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  • Writer's pictureThrive Inc.

Becoming More Resilient with Robin Kelson

Welcome back to the Beauty of Conflict. We have an amazing guest with us today, teaching us about resiliency. Robin Kelson is a food-grower, biochemist, attorney, and lifelong student of the natural world. Her heirloom seed company ‘The Good Seed Company’ is dedicated to re-establishing the community practice of selecting, saving, and sharing seeds for common use. She has a deep curiosity about human vitality and joins us today to talk about what constitutes resiliency and how we, as humans, can improve ours.

Robin defines resiliency as the ability to recover from disruptive change - pretty appropriate for current circumstances, right? As a species, humans are one of the youngest and most non-resilient on the planet. Other species have been around for tens, even millions of years, and in order to survive and thrive through various disruptive changes to the planet, they have had to be resilient. It’s about time we were too!

Join us this week to learn about the six behavioral patterns that scientists derive to be consistent with resiliency. We’ll talk about what these mean for us humans, and how you can apply these principles to become more resilient in your business, personal life, or community!

If you want to learn how to deal with conflict more effectively, as always, we are both available for individual one on one and couples coaching. For the next couple of months, we are also offering free virtual training to organizations. Our goal is to support you, your team, and your business both at work and at home during this pandemic. Get in touch with us to find out more!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Learn More:

  • What disruptive change is and why it can be a good thing.

  • How we can tap into the intelligence and resilience in our bodies.

  • What six behaviors we need to become more resilient.

  • How we can thrive in the aftermath of the coronavirus.

  • Why collaboration and cooperation are crucial to our existence.

  • Why engaging the prefrontal cortex will enable us to be more resilient.

  • Why we, as humans, are not as individual or unique as we might think!


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. Hi, I'm CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan. We run a company called Thrive, and we specialize in conflict resolution, communication and building strong, thriving teams and relationships. Conflict shows up in our lives in so many ways.

Most people, unfortunately, are not very good at handling conflict. Most people have never been taught the right tools for dealing with conflict, and then it leads to unnecessary friction, arguments, passive aggressive emails, tears, hurtful comments, stuck-ness, all kinds of things we don't want. We're on a mission to change all of that.

CrisMarie: We've spent the last 20 years teaching our clients how to handle conflict in a whole new way. We're here to show you that conflict doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. With the right tools, you can turn a moment of conflict into a moment of reinvention. Conflict can pave the way into a beautiful new system at work, a new way of leading your team, a new way of parenting, a new chapter of your marriage where you feel more connected than ever before. Conflict can lead to beautiful things.

Susan: Today we have a very special guest, Robin Kelson who’s going to be talking about the concept of resilience. Now, a lot of times we think about resilience and we think about the resilience of the human spirit, the ability of people to kind of deal with adversity and come back. Robin is going to talk about this from a much broader process, really talking about how we are part of a much bigger global ecosystem. And there are a lot of lessons that can be learned about how to be resilient from this whole big planetary ecosystem. And it’s quite amazing to listen to.

Now, she’s going to cover a lot of material and we may not be able to apply it directly to how this applies to business in your life. So I think – and we’re going to come back on and talk about how we applied it. So hopefully you’ll enjoy this and stay tuned for the second part.

CrisMarie: Today we have a very special guest, a dear friend of both of ours, Robin Kelson, who is a food grower, biochemist and attorney and a lifelong student of the natural world. She has a deep curiosity about human vitality and what constitutes resiliency. Her heirloom seed company, The Good Seed Company is dedicated to reestablishing the community practice of selecting, saving and sharing seeds for common use, because access to quality seeds is central to our resiliency, both as a species and a community.

Currently, Co-Executive Director of AERO, Robin also runs the Resiliency Intelligence Alliance, RIA for short, coaching individuals and organizations in strategic planning and community visioning, with a resiliency mindset in mind.

Susan: In other words she’s just super smart and also incredibly curious and resilient. So that’s why we have her on today.

CrisMarie: Welcome Robin.

