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Resilience and Human Nature

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Ether: What Is Really Going on Here?

What if you knew why something difficult was happening, what to do, how it all fits together, and how it would all turn out? Ether is the element that fills the space in between. When we listen deeply, the “primary focus is to listen below the surface of the conversation. Listen for the undercurrents and be curious about what’s happening underneath at the emotional and (team) dynamic level’[11]

How does it all fit together? Ether is the element calling us to integrate our rational mind and intuition. That integration enables resilient leaders to see the big picture in order to strategize, communicate, act decisively, and empower others. Resilient leaders trust that they are where they are supposed to be and have what it takes to face the challenge and make it through. Resilient leaders’ educated ‘gut’ informs them about what is happening, what is likely to emerge next, and how to show up. They put their egos on hold to see the bigger picture and the part they are being called to play.

Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky[12] referred to this perspective as putting oneself “on the balcony” to avoid being so swept up in the action that you can only react. Dan Goleman refers to “the ability to maintain perspective in the midst of action” so that it is possible to ask and assess ‘what is really going on here?’ There is a triad of awareness – focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world.

 Every leader needs to cultivate this triad of awareness in abundance and in the proper balance because a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.[13]

There is no way of knowing who will be resilient or what the future holds, but humans can tap into their inner five elements – Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Ether – because they are part of our human nature. Practicing the five perspectives during difficulties will increase the odds that leaders and their teams will emerge stronger, wiser, and better prepared for the next, inevitable challenge.


To read this article in French, visit https://libraryofprofessionalcoaching.com/concepts/resilience-et-nature-humaine/

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