Life always has obstacles.
Whether it’s struggling with Family or battle buddy issues, every Soldier must overcome challenges. Out of the five dimensions of resilience (Physical, Emotional, Social, Spiritual, and Family), the biggest hurdle is emotional according to Sgt. 1st Class Jasmine Flowers, Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) - West Alpha Regional Program Manager at Fort Carson, Colorado.
“A lot of Soldiers struggle with the idea of mission first, accomplish the mission, and still maintain some type of emotional capacity in their personal and professional life,” said Flowers. “Not really understanding how the emotional dimension ties into resilience is one of the biggest struggles for Soldiers because we're taught to shoot, move, communicate, execute.”
When a Soldier is able to understand the complexity of their emotions and utilize them to face difficulties instead of hindering them, the path to resilience is more obtainable.
So, what can be done to build resilience? Flowers advise Soldiers to, “focus on what they can change and not what they can’t.” Flowers says, “It's kind of like optimism, but being realistic about it as well, and knowing that if you’re putting your best foot forward in the areas you want to improve, you will receive some type of success. It may be a little bit but it's better than what it was.”
As a resilience success story herself, Flowers was at the pinnacle of her dream job with the 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade but an unexpected need for back surgery changed that. Instead of allowing this obstacle to discourage her from achieving her goals, she used her recovery time to pursue opportunities. She discovered her purpose as the MRT- West Alpha Regional PM which positioned her to reach MRT Level Three, one of the highest MRT certification levels, which now enables her to pursue becoming an Assistant Primary Instructor with the Army Resilient Directorate. “Even though you may feel like...what I had originally planned on doing didn't work out, look at all the great doors that were opened,” said Flowers.
Life challenges are inevitable. Face any setbacks head on, be open to pivot, and use your experience to create a better path for yourself - you’ll never know the opportunities that arise - and continue to search for your purpose.
Flower’s Top Three Strategies to Overcome Obstacles
Prioritize: “Focus on the good rather than the bad." When you prioritize the positive aspects of your life, the negative things seem less significant.
Communicate: “Establish boundaries for when you’re in the right mindset to have a discussion." When emotions are disorganized, it’s better to openly verbalize a good time to talk with people when confronting any concerns or issues.
Patience: “It’s a journey not a sprint." Feelings of anxiety or anger due to trials of life may be diminished when your timeline is more flexible. Things take time.