Celebrate Your Small Victories- Acknowledge how far you have come. Take note of how you would have responded to difficult situations in the past and compare them to how you respond to things now. Note your growth, and affirm yourself. These victories serve as reminders that you have the strength to make it through future obstacles. Every victory marks a new level or standard in your life, and for that reason alone its worth being acknowledged.
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 Dexter Peggins Jr.
Dexter Peggins Jr. is a husband, father, combat veteran, and business owner. Dexter’s personal mandate is to help people get clarity concerning their purpose, overcome life’s what-ifs, and win in difficult situations. The diversity of his experiences has made him a sought-after speaker in the areas of leadership and personal development, as well as a trusted advisor for those dealing with life’s most crucial issues.
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?
Thank you for having me. I am a pretty simple man. I am a native of Georgia, which means I love nice weather, sweet tea, and UGA football. My father was a career soldier and my mother a nurse, so the ideas of service and duty were major themes in my upbringing. To this day I try to embody those themes and attributes.I live out those themes in my home as a husband and father; in my community as a mentor for at-risk youth; a spiritual leader within the church; and as a coach and consultant for my clients.
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?
Having served in the Army for 15 year and being on 3 combat deployments, I have had my fair share of interesting career stories. However, at the end of my military service, I did a complete 180 degree turn and found myself working as a hospital Chaplain for about two years. During that time I visited well over 2,000 patients at various stages of life, from newborns to the elderly. One particular patient was a 85 year old man who expressed a lifetime of regrets because he didn’t have the courage to pursue his passions. The depth of his disappointment provided me with a tremendous takeaway. I vowed to myself that at the end of my life I would not have a lot of what-ifs.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I am in business of helping people get clarity and create a strategy for their individual success. I use a system that I created called G.R.O.W. Leadership Training. G.R.O.W. is an acronym for Guide, Refocus, Overcome, and Win. There are a lot people who have become overwhelmed with the issues of life and as a result need help getting refocused. I recently provided services for a client who had become disinterested with their job, due to a lack of growth opportunities. My client knew that they could achieve more but didn’t know how to connect the dots of their life. After a few sessions, we created an action plan on how they could successfully transition from their job into entrepreneurship.
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?
I have a number of relationships that I am extremely grateful for; however, with respect to this question, I would have to say my wife. She is my cheerleader, and her support and words of encouragement have been a tremendous source of motivation for me. There have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel on some things, but a simple, “Babe, You Got This” has helped me to see those efforts to their completion.
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? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Great question. I would define resilience as the stick-to-itiveness that helps us to face, overcome, and bounce back from difficult situations. I believe that resilient people are level-headed, flexible, and, hopeful.
Level-headed from the sense that they understand themselves and how they show up in high stress moments. Being level-headed helps you to maintain the right perspective and exercise greater levels of calm.
Flexible, because they understand that in many cases the circumstances are out of their control and being flexible helps you to quickly re-center yourself.
Hopeful, because there has to be a reason and or an expectation to endure the difficult situation.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
There are definitely similarities as it relates to courage and resilience. They both speak to how we show up in the face of adversity and overcome in those instances.
Nevertheless, there are stark differences in the two. Courage can be mustered in the moment. In this regard, a person can generate a level of courage in the moment to overcome fear. However, resilience is not something generated in the moment. In many instances, it is something that has been cultivated as a result of demonstrated courage through a series of difficult circumstances.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Martin Luther King Jr. comes to mind when thinking about resilience. He demonstrated a commitment to vision, and modeled the mental fortitude to stick with his convictions despite the opposition he faced. There were no guarantees that he would realize the fullness of his aspirations; however, he had a contagious hope that motivated him and others, both in his time and in future generations.
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?
Because I don’t ascribe to the notion of impossible, I can’t recall anyone specifically telling me that something was impossible. I did have some people sow seeds of doubt when I returned to school as an adult learner to pursue my Master’s degree. From their vantage point, they assumed that I would be too stressed out returning to school at the age of 36 with a family to lead, a job to work, and a business to run. They were right about it being stressful; however, they didn’t account for how bad I wanted the degree. Needless to say, after a lot of long days and nights of writing papers and doing group assignments, I completed my program.
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?
