By Jenny Stotts, District 6690 membership chair
Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity. When we experience a traumatic or stressful event, our brains activate a number of pathways to protect us. These biological processes help keep us safe. It’s in the recovery from these events that we grow and change and become stronger.
Many of us are living this reality right now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are ways to grow our capacity for resiliency. And we can use this time to strengthen Rotary, by working together to grow and foster resilience in our fellow members and our clubs. Here are a few tips:
Connect: A critical building block for resilience is simply connecting with others. Check in with fellow members. Call them, send them a message, work to make sure they can access your virtual meetings. As a club, consider connecting with other clubs to weave yourself further into the global fabric of Rotary.
Perspective: When we experience ongoing adversity, it is far too easy to lose hope. Help members maintain a realistic and positive perspective. Rotary clubs are facing challenges right now including adjusting to new meeting platforms and worrying about membership or giving. Remember that the challenges you face today are not a reflection of your future. How you respond to today’s challenges will shape the future.
Wellness: We are living during a time where words like “quarantine,” “lockdown,” and “zoom fatigue” are common and relatable. Promote and prioritize wellness among your members. Use your virtual meeting to ask members to share ways that they are taking care of themselves and their families. Be gracious when a member needs to take a break, skip a meeting or have an extra few days to respond to an email. Now is not the time to keep points or compete with who is doing more or less. Speak and listen with kindness.
Purpose: When we give energy to others, it has a way of recharging our own batteries. It fosters a sense of self-worth and gives us feelings of purpose and validation. Plan service opportunities with your fellow members that you are able to accomplish and approach. Offering smaller projects concurrent to your larger, ongoing projects gives everyone in your club an access point to service.
Gratitude: We benefit from mindful and intentional reflections in gratitude. It can promote the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help us feel joy or happiness. Take a moment to share thanks to your fellow members and create opportunities for your entire club to extend gratitude to your community and your partners.
When we collectively care for our members, we help create pathways to grow and foster resilience. When we scale these practices to the organization level, we unlock new potential to strengthen our clubs and enhance the member experience.
The world deserves Rotarians and Rotary clubs that are resilient, adaptable, and strong. Remember to take care of one another. But, take care of yourself, too. You deserve to be your best and most resilient self.
About the author: Jenny Stotts is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Athens Sunrise, Ohio, USA. She is the membership chair of District 6690. She is also a licensed, practicing social worker, child advocate and trauma specialist.