Posts Tagged ‘resilience’

The Upside of Uncertainty

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Lorraine Greek sunset

Photograph ©Lorraine Behnan

Life is uncertain. Uncertainty is life. That’s the appeal of living. So why then is uncertainty often depicted or perceived in a negative context – like it is a bad thing?

References to uncertainty are cited daily in a variety of scenarios and through multiple forms of media and communication. What is certain is that every day the sun will rise and the sun will set, and between dawn and dusk there will be uncertainty.

Humanity is resilient in uncertainty. Resiliency drives us to see what tomorrow brings, and even more importantly, what we can bring to tomorrow.

Sometimes people confuse uncertainty with security. Uncertainty is not being able to read the future.  Well, that’s normal unless you are psychic.  Security is providing a safe environment. This too is normal, however it is practical and achievable.

Arguably some people do better than others in times of change and uncertainty, but generally we have the ability to bounce back. Beware the ‘Chicken Littles’ who squawk loudly to keep us in fear because they may have a hidden agenda for their own gain: power, control, manipulation, and dependency.  These are obstacles that can crack our confidence and derail our personal goals and beliefs.  Amid the noise of uncertainty it is hard to keep one’s focus, and easy to be drawn into the abyss.

Before you go down the  rabbit hole of anxiety and fear look at the upside of uncertainty: the joy of wonder, the element of surprise, fuel for curiosity, antidote to complacency.

This quote by the late Gilda Radner beautifully captures her inspiring perspective on uncertainty.

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Golf: Personal Mastery at Work

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Golf flagI love to golf. I am an average golfer. Average as a result of limited practice. None the less, I have a great passion for the game and look forward to the hours on the course when the only goal is to get that little white sphere in the hole. Preferably in two putts or less! Golf is an oasis from the worries and tasks of the day. Golf is great outdoor exercise while enjoying quality time with friends, family, and colleagues. For my summer holiday I went to the magnificent Priddis Greens Golf Course outside of Calgary to watch the CN Canadian Women’s Open. My intention was to breathe fresh mountain air, view the vistas of the Rockies as I watched the best women golfers in the world, and pick up a few tips along the way.  I came away with more. I learned that the best practices of golf can be applied to business. If you are top of the Leader Board today, that doesn’t ensure you will be on top tomorrow. Complacency is your biggest enemy, along with the pressure of challengers nipping at your heals. You need to play your personal best. I noted that at the end of each round the players were back on the putting green practicing for the next day.  After all, it’s those short strokes that clinch the win. As the classic saying goes, “Drive for show and putt for dough.”

Personal Mastery:


Mental and physical conditioning

Determination and discipline







Calculated risk

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New Voices in Canada

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

ethnic-diversity2I always enjoy my speaking engagements and meeting the interesting and diverse people who attend the events.  My recent engagement was an extra special experience.  I’ve spoken at other conferences sponsored by CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) and this time an extended opportunity allowed me, in between my keynote and seminars, to hear the remarkable stories of the attendees. The experience touched me so deeply that I am motivated – compelled – to share on my blog.

The participants at this conference were New Canadians who are teaching Newer Canadians English and to help with their transition to this country. They were from all parts of the world – Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Eastern Europe, Asia. Many left their relatives and homeland to flee war and oppression. They all love their countries and miss their families greatly. But they took the biggest leap of their lives in search of safety and peace. What better country to choose than Canada? Many were professionals who now do two or three jobs a day to survive. Yet they are grateful – they do not complain. They have a strong belief in freedom and the future, and trust that better times are on the horizon as they build safer and more opportune lives for their children. Their reasons for immigrating and their journey from homeland to the new land, is both heart wrenching and uplifting. They simply tell their story – no dramatics, no pity, no bitterness – simple fact. They do not see themselves as heroic – simply mothers and fathers protecting their children. Mostly the women in the audience were the ones to approach me with their stories.  I knew from my Mother, who was a New Canadian 50 years ago, the challenges she and my father faced and overcame to bring their three children to freedom. Sometimes I take for granted their bravery and hardship. Listening to these stories restored my gratitude for my parents, my country, my blessings.

I was the motivational speaker in the front of the room at the conference but the people in the audience held the truly remarkable stories of opportunity, resilience, and success. These stories need to be written, recorded, and shared as a reminder to all of how fortunate we are even during times of uncertainty.  We have the fortitude within us to survive against all odds.

The groups which helped with the organization and participated in the conference, and for the valuable work that they do: Chatham-Kent  Adult Language and Learning; College Boreal; Greater Essex County District School Board LARC program; LINC (Language Instruction for New Canadians); Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County; New Canadians’ Centre for excellence; South Essex Community Council; Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women; Women’s Enterprise Skills Training; YMCA of Windsor and Essex County.