… Foster Awareness. Awareness is a state of consciousness that brings clarity to initiate positive change in any area of your life. Honing your awareness gives you the ability to direct your thoughts, perspectives, emotions, and behaviors to be life affirming-those associated to positivity, growth, and value.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Adams.
Allison Adams is a transformational life coach, speaker, trainer, yoga and meditation instructor. She is the founder of Sacred Leadership Global, a wellness and lifestyle company that supports leaders and teams to cultivate sustained well-being and resilience so they can live and lead, feeling prepared, confident, and well. She designs and delivers bespoke executive wellness coaching packages, corporate trainings, speaking, and retreat experiences that result in transformational outcomes and impact.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Since childhood, I was a highly sensitive person challenged with assimilating the heaviness of the physical world, yet I clung to the belief I could create the life I envisioned. Despite not have optimal health and well-being, my life unfolded in the direction of my dreams. Having a bright young career with a Fortune 500 company, living in Europe, starting a family, becoming an entrepreneur were all part of my exciting journey. However, there was a major fault line that trembled for over a decade and I needed to find a solution that would allow me and those I love to thrive.
The fault line was an unforeseen family health crisis. One of my children had become chronically ill- seeing 20 doctors in 8 years and losing out on attending school and living life, fully. The negative impact it had on our child and the rest of the family was pressuring, expensive, and exhausting.
Ten years went by before I realized I needed tools and skills to heal and lead myself and others with greater clarity, compassion, and connection. I wanted to navigate with resilience so I could avoid being triggered by the constant tremors of uncertainty.
It was this experience that led me to becoming certified as a resilience coach | trainer, yoga and meditation instructor, and intrinsic coach. My new path allowed me to heal and regain my sense of empowerment while supporting others to do the same. Along the way I realized that one’s journey to a healthy, conscious, resilient, and meaningful life is sacred and is why I founded Sacred Leadership Global.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
As an entrepreneur, the most serendipitous moment came when I was interviewing Howard Martin, the Executive Vice President of HeartMath® for a corporate event I was delivering. The Virtual Tele-Summit- Boost Your Bottom Line- was a series of interviews with 18 Conscious Thought Leaders sharing how to increase a company’s bottom line through the well-being of their employees.
At the time of the interview, I wasn’t certified and had no real understanding of the HeartMath® impact and mission to build a coherent world through the science of the heart! What most people don’t know is that the HeartMath® energy and stress management techniques, technology, and tools for personal | professional effectiveness and resilience have been used in all branches of the military, hospitals, organizations, school systems, and the general public for close to 30 years.
The serendipity for me was when, Howard suggested that, in addition to my executive yoga and meditation offers, I get certified as a HeartMath® coach | trainer to increase the scope and value proposition for leaders and organizations. Needless to say, I accepted the invitation and am grateful to be part of the certified network of global change makers and citizens.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Sacred Leadership Global is unique in the sense that it has a timeless template (sacred geometry mandala), that reflects every facet of our life. The value proposition is lifelong transformation that works on an individual and collective level to evolve and expand our highest potential in life, business, and the world. Sacred leadership is a blending of spirituality, neuroscience, heart science, and social science to harness and leverage interconnectivity, co-creation, and compassion.
Now, more than ever there is a sense of urgency to live and lead with clarity, compassion, and confidence. When we have the capacity to connect our hearts, minds, and bodies, we create greater fields of coherent energy that transcend differences, biases, and exclusion.
Building companies that thrive tomorrow are the ones where everyone leads from a place of well-being, today. Sourcing people from mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being (vs. stress and burnout) is a solid, secure, sustainable foundation for the future.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Over the years family and friends have been my greatest love and support, however when I was at my most vulnerable state of not knowing how to heal myself and my family, I sought advice from my spiritual teachers, a husband and wife who were previous longtime monks of Paramahansa Yogananda.
