Resiliency (noun): able to recover quickly; able to return to original form after being bent, compressed or stretched out of shape. A human ability to recover quickly from disruptive change without being overwhelmed or acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways.

Now that is a definition!  The last couple weeks I have been thinking about resiliency.  What it means?  Do I have it?  Wasn’t it just a GSK word of the month or something?  The Pulse team offers us training in resiliency.  As does GSK.  There are a lot of proper tools on our intranet homepage.  At home I never thought I needed it.  They said that every person that goes on Pulse experiences times when they need to be resilient.  I mostly just nod and agree.

I get a lot of messages about my Pulse assignment.  Most are very encouraging and the support has been amazing.  But there is a view that we are on a 6 month vacation.  I assure you this is not the case. Leading up to leaving I was working my normal job (and being quite successful might I add), helping someone learn my job, getting my personal affairs in order and getting ready to travel half way around the planet for the unknown.  Yes very exciting and also very exhausting.

When you get to your assigned location you are so excited that you also think that it is a vacation.  There are new sights, sounds, smells, people to meet and culture to absorb.  Again, this can also be exhausting.  When you get to your job, you are so consumed with learning, fitting in, projects and wanting to help so bad, that it can still seem like a vacation.  But like all things the smells fade, the outside world becomes the norm no matter how new it is, people become familiar and the work becomes a job.  All things in life ebb and flow.  There are ups and there are downs.  The question is can you be resilient to recognize and then handle.

As an athlete we define resiliency as working through pain and/or injury.  Will you get back up after you fell of the high bar?  How many repetitions does it take before you actual gain that muscle memory?  It is exhausting but it is expected.  In the work world you are expected to be happy and compliant all the time.  When you are hired they do not sit you down and do resiliency training proactively.  It only happens a lot after the fact.  Each situation you face you hope you are better the next time you face it.

The stretching of my abilities has been amazing (if you read my last blog).  But it can be exhausting.  Because it is not just the skills I am stretching.  I am also dealing with a corporation in a different country that has different ways of working.  There are communication barriers.  One big learning is not that they don’t understand what you are or they are saying, but the meaning behind the word may be vastly different.  This nuance has lead me to make mistakes and other people to make mistakes that have lead to me feeling frustrated.  I have spoken up and have been well received when I did.  But that was short term.  Why was I feeling frustrated?  How long would I feel this way?  Then doubts creep in.  Did I make the right decision?  Am I cut out for this?

I learned in the last couple of weeks that this is natural.  Everyone goes through these ebbs and flows.  Ups and downs.  I have been putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect and it is okay to make mistakes.  It should be expected.  If you know me, I am passionate to say the least.  About everything.  So when I make a mistake I am really hard on myself.  On the flip side if someone else makes a mistake I will take responsibility for that as well.  I have caught my amygdala being high jacked.

Most blogs are about all the wonderful things.  The weekend trips, how great the people are and cultural things.  And those are great:)  But this is great as well.  This is learning at its best.  As with all things there are ebbs and flows.  When I am asked about what I bring back to GSK one of the top things I will say is resiliency.  I have been very proud of myself on identifying that I was getting frustrated, what was triggering the frustration and then concentrating on what I could control.  I have allowed myself to able to make mistakes and accept that I am learning here.  I am not always in control.  And for the first time in my life that is okay.  My frustration is gone, my attitude has stayed consistent and I am excited for each new day.  I will also say that the spa prices here help when you need to get a massage 🙂

So don’t be afraid to bend out of position.  If you allow yourself to learn you will pop back into shape.  And then you will have that muscle memory for when you have to bend into that position again.  Selfie on the Bridgea


  1. What a learning experience Chad! You are up for the task though… Makes my frustrations seem even smaller…

  2. It sounds like you are constantly reflecting on your assignment Chad – whether in your last blog ‘Stretching’ or this blog ‘Resiliency’ – and learning things every day. These reflective blogs are just as great as any weekend trips and can be very powerful, not only to yourself, but to other volunteers and any readers. You have a fantastic writing style that really pulls the reader into your world.

  3. Your last two posts have really struck a cord for me, Chad. Thanks for being so generous with your learnings and sharing them with me and others. Not only are you making a difference in Vietnam, you are making a difference to me in PA!! 🙂 By the way, is the picture “Sad Chad”, “Annoyed Chad”, “Serious Chad” or “Resilient Chad”? Either way – I like it!

  4. I enjoy reading your blogs. You are doing amazing things there and we are so very proud of you. The team misses you like crazy! We have our first meeting without all of us together. While I am looking forward to meeting Kevin, we will miss seeing your smiling face.
    Take care and keep sending updates. I love all the pictures you post as well.
    Warmest Regards, Trisha

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