3 Ways Pop-Up Books Can Teach You Resilience
Lisa Diaz is the owner and founder of Lumen Impact Group. She will be kicking off this blog series, which will highlight the organizational values at Lumen. To learn more about our organizational values, click here.
Do you remember the children’s pop-up books that you used to play with? Maybe you still enjoy them with the children in your life; our boys loved them. Joy would radiate on their faces when they would turn the page, and they’d anticipate another great surprise with each flip.
Sometimes, though, a page would get flattened or ripped. I’m sure you can guess what happened to that joy; it would turn to frustration or discouragement. Because let’s be honest, the book sucks if the pages do not pop out at you.
I like to think of resilience as the pages of the book. When we work resiliently, we pop off the page, despite a setback or obstacle. When the paper is damaged or just too tired to stand up, the outcome is far from exciting. We might need some glue or tape to fix the page, but that doesn’t mean it is destined to be a boring, tired book.
The same is true with us. As adults, we need to be resilient. When challenges come and threaten to knock us down, or when we are tired but the outcome has not been achieved yet. We do not need to be destined to feel overwhelmed or incapable. So how can we cultivate resilience in the smallest- and most daunting- challenges?
What Resilience Isn’t
Before dropping into what resilience is, we need to understand how our concept of it is warped. I know that when many people think of resilience, they think of rolling up your sleeves, or ‘pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.’ Although it takes this kind of grit to get through some of our biggest struggles personally and professionally, something is broken if you are chronically grinding.
There are times that you do not need to be rolling up your sleeves. If you were nonstop maintaining resiliency with intense grit, you would become completely drained and burnt out.
Think about it this way: if your car were to run out of gas, would flooring the pedal make the car move? No. Pushing the pedal harder won’t do anything, and the same is true with people.
If your tank is empty and you are feeling unfulfilled, it may be time to take a step back and see what the bigger problem at hand is.
What Resilience Is
Resilience is the first of our organizational values for a good reason; it drives most of our impact-creating work. And we believe that great impact requires resilience in the face of challenges.
We also know that resilience takes more than sheer willpower, though. So what are some of the other elements that go into making a resilient person?
Resilience requires teamwork
Teamwork is another one of our 5 organizational values, but is profoundly connected to resilience. Without the encouragement and brainpower of others, we can sometimes find ourselves discouraged and wanting to give up on our goals.
The beauty of diversity in a team is that one teammate may have the resources, words, or presence that you need in order to lift you up after you’ve been knocked down.
I was recently working with a leadership team as they were exploring the collective strengths their team possesses. As the team grew in their shared understanding of each other the “aha!” moments started to occur. One team member said they had been feeling very defeated and alone in their work, but they now realized they did not have to be siloed. There was support on his own team.
Resilience requires creativity
If one method of solving a problem doesn’t work, resilience says that you can get up again and find another way. Take the pop up book for example. Could we have thrown the book out when the pages stopped popping? Sure. But in a house full of boys, we would have never had a pop up book more than a few hours. Instead we become very handy with packing tape. Bringing creativity to situations can and will support resiliency.
Creativity in the workplace can foster some incredible resilience. When I think about the past two years, I can’t help but notice the incredible resilience that organizations showed. The pandemic made us rethink everything that we used to do, and we are still standing today. But that resilience would not have been possible had teams not shown creativity.
Resilience requires tools
Packing tape was our tool of choice when fixing those pop up book pages. Without it, we would have been unsuccessful at bringing the excitement back to those page turns. Utilizing tools are a key part of supporting resilience.
I had to learn the importance of resilience tools at an early age. It became pretty clear when I was in elementary school that something was impacting my ability to read and write. I couldn’t read- much less spell- no matter how much I would try to memorize words. I was diagnosed with a learning disability.
After many years of specialized tutoring, guess what! I still can’t spell. Thankfully, however, I can use many tools that support my challenge. When I was younger, I had a dictionary that was organized using just consonants (for all you spelling challenge people, this was the best book I have ever owned!). As technology progressed I had a small hand held spelling machine. Now, we have that wonderful red squiggly line.
These tools helped me to be resilient. I could not force myself to memorize the spelling of words, my brain wouldn’t allow me to. So tools filled in the gaps to help me reach my goals.
Perhaps a tool can help you fill the gaps in your mind, too. You might be hitting the same wall each day at work, and cannot bolster the resiliency to overcome it. A plug-in, app, Ted Talk, or resource might help. Ask your coworkers how they have overcome a similar obstacle in the past (bringing us back to teamwork…do you see how they are all connected?)
Are you ready to take the next step toward resilience with us? Here are some digestible steps to start.
Looking to make a change in yourself? Start with ONE THING. A great way to stay exactly where you are is to pick 7 things to change at once. You know what that one thing is; the obstacle you really want to accomplish//get through and it keeps getting pushed to the side. The thing you have been thinking about while reading this blog.
Next, download this resilience worksheet that I created. It will walk you through the next steps to become resilient over your chosen task, including identifying roadblocks, first steps, and accountability.
Looking to make a culture change in your company? The biggest first step is to celebrate when you see resilience in action in your organization. That allows the roots of an organization to go really deep. Encourage your colleagues to be resilient; not in a “pick-yourself-up-already” way, but instead a “how-can-your-resiliency-help-you-to-overcome-this” way.
In the end, there may be some things we just cannot overcome. But that does not mean that we cannot find another way. We use packing tape to fix the pop up book. We might need to utilize that spelling machine during exams, or your colleague’s brainpower when you have run out of ideas. But teamwork, creativity and tools do not mean you don’t have natural resilience, it simply means that you are tapping into resources around you to be even better.
How do you foster resilience? Comment below, or share with us on social media!