In addition to practicing at their yoga studio, I sought out my first yoga teacher certification which they led. Their awakened hearts and minds were beacons that lit my path. Their love, patience, and wisdom showed me that we are all here to transcend limiting circumstances and that I could return to my heart’s intuitive guidance and trust that I, my family, and future clients would benefit from my transformation.
Personally, I sought refuge, but equally as important is that I took responsibility of becoming a yoga teacher to hold space and guide others to healing and empowerment. It was a turning point for me, that shifted my perspective to approach health, life, love, and leadership as sacred commitments.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience?
Since I’m a certified HeartMath® coach mentor | trainer, I’m going to lean on their definition of resilience which is having the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of adversity, stress, and challenge. This is an invaluable skillset for personal and professional performance, strengthening relationships, and navigating the uncertainties of life and work.
What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Innately, humans are highly adaptable and resilient, however there is a spectrum of resilience and also domains of resilience. For example, you may be someone who can bounce back easily, but hasn’t cultivated compassionate, communicative or collaborative skills that are needed to foster collective, social resilience.
With our recent pandemic, social unrest, and environmental concerns, people are being triggered more easily so it’s really important to have a personal, professional, and social resilience building strategy you can implement and leverage throughout your life.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
The shared qualities emanate from the heart because they represent the human spirit related to the endeavor. The pursuit of life is to evolve into your greatest potential and expression and this takes both courage and resilience. What I find to be different is that courage has more of a single focus and resilience spans into all facets of our lives. And lastly, it’s my sense that courage has the energy of the sprint verses the marathon.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I honor many individuals who have stood for equality, love, peace and freedom, but if I’m allowed one vote, it’s Mother Theresa. Her legacy is one of resiliency through heart and hands. According to spiritual texts, the hands are an extension of the heart and the fact that she used her hands to feed and care for those in need, like Ama, the hugging saint, it was her heartfelt acts that resonate to this day.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Yes, it was I wanted to stay in Europe to work and I was at the end of a three-month holiday. A woman I was introduced to and allowed me to stay a week with her said it would be impossible because I had not done the proper research about landing a job or getting a work visa. By the end of the week, I had a job, a visa and a ton of other benefits which would not have happened if I wasn’t willing to step into the future I envisioned for myself.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
The most significant story is tied to our child’s health crisis and the choice I needed to make in order to better care for myself, all the children, and my husband. It had been close to 10 years at that point and my strength, patience, and optimism was waning.
Weekly doctor visits, daily care and special protocol in addition to all the extra-curricular activities, home schooling had pressures that were different and taxing in their own way. At that time, I ran almost daily to release the stress, but I had no other practice or skills to restore and rejuvenate my mind, body, spirit connection.
I felt disconnected and discouraged because none of the medications were healing my child. They were all band aids and negative results that couldn’t explain her immune and other physical conditions.
My way out- my ability to bounce back- was when I went dove into yoga and meditation. I took up a daily practice that began to pay off and everyone was noticing my state of clam amidst the storm. I began to relate to my circumstances with greater empathy and trust that everything would have the highest outcomes. I released worry, frustration, and burnout with awareness, acceptance, and peace of mind.
The three-step process that I use and teach others to become personally and collectively stronger, is heart, mind, body awareness, regulation, and management. The benefits and value of transformation, resilience and well-being are immeasurable and infinite.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Looking back, there were more times in my adult life than in my early childhood, when I cultivated resilience. An example of this was my tenacity to finish college over an 11-year span.
My first career had immediate growth and potential so I declined my college acceptance and committed wholeheartedly to an opportunity of working with one of our nation’s beloved brands.
After 7 years of career enjoyment, I realized that path had come to a close and I wanted to move to Europe to work and begin my college experience. I attended and overseas state university, but when I returned to the U.S three years later, I changed majors and UCSD saw me as an out of state resident, which required me to essentially start over.
In finishing my last years at UCSD, I had married, gave birth 3 weeks prior to starting, and was delivering my second child a few months after graduation. My husband traveled during the week so it was a challenge in many ways for many years.