Robin Kelson: Thank you, I’m so excited to be here.

CrisMarie: Yes. Well, we know of your work in resiliency.

Robinson Kelson: Yes.

CrisMarie: And with this current pandemic we were like, “We’ve got to get her on our show to talk about all the aspects of resiliency that you share and link it to what’s going on today.”

Susan: And honestly, I remember hearing you talk about this a while ago, and I was so fascinated. And then you told me the book you took it from. And honestly, I’ve read the book, but I didn’t get nearly as much out of the book as I got out of listening to you talk about it. So we’re excited to have this conversation. Maybe that’s just my reading comprehension, but I really loved the way you translated it.

CrisMarie: You make it make sense. So let’s dive in, Robin, talk to us about resiliency and the different dimensions of it and we’ll just have a conversation about it.

Robin Kelson: Okay. Well, I like to define resiliency as a way to start. People have different impressions of it. And how I use the word ‘resiliency’ is it’s the ability to recover from disruptive change, and disruptive change.

CrisMarie: And we are in the middle of disruptive change.

Robin Kelson: We’re in the middle of it, that’s right, because disruptive change is characterized by two pieces, one is low predictability. And the other is high risk that which shows up that you can’t plan for. You know, and we tend to think of it as a bad thing. But disruptive change can also be a good thing, you know, it’s like you win the lottery, that’s considered a good thing. But it’s also, we can’t predict all the ways it’s going to impact you and it has a high impact on you.

Your first baby, you know, you can sort of think of planning for it for those nine months. But when that baby comes into the world your world changes 100% so, you know, in ways you just can’t control or plan for it. So it’s just important to think about it in that way. It’s just literally the ability to recover changes that have a low predictability and a high risk associated with them.

Susan: And we’re definitely in that now, so.

Robin Kelson: Yeah, alright.

Susan: Alright, well, let’s dive in.

Robin Kelson: Okay.

Susan: Because I think the way you approach this from my understanding is from looking at it through nature, through all the other species that are incredibly resilient, and including us.

CrisMarie: Including us.

Susan: But we’re like the youngest one on the chain, so let’s say – I would really love to hear you kind of dive into that.

Robin Kelson: Sure. So the work that I’m going to talk about is work done by many, many people from lots of different disciplines, all different scientific disciplines. So just FYI, I did not do this work myself. I am simply synthesizing it and sharing it in a way that makes sense to me, but…

Susan: Let’s just say though, you’re a very smart person putting it together, because I tell you, I have read the individual pieces of this and you do bring it together well. This could be a sign of resilience, and a special kind of intelligence. So we’ll just go with that, you know, carry on.

Robin Kelson: So the key pieces here are they look at species that are still on the planet today. And again, we tend to think of humans as the youngest species. And so, they look at other species that have been around for literally tens of millions, if not, hundreds of millions and billions of years. And by definition if you’re still on the planet today you’re resilient. Because you’ve been able to survive and thrive through lots of disruptive changes to the planet, be it ice ages or the meteor hitting the planet, or tectonic shifts or all sorts of things.

So they look at all these species that are still on the planet today and were able to pull out six, what I call behavioral choices. Because I’m trying to apply it to the human species, that as a combination together, characterize patterns of behavior that are consistent with resiliency. So we’ll go through them, but understand that the way that they’re expressed in all these different species is myriad. There’s just an infinite number of ways you could do them, it’s just these are six basic principles it’s good to keep in mind.

Susan: You know, I love, two things that I think are important to say right upfront is because as we were talking with you about doing this interview. You really did bring to mind each step of the way. Like our tendency is to use our brain or prefrontal cortex. And put this together linearly and, you know, okay, you’ve given us this, this makes sense for this, you know. And I remember you suggesting to either listen to this from a not using just that linear brain, because that is a big piece of what you’re going to talk about.

Robin Kelson: Sure, yes, that’s a really good point to know, so.

Susan: Because I think I remember we started questioning you pretty quickly. And you were like, “Okay, that’s our prefrontal cortex.” You know, we’re going to come to this.

