Building Resilience - You Gotta Know When to “Fly South”

Updated: May 7, 2021

Every year millions of ducks and other migratory birds fly south to reach a warmer climate. Most of these flocks return to the same location year after year. They have a natural instinct that tells them when it’s time to leave and where they need to go.

People have somewhat of an instinct too, but we don’t always call it instinct. We call this phenomenon “the voice in our head”, “a gut feeling”, intuition, sense or simply a “hunch”.

Just as ducks need to follow their instincts to help them survive, people need to have a vision and focus for their own future. People need the confidence, and the feeling of self-assurance to succeed.

An essential trait of resilience and a common theme in the research is the importance of self-efficacy as a way toward clarity and appropriate risk-taking.

Hirischi’s (2012) view is that psychological resources, such as self-efficacy beliefs or a positive mindset, can promote identity development and facilitates clear career decisions and relevant goal setting.

Career self-efficacy was found to play a relevant role the process of choosing and a career as well as modifying career development approaches. People who are low in self-efficacy are more likely to be career indecisive and to set lower goals for themselves (Liu, 2003).

Resilience literature demonstrates that self-efficacy is critical for developing resilience. Self-perception is also linked to career success and can help or hinder a person’s willingness to explore and try new things. Career self-management and self-direction surface as key issues in career literature.

According to an article in the HR Management Journal, Sturges identified a variety of behaviors that support career self-management, including positioning, influence, managing boundaries, risk-taking, visibility and networking.

Sometimes you need to go out on a limb and take a huge risk.

John Chen, CEO of Geoteaming is known for this. John’s a risk-taker, innovative entrepreneur and team-building expert; he left a lucrative position with Microsoft to start his business, and since then John has followed his instincts to build his dream.

In January 2014 John took a group of Seattle Seahawks fans to Super Bowl XLVIII for the adventure of their lives. What started as local staycations to Seahawks games in Seattle with his Mom, quickly turned into helping kids with significant disabilities get to see a game, and culminated in the ultimate trip to the Super Bowl.

The risk paid off in numerous ways; the story went viral and he had 20 interviews in 6 days with news agencies like CNN, Forbes and the New Your Times. Guided by his instinct, John trusts the process and believes that his skills and experience will see him through to achieve his goals.

Ducks instinctively sense when the weather is changing and adjust accordingly, and people assess little risks every day.

What can you do to assess bigger risks as indicated by the “weather” where you are in your life right now? What do you need to do about it?

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