What would it look like for physicians to rethink resilience?
People often refer to resilience as your ability to bounce back from challenges. But, I’m embracing a new perspective (thanks, Dr. Ryan Will!) that may change how you practice resilience.
Brad Stulberg, author of Master of Change, compares two models of resilience: homeostatic and allostatic.
Homeostatic resilience, what we typically think of when someone brings up resilience, goes from order to disorder and back to order.
But in allostatic resilience, the phases shift from order to disorder to reorder.
After a challenge, it’s natural to want to return to the place we began.
But that’s not realistic.
Challenges often change who we are, what we do, and how we see the world. A return to homeostasis is not possible. Instead, we must commit to a new way forward: reorder.
How can we do this?
Stulberg introduces a concept I quite like called “rugged flexibility,” which goes hand in hand with allostatic resilience. As we learn to move between these three phases, we must accept that change is inevitable and follow its flow while holding onto our core values—what makes you you. It’s a balance of keeping certain, foundational aspects of ourselves the same and approaching disruption with flexibility.
The more we try to force ourselves or a situation back into the box of what once was, the more we can wear ourselves out. But, by taking a ruggedly flexible approach to resilience and leaning into reorder, we can build up our capacity to navigate new challenges as they come. As physicians—and humans—we must be open to our own growth and evolution.
Change is inevitable. What would it look like to approach the next challenge that arises as both rugged and flexible?
I want to hear your perspective. Let me know by emailing [email protected].