Robin Kelson: Right. So the ironic part, so this is a good point to make because the – so we are, let’s call ourselves a young species, one of the youngest on the planet. But the ironic part is that actually we are made up of many, many ancient systems, which we’ll identify as we go through these little six behavior choices.

The youngest part of us is actually our prefrontal cortex, which is the part that does all our thinking and all our planning, and all of our mind chatter, you know. So the part that kind of is the loudest in our heads is actually the youngest part of us. And as we go through this we’ll discover, doesn’t yet practice these six behavior choices.

Susan: It’s still trying to prove itself probably, right.

Robin Kelson: But all of our other systems in our body, including our circulatory system, our vision system, our immune system, our digestive system. All of those systems do practice this and they’re actually based on species that have been thriving on the planet for hundreds of millions of years. So we have a lot of resiliency intelligence in our bodies. We just need to engage our prefrontal cortex and because of that, that wisdom does exist elsewhere in the body.

Susan: Then it’s a part of something more than just itself, its inner workings, yes.

Robin Kelson: That’s right, yeah.

Susan: Okay, that’s great, alright.

Robin Kelson: Okay, so.

CrisMarie: So let’s dive into those six, because with abated breath I’m waiting, you’ve gotten me teed up.

Robin Kelson: So the first thing in nature is that resilient species spend absolutely zero energy trying to plan for that which is unpredictable. It’s just nature doesn’t spend any time or energy on it. What nature does instead, and what resilient species do instead, is they have highly developed observational systems that allow them to be observing and responsive to changes in the environment. So when there’s something unexpected that happens, they can capture quickly and respond quickly.

Lots and lots of examples of that, a really sweet one that I like is, you know, white-tailed deer, you know, they’re a herd animal. And they kind of work together as a group, they have highly, highly sensitive ears and actually means for measuring changes and vibration in their environment. And if they hear something unexpected, whoever hears it first sends up the white-tail, everybody sees it and everybody goes running. That’s high observation and high responsiveness.

CrisMarie: I can just tell with our brains we spend a lot of time worrying about, and trying to plan for bad scenarios. So I can tell that we process very differently than the white-tail do.

Robin Kelson: Yes, we do.

Susan: As well as horses and pretty much any other animal, really.

Robin Kelson: There’s a wonderful book, where the work that I’m talking about is grounded and it’s the first time I read it. It’s called Learning From the Octopus, written by a man named Rafe Sagarin, who’s no longer with us, unfortunately. But he went through these six – he happened to be in D.C. right after 9/11.

And he went through these six principles, just watching how we responded to 9/11. And we tended to respond in a non-resilient way right off the bat at the beginning by actually trying to – as a government, spend our time trying to predict the next unpredictable event. So a lot of our immediate responses were just trying to plan for the next thing that you can’t predict.

CrisMarie: Right. So not very effective in the resiliency sort of way?

Robin Kelson: Yeah.

Susan: I think right now we’re in a place where hopefully, maybe, could have learned from that. And that’s part of why we’re talking to you, so that we don’t just start trying to make this into another situation where we start trying to figure out how to stop it later. But, you know, focusing on the wrong problem.

Robin Kelson: Yeah. So at the human level I will also – I’ll use it as an example, our immune system. We have an immune system whose job is to really be observant and responsive to impacts or threats from our environment. So we have an immune system that’s basically geared up to be able to respond to things like bacterial infections or viral infections, or anything that might happen.

And it’s basically a series of – we have lots of systems. One of them is a series of antibodies whose job is to kind of just patrol our blood stream and hangout waiting for some change in our environment. So let’s say if I cut my finger and I get some bacteria into my bloodstream. I have a system immediately designed to identify that and respond to it by going and grabbing all those bacteria and engulfing them, and chewing them up. So we can’t predict all the things…

Susan: It would be our version of the white-tail.

Robin Kelson: There you go, it’s [inaudible].

Susan: White-tail deer.

Robin Kelson: That’s right, that’s right.

CrisMarie: Yes.

