Eat healthier foods and get adequate sleep. You will feel better and be able to deal with life’s daily challenges, This past year and a half has highlighted the fact of maintaining our health is of upmost importance. Even if you have a setback when you are healthier it makes it easier to bounce back.
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 Lynn Berger.
Lynn Berger is a Career Counselor and Coach specializing in helping people make the most of their lives and feel fulfilled. In her position she counsels people how to effectively transition to jobs and/or careers, balance their roles and responsibilities and understand the choices before them. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Career Counselor and Coach she works with her clients to enhance their resilience and ability to recover quickly from challenges and difficulties.
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?
Like many things in life my career progression was a process that evolved based upon my interests and experiences. After college I worked in business and then came to realize that I wanted to work more directly with people and their relationship with work. I received a Masters degree in Organizational Psychology and worked in Human Resources and Consulting and found that more satisfying; yet, I then realized I wanted to work one on one with individuals and received a Masters degree in Psychological Counseling.
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?
I started my career as a Career Counselor and worked many years exclusively as a Career Counselor then the field of Coaching became more popular and a client mentioned to me you are a “natural coach”. I thought about it and realized I would like to get professional training to become a coach. I currently practice as a Career Counselor and Coach.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Career Counselor and National Certified Counselor I bring a broad perspective to my work. I pride myself on the integration of dealing with the practical and psychological challenges.
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?
When I started my business and continuously throughout my career I have become involved in many professional organizations. During each of those experiences I have identified someone that can guide and mentor me. Many times this was not a formal mentorship; however. I have a great appreciation for learning from others that have more experience than I and ask them for guidance and support.
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?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and keep going whatever comes your way. It is an important quality to cultivate. This past year and a half has been difficult for many people; yet, some individuals may have realized they are stronger and more capable than they may have thought.
Traits of resilient people include: flexibility, strength, a positive outlook that things will get better, and they do not dwell on the negative. I believe resilience is a trait that some people have more than others and I believe most people can build resilience and strengthen the resilience “muscle”. Resilient people have a strong personal foundation and are able to bounce back from life’s challenges.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage allows you to take the first step, show bravery, and possibly take a risk. It takes confidence and strength to be courageous. They are similar in that they both require strength: yet, they are different in that I believe you can be resilient and not have courage.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
When working with people through career change and transition you see how some people persevere even with obstacles and barriers before then. There was a gentleman I know that had several setbacks but kept going and achieved nevertheless. He was determined and stubborn and sometimes that can work to one’s benefit.
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?
No one has ever said something was impossible but they might have suggested it. A few people discouraged me from starting my own business and said it could be very challenging; yet, I tuned it out and persevered anyway. Looking back it is still amazes me that I did not let it stop me. I was determined and focused and was able to stay on track despite the difficulties and obstacles along the way.
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?
After graduation from college I prepared and set myself up for a specific career but quickly realized it was not for me. I was very disappointed and did not know what I was going to do. I struggled for several years to figure out my true passion and interests. That is why I chose the field I am in to assist others identify their interests, skills and passions and experience a satisfying and fulfilling career.
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?
No specific story; yet, I believe it is an attitude I have tried to possess. If I want to achieve something I try and forge ahead regardless of the obstacles, naysayers and individuals that may have tried to stand in my way.
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.
- Exercise regularly- exercise allows you to gain perspective of a situation that challenges you. When you engage in another activity to distract yourself it can help enormously. For example, walking has tremendous mental and physical benefits. It can get the day off to a great start and can serve as a motivator. It was a lifesaver for many, including myself, during quarantine, If you were in an area with a park or area to walk it was relatively easy to do. It has been documented that walking in nature can increase happiness since you release endorphins in your brain that elevates your mood and makes you feel better. Furthermore. being in nature can enhance your appreciation of the world around you.
- Set good daily habits that allow you to feel stronger and more in control. Strength builds upon strength. Setting good daily habits can make you feel less vulnerable and able to deal with challenges. I recommend that everyone have one thing to look forward to every day. It can be a simple thing; yet, the anticipation of a positive experience is helpful. Have a toolbox of things you like to do, read and/or listen to and draw upon something everyday.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. Social support reduces stress. As a result you will you will feel stronger and less isolated. When you are with people that energize you- you feel alive. Enlist the support of your core group. You can call them your “board of directors”. These are family members, friends, colleagues, mentors. teachers, coaches and anyone else you trust and respect.
- Examine your life and career goals. Try to leverage the strengths and skills you enjoy using and pursue a career aligned with your values. You will feel more empowered and energized to deal with the obstacles that you encounter in your life and work.
- Eat healthier foods and get adequate sleep. You will feel better and be able to deal with life’s daily challenges, This past year and a half has highlighted the fact of maintaining our health is of upmost importance. Even if you have a setback when you are healthier it makes it easier to bounce back.
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.
There are great books, podcasts etc, that speak to resilience and how people have learned from and became stronger from setbacks and experiences in their lives.
Perhaps we could have more buddy and mentor relationships with individuals in need of practical and psychological support at a younger age, For example, if a mature and highly developed teenager has experienced loss, hardship, etc. they could work with other young people to encourage and support them through a challenging time to build up their resilience. Social support reduces stress and can have a positive impact on someone’s outlook.
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 🙂
Arianna Huffington. I admire that she founded and is the CEO of Thrive Global and the founder of The Huffington Post. I relate strongly to her philosophy and the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the belief that burnout is the price we must pay for success.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!