I’ve been getting more requests to talk on resilience at conferences and inside organizations in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years.

And no wonder.

The question we’re faced with is: How much are we able to stretch  – emotionally and intellectually – to meet the demands of challenging, changing, and uncertain external circumstances, and do more than merely endure them but, instead, use them for better?

Put another way, how can we summon and cultivate elasticity in ourselves and our organizations?

This was one of the primary questions I sought to understand when I began interviewing leaders for The Making Magnificence Project® in 2012: How did these extraordinary leaders not only bounce back from adversity and setback, but go on to thrive?

Below are 3 of the 8 key factors that emerged from those conversations:

  • The Lens We Look Through is very, very powerful. How we frame a situation, and what we tell ourselves about it, determines the course that we chart.  This is not to say that we should disregard our emotions of loss.  Rather, we can honor and acknowledge those feelings while simultaneously not permitting them to occlude possibility.  Dan Michelson, CEO of Strata Decision Technology, spoke about this during our conversation as he shared his experience of his childhood and never, ever considering that he would one day become a CEO.  As a leader, you are the visionary and you select the lens for your team and organization.  If you’re not consistently communicating with your team, you’re losing an opportunity to frame the challenge in a way that helps, rather than hinders, productivity and morale.  Some specific communication tools can be found in this blog post.
  • A High Tolerance for Uncertainty is a muscle that can be built. Ben Fountain shared his story about going on a quest to write and the long journey before the critical acclaim.  He not only had to learn how to write, he had to learn how to think about the uncertainty of when – or if – the success would come.  We are in a 10x marathon of uncertainty during this COVID crisis.  We don’t have a finish line.  But we can build our tolerance for uncertainty and therefore free ourselves to put our energies where they matter.  What are the results that you want and what are the actions that you can take now?
  • When Logan Bennett got caught in an avalanche after working to mitigate them for more than 20 years, the first thing he did after he survived was to assemble his entire team – including the most junior – and ask what happened and why.  He was on a Quest for Self-Mastery and chose to learn from the event rather than be defeated by it.  How do you want to be better and develop as a result of our current crisis?  Personally and professionally?  There has never been a better time for leadership development and self-exploration.

One leader recently said to me, “There is no playbook for this.”


We are living outside the box.

And it requires our capacities for creativity, experimentation, fortitude, and compassion.

But without resilience, we won’t be able to put any of those  capacities to use.

To listen to some of the stories from The Making Magnificence Project® go here.  To watch what happens 5 years later, go here for my 2nd interview with Livongo’s Founder Glen Tullman.  And to read the stories of Logan, Dan, Ben, and many other courageous leaders who bounced back with resilience, go here.  Their generosity in sharing their stories still leaves me filled with gratitude.

I work with CEOs and senior executives who are courageous, talented, successful, and want to make their mark.

Hosting a Virtual Conference or Event?  I’ve been speaking on “Reconnecting with Resilience™: The 4 Key Investments for Leading through COVID and Beyond” at organizations like Caterpillar and Deloitte, and at conferences like the Wells Fargo Retail Summit and the North Carolina School of Banking.   For booking information, email me at: sarah@sarah levitt.com

Webinar Topics for Your Virtual Conferences and Events:

New! VIP Velvet Rope Offering: Customized Roundtable Discussion for Your Select Attendees
You choose whom to invite, we craft a signature offering that can only be found through you, and I bring unique content and lead a discussion among participants

Reconnecting with Resilience™: Leading through COVID and Beyond
The 4 key investments to make in yourself and your team to successfully navigate the future

Magnificent Leadership® – Keys to Leading through Uncertainty with Success
Transform Uncertainty, Transcend Circumstance, and Claim the Future: Applying the 8 key factors

Six Month Strategy – Planning During Uncertainty
How to create and execute a responsive strategy for uncertain and volatile times

Bringing the Outside In: Cultivating the Soil of Entrepreneurship in Your Organization
How to foster speed, grow innovation, and encourage hustle

Magnificent Leadership®: Building Self-Correcting Teams™
Forget high performance and instead build a team that can function without you