Susan: Okay, so the first one is less plan, more observant.

Robin Kelson: Right. And the second one is to be decentralized. So that basically it’s the concept that we can’t do it all. And specifically my brain can’t figure it all out. So if I go back to my example of I cut my finger, right? Everyone’s done that some time in their life. And we all know that in really a fraction of a second, let alone of a minute, lots of things happen. We get a stimulus to move our hand, because something’s painful. And we know that within a couple, maybe within a minute or two the bleeding stops. And we also have fairly strong confidence that we have antibodies there that are going after any bacteria, they get involved.

All that happens without our brains trying to figure out, what do I do next? And that’s called decentralization. So we have systems that are taking charge of responding to changes in the environment, without requiring agreement or approval or permission from some central location. So nothing gets run up a flagpole, if you will.

The way decentralized systems work is when there is coherent agreement about the outcome, about the goal. Everyone’s in agreement about the goal. So here the goal is that I basically – we’re all trying to keep me alive so I can live and procreate and reproduce, right?

Susan: Right. In the global system of things, or in our country’s system of things, sometimes decentralization will not work if there is not that commitment to a common goal.

CrisMarie: So like the governors, if we’re not aligned with the Federal Government that could create…

Susan: Or even on a global level, if we’re not aligned with each other, at cross purposes, we’re not going to have the decentralized…

CrisMarie: Doesn’t work.

Susan: …countries all by themselves, may not work if we don’t have a common goal?

Robin Kelson: Right. And the flipside…

Susan: Is that bit right?

Robin Kelson: Yes. And the flipside of that is that – and this often happens in response to disruptive change, like a tsunami, or a hurricane, or a pandemic. At the community level, people may be trying to run things up the flagpole at the federal level, or even the state level. At the community level you’re going to have communities that are just taking charge. Like they’re not listening or waiting for permission. They just want to make do and do what’s right in the moment. And that’s because their goal is taking care of their neighbors and themselves and their community, you know.

Susan: Yeah, we do see that, we see that right now happening in different communities, all around the world, it’s kind of, you know…

CrisMarie: It’s powerful.

Susan: Powerful.

Robin Kelson: Yes, I’ve witnessed in my world, you know, I have witnessed three or four groups of people, I mean many more than three or four. But organizations coming together and saying, “What do we do right now to get food in the hands of Montanans in need? How do we get it across the state? Where do we even get it from? What needs to happen?” And it’s just happening without getting permission from anybody, that’s decentralized.

Susan: Yeah, that’s great.

CrisMarie: So that’s number two, decentralized.

Robin Kelson: Yeah. And the third thing is the idea of redundancies. And redundancies is both in multiplicity of copies and in diversity, so variety is key. Like we have two copies of our DNA, we have a redundant copy. And the reason we do is because it allows for mistakes and we can still function. If we only have one copy, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be here.

CrisMarie: I didn’t even know that, that we had only one.

Robin Kelson: Yeah, and plants.

Susan: There you go.

Robin Kelson: Some plants have – plants can have up to six copies. So lots of species have multiple copies for the obvious reason that we need more than one. And I like to talk about centipedes, they have 100 feet, you know, they probably lose about 15 of them and not even notice it. You know, it’s important to have extras, to have copies.

And the second one is variety, that’s really important. So if I go back to our immune system example, we don’t have just one kind of antibody, we have five kinds of antibodies. And we don’t just have antibodies; we have killer cells, and B-cells, and helper cells and all sorts of things in the bloodstream. In addition to that immune system we have a whole other immune system that runs through our lymph system and comes out of our thymus.

So we have a lot of variety in the key systems involved for protecting us from assaults to our body, central to our ability to be the thriving human beings that we are today.

Susan: I love that. I mean in some respects our sensory system is similar. I think about – I don’t know whether this would be an equation. But, you know, we have sight, we have smell, we have touch. Any one of those gets lost, the others pick up. And I think of somebody who, you know…

CrisMarie: Is blind or…

Susan: …is blind, but has this incredible hearing that, you know, that even that is a sort of a redundancy in the sensory system.