Knowing I wanted to have a college education was what fused my heart and head to stay committed and through to the end. Resilience wasn’t a strategy I could use to navigate my new parenting and college terrain with ease and grace, but it was innate and allowed me to eventually cross the graduation finish line.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
Step One- Foster Awareness. Awareness is a state of consciousness that brings clarity to initiate positive change in any area of your life. Honing your awareness gives you the ability to direct your thoughts, perspectives, emotions, and behaviors to be life affirming-those associated to positivity, growth, and value.
An easy way to foster awareness is to listen to your heart’s intuitive guidance rather than the familiar voice in your head. Follow and ride the inspiring thoughts and energy waves that uplift your mind, body, spirit. Start a journal to connect the dots that will lead somewhere you’re meant to explore and enjoy.
Step Two-Assess Your Values. Intrinsic values like well-being, inclusion, and empathy come from the heart, they are powerful to set and fuel your goals and vision.
Whether you assess your values alone or with others, remember the ‘Mind is the Me’ and the ‘Heart is the We’ so when evaluating decisions this can make or break the value proposition. It’s always a good rule of thumb to ask before you decide how is this decision going to positively impact you and those you love and/or lead?
Step Three- Know Your Energy Drains. This is personally and professionally mission critical. It’s easy to say you’re stressed, but not knowing where you’re losing the energy adds to the chaos and complexity. Each day you start from where you energetically left off.
For example, if you didn’t sleep well the night before you’re starting your day without a full tank of gas (or battery charge). If you don’t start your day feeling renewed, your relationships, communication, quality of your work, creativity, and well-being are drastically compromised.
Take time to evaluate where are you losing your energy, are they big or subtle stressors, where do you need to extra care of yourself to restore before you engage with family or co-workers? In addition, make a list of all the things that bring you energy and make sure you integrate these into your day and life as much as possible.
Step Four-Dwell in Strategy, Commitment, and Practice. When you have a framework, sincerely commit, and practice building resilience on the daily, you can reach your goals more easily-especially when you use the HeartMath® techniques, tools and technology.
The benefits of having a resilience strategy and consistent practice are that can plug your energy drains, improve your sleep, have greater clarity to perform from a state of health and well-being, compassion, and confidence.
Creating a strategy begins with your unique life and work environment and your position, but in all cases keep it simple. Begin by watching the free 90- Minute course HeartMath® has on their website to learn some techniques and then design when and where it will benefit you most to practice. All techniques are designed to be used eyes-wide open, on the job so it’s always convenient to dwell in all three.
Step Five- Connect and Amplify. Your heart and brain are wired for human connectivity and what you emit others are receiving and vice-verse. Practicing HeartMath® techniques with family, teams, employees, and groups is the fastest way to get everyone feeling personally and collectively coherent, connected, and feeling good.
Remember-the same amplification process applies when you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, anxious, or depressed, you’re sending out negative energy frequencies. Science proves the heart is a carrier of our emotions and your ability to regulate and manage your attitudes, perceptions, and thoughts is essential for personal and collective well-being.
A next step to building and sustaining resilience would be to contact me for more information about my coaching, traning, and retreat offers or visit the HeartMath® website.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I envision a Sacred Leadership Global movement of transformational leaders who foster evolutionary companies sourced through personal and collective consciousness, vitality, and heart for social, economic and planetary well-being. Sacred leadership is a self-leadership framework and path for company stakeholders, however for the ripple to start, it begins in the hearts of leaders who seek outcomes that will benefit current and future generations.
My invitation for leaders is to explore our executive wellness coaching and retreats. Bespoke transformational travel at luxe wellness resorts give individuals and teams the opportunity to recharge, realign, and renew their mind, body, and soul so they can return with greater clarity, purpose, and peace of mind.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Yes, I would love to be in Oprah’s presence over lunch, or someday on Super Soul Sunday!? Her generous heart and experience have influenced and impacted people across the globe and to soak up her wisdom and any advice she would offer would mean the world to me!!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!