Resilience and the Teflon Pan
Leadership Coach, Front of Room Leader and Systemic Change Guide

Yesterday, we had a co-creation session with our dear friend and colleague Susie Astbury. We are creating a resilience workshop, because as we have moved into 2021, we are still facing many of the same challenges of 2020, including lockdowns, home working, disrupted childcare and homeschooling. And from the New Year’s messages and videos that went viral over social media, it is clear that most people ache to leave 2020 behind, with all its restrictions, uncertainty, and frustration.
Good riddance!
When we were talking about our own levels of resilience, we noticed:

Sometimes we confuse resistance with self-protection.

And when I look around and see how my friends and colleagues weather the storms of their lives, I cannot help but notice that many pride themselves with sentences like:

“You can throw S#@% at me and I just let it slide off me like eggs on a teflon pan. ”

Yes, that sentence did come up in our co-creation meeting yesterday. And it shifted our thinking on how we can best serve our resilience workshop participants.

It made us think of just how unhealthy those teflon pans are. Yes, eggs don’t stick on them, but up until 2015, non-stick pans were made of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, so likely your pan is still of that material. That chemical builds in your body and is directly linked to fatal diseases.


While a cast iron pan needs more tender, love, and care it serves you a lifetime – without damaging your health!

So how does that metaphor relate to self-protection and resilience?

If we are only resilient on the surface, we behave like Teflon.

Yet self-protection is only a superficial bouncing back from setbacks, struggles, and conflict.
But how do you know that you tend to only superficially bounce back rather than rely on healthy resilience?
Good indicators include indulging in numbing activities (over eating, regular alcohol consumption, binge-watching Netflix and co, over exercising). And there is keeping your relationships superficial, avoiding the topics you are stuggling with: sex, money, fairness, to name but a few common topics.

So, how do you know whether you are truly resilient?

True resilience means bouncing back to the best version of yourself: calm, resting in your values, connected to your agency, and able to stay in relationship with yourself and those around you.
True resilience lets you rebound to questions like:

What’s the gift in this relationship bump?

What’s the silver lining of this failure?

And to build resilience, you need to invest in your energy levels so as to keep your batteries well charged by giving time and attention to what you need to boost your

  • physical energy

  • emotional energy

  • mental energy, and

  • spiritual energy.

But before you jump to the daily tiny habits you need to start, keep, or stop in order to fill your batteries, you must understand where you have disengaged from work, relationships, your own well being and best interest. And, even more importantly, where you want to more fully engage in your life.

Resilience is a very personal matter. There is no one size fits all.

Happy new year to you!
Really and with love: Happy new year!

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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