Robin Kelson: Yeah, that’s another thing, yeah.

CrisMarie: Okay, so I’m just going to reiterate. We’ve got less plan, more observant, number one, decentralized. And three is redundancies, multiple and a variety.

Robin Kelson: Really important.

Susan: Okay.

Robin Kelson: The next one is the concept of networks. So a network is a path of interconnected links. Think of a spider’s web, you know, that’s literally a network. And it is the fastest way to communicate change and information. And because of that, it is how information is communicated in our bodies and in nature.

So, you know if I go back to my cut finger, within a fraction of a second. I feel – maybe I’m trying to, you know, open a latch door on a gate or something, I can’t see the catch and I can’t see how I cut myself. But I know immediately that I cut myself and I know that because of a network communication from where the cut happened. And tells my brain, move your hand, this hurts.

You know, and at the same time, so that’s the same system, it may be chemical, it may be neural. But both of them, it’s the same system that tells the antibodies to come to the cut, to tell the platelets to come. To take care of everything that’s involved with this breach to the system.

Susan: We also talk about like in a company, like the fastest way to get information through an organization quickly isn’t necessarily by sending out an email. But if you talk about it, people will start talking about it very quickly throughout the entire.

CrisMarie: It spreads.

Susan: It spreads.

Robin Kelson: Yes, absolutely.

Susan: You know, it’s one of the things we’re missing now, you know, with stay at home.

Robin Kelson: But you just happen to hear somebody, “What are you guys talking about?”

Susan: I think you said the same thing; the best way to get information out in our small town is to go out to the parks and pass it through moms.

CrisMarie: Through the little kids.

Susan: And through the kids and through the systems, because it’ll get there quickly.

Robin Kelson: Yeah. And I think the internet is an extraordinary example of it.

CrisMarie: And I do think, you know, the internet started with universities wanting to share information and then it’s just grown so much. And it’s very powerful for sure.

Robin Kelson: Very, very powerful. And so networks, and is – so that’s just really important to think about, whether it’s virtual or physical, whatever it is, the network. It is the fastest way to communicate change and information, period.

And so the next one is symbiosis and this is, you know, among six things that are really important, this is like a little more important, as equally important, I like to say. And it’s the concept that there is not a species on the planet today on its own. So symbiosis is required, it is ubiquitous. And it is the only way to achieve quantum change. The most one person or one being can expand change is at an additive level. If you want to become to multiply that or make it exponential, or literally quantum, you must participate, collaborate, cooperate with others, period.

Susan: I have to tell you, it’s kind of funny; this is the first time that I’ve really noticed wobble in our connection to you. And I was thinking well that, you know, there you go. You know, there is something we’ve got to reconnect to each other to make sure we can follow this thread. Because I think this is probably one of the most critical things for us as a human being species to get.

CrisMarie: When we were pre talking, Robin, you talked about something that I wasn’t aware of is in our bodies we have so many different microbes. And I might even be using the wrong word, in our system that we need to survive. Can you say a little bit about that?

Robin Kelson: Oh, yeah, sure. So we have this concept that, you know, that we are individual. We are unique, each one of us. And as a species we’re sort of separate and distinct from the rest of nature. But the truth is that we exist in cooperation and collaboration with a whole host of other microbes that are in our bodies and on our body.

So our digestive system runs by an entire world of bacteria, viruses and fungi that digest the food that we eat. We have developed that in collaboration, all these other microbial organisms for literally hundreds of millions of years. But the digestive system that we have is in many ways very similar to the digestive system in earthworms. You know, I know that’s really hard to understand for many people, but it’s the same thing. Maybe ours is clearly bigger, but that’s pretty much it, they digest their food with a series of microbes smaller than them. And we have developed a similar system.

Susan: So I think the real key here that we have to get is we are not as unique and individualized and special as we think.

CrisMarie: We need the Earth.

