ChaptertOO Talent and Business Consulting
The Fundamental Flaw of Resilience – Part II

A Gemisode™ Series – Part II

Systems, policies, and people eventually fall short of their intentions and as such “all paths to progress begin with acknowledgement”. Whether harm is experienced due to race, gender, ethnicity, religious identity, ability status, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, body shape and/or size, or any other intersectional identity used to judge or oppress, acknowledgement and not the demand for resilience is required for those seeking to begin their  AJEDI-B™ (Accessibility, Justice, Empathy, Diversity, and Inclusion, without which there is no Belonging) journey.

In part I of this series, we learned that undesirable outcomes are often connected to the ‘unchecked resilience narrative’, yet, as a society, we continue to miss the mark when it comes to our expectations around resilience and who we most demand it from. The reality is that trauma of any form, including generational, which is fostered by years of inequality, systemic oppression, and violence, has meant that marginalized communities have had to develop more resiliency in order to survive; however, resilience has come at a cost to their health, well-being, life expectancy, and social mobility.

What about within the workplace, is the expectation of resilience an issue there too?

Yes! Consider the following:

1. Members of groups (i.e., religious, ethnic, parental, gender etc.) are often expected to educate others about their experiences, provide historical or societal context to support said experiences, lead [insert designated themed month or acknowledgement day] discussions, and serve as the face and voice when attempting to convince ‘leadership’ about the value of inclusion, wellness, and diversity.

2. How often are those demanding education under the guise of “inclusion” stopping to consider that the expectation of education on top of the daily reality of oppression, micro and macroaggressions, and discrimination (said workplace included) is beyond taxing and may fuel burnout?. Yes, the same burnout that impacts performance and will undoubtedly be used to support the lack of advancement and pay increase opportunity for said designated educator(s).

For these reasons and more, we believe that the resilience narrative is fundamentally flawed not because the value of resilience is without merit, rather, because its glorification has been used to manipulate, minimize, and circumvent the experiences of some. In other words, resilience has been weaponized through the over insistence that those who face more adversity are stronger and somehow better off for it as a result –a weaponized approach fails to acknowledge the actual cost to those at increased risk.

People are not incapable, less worthy, or less deserving if they need to let go of a battle, relationship, job, or simply cave to the pressures around them, after all doing so only proves that we are indeed human. In seeking to embrace and honor your own humanity, we implore you to reframe the resilience narrative that has been placed upon you and that you have placed upon others.


Change follows reframe –  to “look at, present, or think of (beliefs, ideas, relationships, etc.) in new or different ways”

For a more inclusion-anchored approach to resilience, reframe using the following AJEDI-B™ based steps:

  • Acknowledge and accept – the identities, boundaries, and stated experiences of others. To do this, you must first acknowledge and honor your own.
  • Reject assumptions – You/they aren’t incapable or lazy. Compounding factors (i.e., health, finances, depression, housing and/or food insecurities) may be at play.
  • Pay attention – don’t demand more than what you (the body warns) or someone else (ask) is able to give.
  • Grace and empathy – for yourself and others. Pausing or completely stopping is not a sign of weakness or failure, rather one of strength and maturity necessitated by a biological urge to survive.
  • Accountability and support – ask for help, let those you’ve entrusted know what warning signs to look for, how best to support you and/or bring concerns to your attention. If you are the accountability partner, seek clarity upfront related to what red flags and interventions may look like, and ALWAYS be honest about the type of support you’re equipped and willing to provide.

Not everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps” – Sonia Sotomayor, US Supreme Court Justice


If you’re ready to understand how the resilience narrative maybe impacting your organization and your ability to lead effectively, get in touch with us here to learn about our about our advisory, coaching, and training services.