“Overwhelmingly, experts agree that resilience isn’t something you you have or you don’t. It’s neither a state or a trait, but a process. Like officer safety, physical fitness, or sobriety, it’s something that requires a daily commitment and actions in furtherance of this commitment.”
Stephanie Conn PhD, Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel
If resilience is a process requiring daily commitment and action the question for you is, “At what point in people’s careers are you starting to teach the process?”
“One of the most unexpected findings that emerged from the leadership research is about the timing of teaching skills for rising or resilience. Often, leaders and executive coaches gather people together and try to teach resilience skills after there’s been a setback or failure. It turns out that’s like teaching first-time skydivers how to land after they hit the ground. Or, maybe worse, as they’re free-falling.”
“Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown
If we are waiting until a point in people’s careers when they are struggling, or they are deep into a career having dealt with trauma, tragedy and challenges, it is the equivalent of trying to teach that new skydiver to land when they are free-falling.
Start early. Start in recruit training. Start in Week 1 of recruit training and reinforce it throughout the Academy. Reinforce the message during inservice training throughout their careers. Remember the message from David Marquet, “There is a need for the relentless, consistent repetition of the message. Continually and consistently repeating the message is a mechanism for competence.”
“Resilience is not about bouncing back, it is about moving through. Through hardship to happiness. Through pain to wisdom. Through suffering to strength. What happens to us becomes part of us. Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences; they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.”
Eric Greitens, Resilience
A career in law enforcement will change you. You will experience hardship, pain and suffering. What we need to ensure is that it changes us for the better. By developing the foundations of resilience early and building those skills through continual training, you can help people experience growth from their experiences instead of being broken or damaged from those same experiences. Help develop within your people the ability to move through those experiences, integrate them into their lives and experience wisdom, strength and happiness from a career of service.
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