Susan: We have to be connected, collaborative and work with all the other amazing systems and beings and microbes that are out there. And our belief that we are the ones who are in control of everything is really an illusion.

Robin Kelson: We have already historically, whether we know it or not, been in collaboration and cooperation with a whole host of species for as long as we’ve been on the planet. And to think otherwise is just wrong, yeah.

We can take that knowledge and use that to support ourselves, to support this expansion of our prefrontal cortex thinking. We have lots of data to show that it works. It’s the very reason we exist as humans. We have done it successfully, it does work for us. Let’s expand it in our relationship with other humans and the rest of the planet at a conscious level.

CrisMarie: I think it’s really important because it’s so easy for us to get this black and white thinking. And thinking we’re in charge and we can just dominate over and we don’t need anybody else, I mean at so many different places. And I really hear that we are inextricably tied to other species, other systems. And to take that even with what we’re dealing with right now, we cannot solve this alone. We need to collaborate and work with even the viruses, much less, each other in this whole process.

Robin Kelson: Yeah, absolutely.

CrisMarie: Yeah, okay. I’m just going to go through them again, so we get our listeners onboard. Less planned, more observant is number one. Decentralized is number two with a common goal. Redundancies, multiple and varied. Three is networks, which is the path to share information. Five is symbiosis, ubiquitous, required and it’s the way we can make quantum change. And bring us on home to the last piece.

Robin Kelson: So the last one is that nature is recursive, which means that nature builds on what works. So it’s just like if something doesn’t work it just says, “Okay.” And it just leans into what does, it doesn’t spend a whole lot of time focusing on what doesn’t work. It’s like, okay, that didn’t work, where else will I go? So it’s basically a willingness to – because again, you’re finding your way through that which is unpredictable.

There’s no way to know in advance what’s – you can’t plan for what’s going to work. You’re just going to have to be willing to be open, adaptive, expect that failure will happen. But you’re just going to turn the ship another way in response to what does work. And so what nature literally does is just keep leaning into the yes.

And if you graph out that lean graphically on paper, it actually forms what we call the Fibonacci sequence or the spiral that we see everywhere in nature. You know, the spiral that you see in the ram’s horn or the nautilus shell, or the galaxies, or the thunderhead, you know, cyclone, hurricane cloud. It’s all the same. That is the geometrical expression of leaning into the yes.

CrisMarie: So for us that would mean, you know, focusing on what does work, not spending a lot of time digesting what doesn’t work, would that be the, you know, the…

Robin Kelson: Yeah. And it’s a willingness to learn along the way.

Susan: Yeah, I think that’s a key too. Well, we assume something horrible happened, it can’t happen again. And I think what nature would say, “Something horrible may have happened, but this is where we are now, so let’s just go forward and lean into it.”

Robin Kelson: Yeah. And for our prefrontal cortex, which is the executive function brain, it’s just the way it works. It tends to be linear. It tends to try to plan, figure things out, that tends to be rather binary or black and white. And the invitation is to expand that thinking to be willing to accept and understand that a willingness to be, in the not knowing. And to just respond to what, you know, working in the moment and be open to shifting plans to something that might show up a little bit later as better. It helps with resiliency of the species.

CrisMarie: I can see how we really struggle with responding that way. And I don’t know if there’s more about how this gentleman studied 9/11. But just how much we want to figure it out, well, we’ve got to study it and plan it. And it would create a lot of stiffness in the system.

Robin Kelson: You know, it comes from a good place, it’s just how that part of our brain works.

Susan: Well, I was thinking that, I mean for me, I play around with these words all the time about reactive and responsive, which is a bit of a binary system. Really, resiliency is what exists when you actually are living in both of those.

It’s a dynamic system, which if we could use our linear brain, which does actually help us, with a part of ourselves that could actually not get into the right wrong of that. But just keep responding to it, which is probably, you know, would require us to use our brain, our heart, our body, you know, all the systems together and we tend to get stuck. That to me would be resilience versus react, even tend to respond.

CrisMarie: Well, we get stuck in like, whose fault is it? We want to find blame, which is a waste of time it sounds like in the resiliency system.

