At-Risk or At-Resilient: Which One Will You Be In 2012?
What do the terms at-risk and at-resilient (a term coined by Tommy A. Watson) actually mean? I am glad that you asked:
- At-Risk: describes an individual or groupexpected to surrender (give in) to adverse situations
- At-Resilient: describes an individual or groupexpected to adapt (overcome) successfully to adverse situations
Resilience, it is the key skill for surviving and thriving in the multitude of changes and challenges that we are all facing. I would like to share with you my story of resilience and offer some tips on what individuals can do to become more resilient in 2012 and beyond.
I arrived in Minnesota to play Big Ten football for the University of Minnesota after living in nearly 25 different locations during my childhood. My parents were heroin addicts and professional shoplifters. As a result of their behaviors, I lived in 3 different foster homes, 3 different motel rooms, 3 different crisis centers, lived with my grandmother 3 times, my parents had gone to prison 3 times, and attended numerous schools, all by the time I was in 3rd grade. As a 3rd grader, I found myself angry, yearning to join and lead the local gang, and living with my aunt.
By the time I was in 7th grade, my family and I got evicted from our home in front of the neighbor and my friends, who sat on their porches laughing as the local sheriffs tossed everything we owned into the front yard of the house, including myself and my siblings. From there, we (9 of us) moved back into a 10 X 16 motel room- where we would remain for the next year.
As my senior year of high school rolled around, I found myself homeless and sleeping on the floor of a family friend, while being recruited as one of the top high school football players in the state of Colorado.
Fast forward a year to my arrival to the University of MN, both my mom and dad were in prison, my younger brother was in prison, my grandmother (last legal guardian) was in a nursing home, my oldest sister was on the streets of Denver addicted to crack cocaine, my oldest brother was on the streets of Denver involved heavily in gangs, my second oldest sister was in foster care in Iowa, and my youngest sister was living with my aunt. Between my junior and senior year of high school, I lived in five different locations.
Many people ask me how I made it through these many adverse situations and difficult times. Well, when I was in 8th grade and living in the motel room something amazing happened to me. My future high school coach came along and gave me HOPE. He told me that if I followed the same path of success as other successful people that my life would change. He was right! Success principles are timeless, transferable, and universal.
Remember, resilience does not exist without HOPE. HOPE inspires RESILIENCE.
Today, I am an award winning author, renowned speaker, beloved former school principal, and CEO/Founder of T. A. Watson Speaking Coaching & Consulting. I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree, aMaster’s Degree, an Advanced Graduate Degree, and I am currently completing my Doctor of Education in Leadership. Resilience pays off!
So how does a person endure all of this and come out standing? I am glad that you asked. Here are some tips to enduring challenging times:
- Build Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities
- Find a Sense of Purpose in Your Life
- Develop a Strong Social Network
- Embrace Change
- Be Optimistic
- Nurture Yourself
- Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills
- Establish Goals
Ancient scripture says, that as a man [or woman] thinks so than is he.
At-Risk or At-Resilient: Which one will YOU make the CHOICE to be in 2012?
Tommy A. Watson, Ed. D. (candidate), is and author (A Face of Courage- The Tommy Watson Story) and motivational speaker.