There was a time in my life when it seemed like nothing in my life was going right. I had experienced several significant financial setbacks. As the expression goes, “I was robbing Peter to pay Paul”, and it literally felt like I was drowning in debt. My home was in pre-foreclosure, the bank was threatening to repossess my vehicle and I could not see a way out. I was able to bounce back by taking ownership of the process. I stopped running, called the banks and work out repayment arrangements. I began to work odd jobs, and slowly but surely worked my way back out of the hole. As difficult as this time was, I learned a great deal about myself.
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?
I am an introspective person, and I believe in having very real and honest conversations with myself. I am honest about my fears and I have a clear understanding what drives me.
When I was a young man, I remember wanting to impress my supervisor by taking on some additional tasks as a way of showing that I was ready for a promotion. Nevertheless, I took on more than I could handle, and as a result I missed a deadline that my supervisor had set. When he asked me what happened I told him that I had gotten overwhelmed and was unable to finish.
Surprisingly he wasn’t mad, he just said, “even Superman took time to be Clark Kent”. This was his of saying that I needed to learn to pace myself. Resiliency is about developing the pace and stamina to take things as they come.
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.
The 5 steps that I believe to be vital, as it relates to becoming more resilient, are:
1). Examining Your Why — There has to be a why when it comes to facing adversity and being able to bounce back. The right motive will help you stay the course when it seems like nothing is going right. There have been times when I have committed to things not because I felt connected to it, but because it was just something to do. Over the course of time I found myself walking away from those efforts because I never considered my why. When the hard times came there was nothing to compel me to stick with it.
2). Give Yourself Grace — It’s very easy to take on a fatalistic perspective when things are difficult or aren’t going as we desire. We can find ourselves being given to fault-finding and being overly critical. When we give ourselves grace we: acknowledge our part in the process; are able to objectively recognize when progress is being made; and are able to ask for help. If nothing is built overnight, than why do we feel like we are the exception?
3). Learn From the Process — Ask yourself what did the last adversity, setback, and disappointment teach you? Resiliency is cultivated in these moments, and you are doing your self a disservice to not learn the lessons of these moments. My greatest moments of growth came as a result of failures. The failures revealed the inconsistency of thought and action, and revealed what I needed to do in order to get the future results that I wanted.
4). Learn to Decompress and Pull Away — Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to address the issue because we are too up close and personal with the issue. In the military there is a phrase called the thousand-yard stare. The thousand-yard stare is recognized as a unfocused gaze exhibited by soldiers who have been traumatized by the agony of war. The trauma is further perpetuated when there is no relief from the situation. We must learn to carve out times of rest and reprieve to gain or regain mental clarity.
5). Celebrate Your Small Victories- Acknowledge how far you have come. Take note of how you would have responded to difficult situations in the past and compare them to how you respond to things now. Note your growth, and affirm yourself. These victories serve as reminders that you have the strength to make it through future obstacles. Every victory marks a new level or standard in your life, and for that reason alone its worth being acknowledged.
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 know that I have seen this before; however, I would love to see a consistent movement in which people would intentionally offer random acts of kindness to strangers. Divisiveness seems to be a recurring theme and I would love to dismantle this growing sentiment by re-emphasizing kindness.
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 🙂
Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can narrow it down to one person. Honestly, I would love to meet Warren Buffett, Bishop TD Jakes, or Dr. Shaquille O’neal. Each of these men have inspired me in some capacity.
I would love to meet Warren Buffett because of his financial mind and his philanthropic efforts. His investing expertise has served as a blueprint for those leaders in the investment industry, and as a result of his Letters foundation I know numerous people who have been assisted during some very difficult times.
As a faith-based leader, I have been inspired by how TD Jakes has used a faith-based platform to influence numerous genres. In addition to leading his church, Bishop Jakes has thrived in the arts with his movies and books.
As for Shaquille O’neal, as a young 5th grader I remember being in awe when he and his high school team came to my elementary school and put on a basketball clinic. I was an instant fan, and I have been motivated by his dominance in the NBA and in secondary career as a business mogul.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Feel free to follow me on all social media sites @Dexter Peggins Jr. and www.dexterpegginsjr.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you once again for having me. Blessings to you!