Are You Fragile or Resilient?

small plant pushing up through dry earth.

As a coach, one of the things I love the most about this profession is being able to work with various types of people and personalities. Learning into someone’s world and looking at it from their viewpoint always excites me.

Over the years, I’ve found that all people, myself included, ride the line between fragile and resilient. It’s a path from victim to survivor. There’s an almost hero-like quality that is celebrated when someone is resilient. Everyone likes a good survival story filled with all of the dramatic details. People love to see themselves as a rising phoenix coming out of the ashes and recreating themselves to be better, stronger, and more beautiful. But, there is another option— a better option that will empower you and your clients to step into a more meaningful way of being.

What’s the catch? Well, it’s most definitely NOT in their comfort zone.

Fragile personalities are typically labeled as victims, pessimists, and people who are constantly in reaction-mode. They have problems all the time and their circumstances are so powerful that they feel like things are happening TO them instead of FOR them. These are the people who put their dreams on the shelf long ago and never revisit them again.

When we talk to these people, their fragility is revealed every time they describe what their life is like. Everything from the weather to the flat tire, to their child’s bad grade, the illness, the client that said no, and the perceived rejection and inconveniences are holding them back, affecting them deeply and leaving them with no other perceived choice but to react and survive.

Does anyone else relate? I know that I’ve most-definitely lived in this mindset.

Well, have you heard of resilient personalities? Resilient personalities are more upbeat. These are the people who always have a story about what’s going on in their life, yet somehow, they make the most of it. Their motto is typically a version of, “I get knocked, but I get up again.” These are the people who have painful circumstances, but know how to bounce back. They may take a hit, but they land on their feet.

Antifragile personalities are far less talked about. These are the people who take every seemingly bad experience and learn from it. They grow every time there is a shock to their system. Antifragile personalities know that there is a bigger picture. They run game-film and look forward to learning about what went wrong. They benefit from problems because they know that this is where the growth-edge is. Their question is, “What can I learn from this?” And their motto is, “Experiments never fail.” They learn into life and play full out, because no matter what, it’s all a learning experience.

When you slow the film of your life WAY down, you will see that all of your experiences have led you right to this very moment. You will recognize that the seemingly bad might actually become the seemingly good. It’s time to stop celebrating resilience and start leaning into the learning opportunities that come from distress.

Which personality type are you? What do you want to do to advance your growth-edge?

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”
–Eckhart Tolle

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