Robin Kelson: I’m pretty sure, haven’t asked, but I’m pretty sure that nature just doesn’t spend any time worrying about this or trying to protect against it. And they don’t actually see it as something to avoid. So the most resilient species are the ones that actually just lean into disruption. Because more certain than death or taxes is that change is going to happen. And specifically, disruptive change is going to happen, period, that is the nature of life.

And so the more we can embrace that and just like go with the flow, if you will, or do the work that allows us to be present with it and responsive to it, rather than a reaction to it. The more available we are to be responsive, rather than reactive. For some reasons that I don’t quite – you probably know better than me, I think that maybe the link between the desire to plan and fear, I don’t know.

CrisMarie: Well, definitely, I think what even Susan was saying, the fixed mindset. Our response to uncertainty is to try to get control over something. And it activates that narrow focus, black and white thinking, versus the growth side of what we call. It’s kind of the react, respond, growth side, is like to sink in and actually feel. Not try to just use our mind, and to do that, you know, that’s activating the vagus nerve, to turn on what we are feeling out of that fight, flight and freeze response, to come down that curve.

And then we have access to a whole bunch of knowing and wisdom, which I think is what you’re talking about. Not just the prefrontal cortex, but activating our connection to this ancient wisdom that we have actually in our bodies. But we tend to discount and think isn’t very, you know, that’s not very important.

Robin Kelson: Yeah. And that ancient wisdom and that resiliency is not only within all of these systems that are in us. But also the other species that are in us, surely, I mean they are experts at resiliency.

CrisMarie: I want to remind our listeners of the six because I always like, “What are they? What are they?” So one is less planned, more observant, two is decentralized with a common goal. Three is redundancies, multiple and varied. Four is networks, the fastest path to get information through. Five is symbiosis, ubiquitous, required and it creates quantum leaps. And six is recursive; build on what works, so that’s what creates that spiral and the Fibonacci sequence.

Robin Kelson: Yeah, I think that the spiral is called the golden spiral, I’m not sure about that though.

CrisMarie: Yeah, the golden mean, something like that.

Susan: This has been fabulous. And as I said when we started, there is a lot here. And yet I think you’ve actually laid it out in a way that we can begin to digest this notion of resiliency. Because we sure need to begin to practice it right now with all that’s going on. And in a way, you know, it might be good to remember that, yeah, we just have to kind of keep leaning in.

CrisMarie: Keep saying yes, and not getting caught in that fixed prefrontal cortex that is the youngest part of us, that thinks it knows best. And actually is the newest on the block, so to speak, in the evolutionary.

Susan: And we’re not trying to kick it off the block, we just want to put it a little more in the entirety of the magnitude of who we can be on this planet, not just…

Robin Kelson: This is what I call resiliency intelligence. It’s about harnessing the creativity and intense intelligence of our prefrontal cortex. With the knowledge, the resiliency knowledge that the rest of our body has and the rest of nature has. So that it can shine and, you know, take us to wherever we’re going next. It’s like we’re in our adolescence or maybe we’re younger than that, I don’t really know. But we have an opportunity to expand. And so developing our resiliency intelligence would support our prefrontal cortex in, you know, expanding and living its potential.

CrisMarie: Developing.

Susan: Yeah. Sometimes I think we’re kind of like an infant throwing a tantrum. And other times I give us the benefit of being maybe a teenager, that’s really gotten a little too full of themselves. But definitely we haven’t acquired wisdom of the…

CrisMarie: Wisdom of the Earth, yeah, for sure. Now, Robin, if somebody is interested in your work, wants you to come speak or just contact you to even help them with community seed saving, how could they reach you and learn more about you?

Robin Kelson: Well, that’s a great question. My email address is

Susan: And thank you, Robin, this has been great, thank you for joining us and sharing this. And we may bring you back on for a follow-up. So we could get, you know, because there is a lot of information here.

CrisMarie: It’s dense but it’s so applicable and we love that you were able to make it as, you know, tangible, so that we could hold on to it. We just think you’re brilliant.

