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How to Develop Resilience Inside of Change

September 21, 2021 • Inspiration & Motivation

Right now, change is constant, and uncertainty has become part of our new normal. Naturally, change can create fear and can be scary for people to have to wake up and navigate new challenges every day. As leaders, and as individuals inside of teams, here’s a couple of thoughts on the kinds of things I think we need to do to support people inside of this world that we’re living in and develop resilience inside of change.

Shoot Straight

Shoot straight with people. I represented Tom Izzo, the head coach at Michigan State, for years. There were times in Tom’s career, where we looked at other jobs in the NBA and at other colleges. One of the things that Tom always said to me is, “Just shoot me straight. If they don’t want me, if they’re interested in me, just tell me the truth, be straight with me.”

What our people need right now is, to be honest with them. Be straight with them. That’s what I’ve found with all the athletes that I’ve worked with because guess what? We live in a world where it’s hard to be straight sometimes, right? It’s hard to deliver difficult news. However, if we share honestly with love, with kindness, that’s what our people want. So be candid and straight.

Own Your Mistakes

As we navigate change, sometimes things are going to work, sometimes they’re not. Own it. One of the things I saw with the best athletes and coaches in the world is when things work, cool. When they didn’t work, the best owned their mistakes so the team could move forward. They fell right on that sword, and they moved on, and they learned from it. Own it.

Check-in With Your People

As leaders supporting people that are navigating this endless barrage of change, recognize that your people are human beings with hearts and souls and families and kids and spouses. They’ve got stuff. They’ve got stuff going on in their lives personally, professionally. Check-in with them.

One of the ways that I check in with my team is to start our Monday morning meetings by asking, “Where are you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and relationally, in your world?” It gives me a good sense of how my team is doing and understand if there are things going on in their life that I need to be aware of so that I can be gentle and be supportive as I need to be.

So, find ways to check in with your people consistently, because they’re human beings that are navigating change with families and other people besides their work that matter to them. Support them. Love them.

Visualize Succeeding

Another way to be more resilient is to develop mental toughness through visualization. In my podcast episode with Billy Horschel, Billy shares some advice he received from Tiger Woods. While walking with Tiger during a practice round, Billy shared with Tiger that he likes to prepare for tournaments by visualizing the tournament. Billy shared that he’d visualize, Thursday of the tournament, going low 64 draining putts, hitting fairways, and Friday going low, hitting fairways and shooting 64 every day. Then he’d end by visualizing Sunday with a trophy over his head.

Tiger’s feedback was to Billy was to not just visualize succeeding in your preparation, but also see yourself in moments of adversity. Visualize yourself on Friday afternoon having to hit fairways and greens to make the cut. Visualize yourself having to get up and down from a trap to make the cut. Visualize yourself on Sunday with a twenty-five-foot putt to tie for a playoff. That way you’re mentally prepared if things don’t go exactly how you planned. You’ve already been there and dealt with the nerves and prepared to overcome this moment.

One of the things we hear so often is visualize things working out, to visualize all the great moments. Well, guess what? It isn’t always going to work out, especially when we’re leaning into new things when we’re leaning into change. It isn’t always going to work and that’s okay. Visualize yourself recovering. Teaching your team to visualize how to recover is how you can help them to develop resilience.

Failure is Just Feedback

What I saw in my over 15 years as an agent, was that the very best step inside of change. They believe that they can become better from it. They step inside of those moments of change, and they say, “You know what? If I step into this, the person that can come on the out the other side of this is better.” It is natural to be afraid of change and to feel pain when things don’t work out. However, resilience is saying, “Yeah, it might not always work out great and that’s okay.” The world will call it failure, but do you know what I call failure? Feedback. That’s all it is. Failure is feedback that you can use to become better, to become resilient.

Failure is just feedback

Show Up, Even When it’s Hard

So, here’s my challenge to you. Show up. Show up when it’s hard. Show up when it’s hard and marry that with being gentle on yourself along the way. I took so many phone calls from guys on their way to the ballpark when they were preparing to pitch that night. John Smoltz would call me on the way to the ballpark, and the number of things that were going on in his life off the field was enormous. Whether it was a physical issue or a personal issue, John was resilient. He would always step on that mound and deliver, not for himself, but for his team.

Ernie Johnson is also a great example of someone who is incredibly resilient under pressure. The number of things pulling on Ernie in his personal life, and yet his ability to step into that booth for Inside the NBA and do what he does, and do it so well, is unbelievable. Do you know what his ability to deliver is anchored in? It’s anchored in resilience. It’s anchored in his ability to navigate change.

Step into Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain

So, here’s what I would challenge you to do is to recognize that, yes, there’s, short-term pain in life, and that can be challenging, but recognize the long-term gain that can exist as a result of stepping into the short-term pain. You got this.

Resilience is stepping into short-term pain for long-term gain.

More Resources for Leaders

Looking for more resources to help you and your team be resilient inside of change? I’d like to invite you to join my Leadership Huddles. Each month you’ll join me and a huddle of peers for a specifically chosen relevant personal development topic, safe-space conversations, and sharing of best practices. The huddles are presented live with opportunities for feedback and interaction and over the next few months, we will be digging in deeper about what it means to be resilient and how leaders can help their teams up their game.

More on Resilience


The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams, and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. The Energized Leader Training helps you and your team align your energy with the important and avoid costly burnout. Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Her Leadership Huddles are a monthly group coaching community to guide you towards your full potential. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes. 





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