and Conflicting Values. He is a speaker and facilitator at StoryBrand, and the President of Leaders for Leaders. He joins Kevin Monroe to share the secrets to resilience and results during challenging times.
Everyone deals with tension in their everyday lives, and tension is generally considered to be a bad thing. However, Tim says, not all tension is inherently bad. Ignoring or avoiding tensions may only cause them to escalate; if we choose to embrace them, it can lead to a level of effectiveness, and more impactful relationships with others. During challenging times, there are a few tensions that matter and need to be managed in healthy ways. When you’re dealing with tension you need to see both sides of the struggle. We may want to pick one side more strongly when we’re under pressure, but Tim warns that it is the worst time to choose one side and neglect the other.
Tim defines resilience as the ability to keep going when your circumstances are against you. It is something you assess over time. Three tensions that are critical to obtain and maintain resilience are: optimism and realism, embracing change while staying rooted in stability, and caring for others while not neglecting to care for yourself. He explains each tension and what they entail.
Optimism and Realism
There is something in our psyche that loves binary options, Tim says. Though the tension is between picking a side, in order to be resilient you must be fully immersed in both ends of the spectrum of both optimism and realism. Kevin likens it to an infinity loop rather than a pure continuum. One must retain hope for a better future while remaining aware of and acknowledging the bitter facts of reality, Tim paraphrases. He shares three steps to managing tensions: accept the tension; assess the tension; and leverage the tension.
Change and Stability
Change brings with it new circumstances, which may cause you to neglect your core values and let go of what really matters. When difficult times pass, ensure that you are still the same regarding who you serve, the values you are committed to, and the level of quality you are known for. However, you must be open to change and the experience and perspective it gives.
Caring for Others and Oneself
Tim and Kevin discuss how you can reach out to others during the pandemic, and what you can do to help them. Kevin recounts a lesson from a previous episode: people think that they need to do grand gestures in order to assist anyone. Rather than thinking of all the things you wish you could be doing, think about one small thing that you’re going to start doing, Tim says. He comments on the misconception of self-care perpetuated by mass media, stating that simplistic rituals such as sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee are just as effective.
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