Robin Kelson: Thank you. And tell people to apply these principles in their personal lives or in their business, someplace where they, you know, feel like they have control. And from there, you know then start thinking about how they might apply it in their communities. Because there’s so many opportunities to bring this forward at all those levels. And they are literally all freckles of one another. So you can apply this at any level you want. And I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to you guys. I’d love to continue the conversation when it works for you.

CrisMarie: I hope you found that as fascinating as we did. I know it’s a lot of dense material. And so what we wanted to do is give you a lens of like looking at your business and applying these different elements. And what we thought we’d do is give our examples of how we are applying it to our business.

Because when this first started back in March, well, we knew it was really serious at that point. We were observing, all of a sudden people were highly stressed out. And so we thought, we had all these plans about what we were going to do and we thought, no, we’ve got to pivot and help people deal with this stress, because this is what we do best. So we immediately went into action there.

Susan: And we realized, in terms of the decentralized, well, the key thing about that is to have a real clear purpose. And we aligned our purpose around being of service. And then we got opportunities that presented itself, sometimes we weren’t even doing the same thing, like CrisMarie might be called to be on a podcast. Or I might be called to do something, a particular coaching thing. We knew we were aligned around our primary thing, to be of service, so we could keep looking at it through that lens, and that supported us in the decentralized piece.

CrisMarie: And redundancies, multiple and varied, this would probably be looking at the different clients that we had and also the different services. And we did actually add different services. We started to offer working with couples. We started stress coaching. And we were reaching out to other people as a way of bringing in more clients.

Susan: And in terms of networks, really we started our new morning show on Facebook Live. We were also working on LinkedIn. We also reached out to other people we knew in the consulting world to see if that was going to be a fit. We’ve turned to – did some Lencioni stuff. We looked at different networks that we had been a part of in the past to support us and to support them in this time, the interconnectedness.

CrisMarie: And the symbiosis, you know, working together, we supported the Connecticut Chamber right here from Whitefish, Montana. Because they were all of a sudden like, “Oh my gosh, we’ve got to get people this information about stress.” And we’ve also got to pivot to online programmings, because we’re event based, and so we did that. We also did a Reading Influences, another organization that we collaborated with, with our message getting to their audiences.

Susan: You know we also worked with larger companies that we were consulting with, to help them get online and have meetings that were more efficient, because they weren’t doing that in the same way.

CrisMarie: The last one, recursive is not focusing on what’s not working, but saying, “Yes,” and keep saying, “Yes.” And this one we kept trying to work with couples and people weren’t quite ready for that. And so we pivoted and we started working with women leaders and organizations and stress coaching, and that seemed to really work.

Susan: And I realized, you know, I couldn’t really bring people to the horses, so we were bringing things from the herd out to the world around us. So finding different ways to lean in and not get too caught up in what wasn’t working.

CrisMarie: Now we’re at a different whole evolution of this. We’re going to be going through this again because now we’re at the coming out stress, and what that’s going to be like. It’s going to be short term focus, less planned, more observant because we’re in this changing world. So hopefully our example helps you think of your example, your organization, or your business through this lens. And hopefully you enjoyed the information. We thought it was quite fascinating.

If you want to learn more about what we discussed today or how to deal with conflict more effectively, Susan and myself, CrisMarie are both available for individual one-on-one coaching. We also offer couples coaching, which now as we live and work 24/7 together, may be more important than ever.

Susan: We continue to do our team facilitation, both live and now virtually. Let’s get real, until you’ve had a tough conversation over Zoom, you may not be building the trust you need on your team. For the next couple of months we are offering free virtual trainings to organizations. Our goal is to support you, your team and your business, both at work and at home during this pandemic.

CrisMarie: Right now you can find short videos on CrisMarie’s LinkedIn and Facebook with tips tools and inspiration. To contact us email, that’s

Susan: Okay, stay safe, stay healthy and remember, together we’re better and stronger.

CrisMarie: Take care.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

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