A Time for Resilience

May 24, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 12 Comments

A short personal story

On June 7, 2017, I was hit by a van while on a training ride. I spent 20 days in the hospital, had surgery to fix a fractured left hip socket, broken ribs, and lots of high-quality bruises. Never before had I experienced such incredible pain.

Hell yes, I was angry that a distracted driver made me another “cyclist hit by vehicle” statistic. I also knew that anger and being a “victim” wouldn’t get me out of that hospital bed and walking again. That’s when my focus shifted to recovery and getting back on my bike.

That summer was brutally tough. I worked with my physical therapist and gradually regained my strength. That Labor Day, with my surgeon’s permission, and balancing help from Joanne, I got on my bike trainer and lightly pedaled. It was a small victory that felt hugely wonderful.

Four months after the accident, on October 1st, I did my first ride outside. Words can’t describe the many emotions I felt during that short ride.

There were many words that people used to describe my recovery. My accident attorney, and now good friend, Lenny Isaac, called it “inspiring.” So much so, he bought a road bike and starting riding with Team Strategies on the MS Cape Cod Getaway Ride.

Other than being “grateful” my injuries weren’t worse, or being killed, the word I chose to describe my recovery was “resilience.”

The dictionary defines “resilience” as: The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

The COVID-19 Recovery Begins

During these past three months, I found myself reflecting on the weeks and months after my bike accident and the thinking that got me through it. Our reality quickly became surreal:

  • OMG, the “stay at home” orders were shutting the economy down.
  • Shutting down our offices and adjusting to working from home.
  • Making sure my company and my team had the resources to get through this.
  • Watching 100% of our salon/spa coaching clients close their businesses.
  • Taking all our remaining seminars online and doing it well.
  • Giving our coaching clients, and the rest of the industry, the resources and guidance they needed to stay focused on their recovery plans.
  • Doing nine weekly Town Hall Meetings on Facebook Live to provide timely information and solutions.
  • Deciphering the ever-changing PPP and EIDL loans.
  • Providing checklist after checklist for reopening and safety protocols.

Each and every one of us had no choice but to work our way through one unknown after another. Managing stress quickly became a new and vital skillset. 

And here we are today …

You are reopening your salons, spas, barbershops, medspas and more.

You have weathered months of the COVID-19 storm. Almost overnight, you witnessed our booming economy go into a tailspin as 38.9 million people filed for unemployment in the last nine weeks alone.

You have shown your resilience. You will need to show even more over these next weeks and months. Why? Because there are still unknowns we need to figure out and get through.

Here’s my challenge to you: As we continue through this recovery, remember the following five keys to resilience:

  1. Self-awareness: Be the leader your team and company needs today, tomorrow and beyond. Your words matter. Your demeanor matters. Your decisiveness matters. Your appreciation matters.
  2. Mindfulness: This is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, and thoughts. If you’re stressed, take a fresh air break or dial back on work. Focus on controlling what you can control.
  3. Self-care: It’s important to exercise and remain active. Stick to a schedule. Eat healthy but reward yourself with a little indulging. Alcohol in moderation or none at all. (I prefer moderation.) Limit your time on Facebook and social media — there’s just too much negativity and misinformation.
  4. Positive relationships: If a relationship doesn’t lift you up and support you, you don’t need it in your life. Let the complainers and blamers hang out together. You’ve got a team to support and a company to lead.
  5. Purpose: Having a purpose gives meaning to life. Each and every one of us possess the power to make this world a better place. Takers take. Givers pay it forward and shape the future.

Without question, this is a time when your resilience matters.

Categories: Leadership

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  1. Thank you Neil…. important work still ahead…. inspired leadership is the goal to have and to give….. thank you for being one of mine👍🏼☮️🌎🌿

  2. I agree 100% about resilience and what it’s going to take to get through this. You and the Strategies team has done a great job guiding us through the storm. I’m excited about the opportunities my team and I have and I’m excited about getting back to work!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Your comment is truly appreciated. It’s been a lot of work … but very rewarding.
      This storm will pass.

  3. . . . You once said to me: Is it Lift or is it Drag ? . . . I’ve held that close all these years. “Don’t give Terry a concept (he embraces) that you don’t want him to hold on to.” – Neil Ducoff . . . (Remembering The Hat Game) . . .

    1. Hey Terry,
      You “embrace” concepts with super glue. Ahhhh … the Thinking Hats 🎩.
      Take care my friend.

  4. Neil,

    Somehow you always have your finger on the pulse of where I need support. This was perfectly timed. I’ve been hustling and keeping myself in the right mindset to be resilient, however at times I waver and want to curl up and avoid it all. I allow myself one day here and there to just shut it all out and breathe. That was Monday for me this week. Thanks for being right there with the right pep talk to spur me on. One day at a time, eye on the horizon. Givers shape the future.

    1. Hi Tamara,
      Likewise, thanks for your response. These are such crazy times. But there are better days coming.

  5. Action gives you Power, me at least! I have created a very safe place for my team and clients…I could only have done all of this because of my very established business! Thank you Strategies, your empowering messages make all the difference in the world! My very kind coach Kim Deluisa has really been there for me in these trying times! Again, Thank you Strategies!

    1. Hi Joan,
      Thank you so much for you kind words. We love what we do at Strategies and work seriously hard at it … especially during this crisis. Yes, Kim Delisa is a wonderful coach. Kind yet firm. She helps our clients get results.
      Be safe, well and strong.


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