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Note from Diamante Scholars:  We are incredibly grateful for the work Deli has undertaken with us – it’s truly an adventure and we are learning a lot!  To learn more about Deli Moussavi, or her practice at Heart Venture please visit her website http://www.heart-venture.com

Now more than ever resilience and inner strength are critical skills and capabilities students need. To navigate this COVID-19 landscape. To find and follow their path through college. And as important, to create a career path and a life that challenges and fulfills them while bringing to life their gifts, voice, and heart’s desires.

This is why Diamante Scholars has made teaching resiliency a core element of the program’s supplemental curriculum. Resilience is a critical life skill, it’s what helps you see failure as instruction, as data, as the source of where success will come from.

I’ve spent 20 years working with school districts, school leaders, educators and with students helping develop resiliency and building their inner strength. These are the durable, lifelong skills that not just help a student get the most from college, but are the skills that also shape their careers and form the basis for fulfillment and satisfaction.

Quite literally, resiliency is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change. Resiliency also sets the founding for creating one’s own life, reactions and opportunities. 

Let’s focus on change first. Change happens when you planned on something, and it just doesn’t turn out the way you expected. Resiliency is about what you do then. We’re helping our scholars understand that it’s when something you counted on doesn’t work out is precisely the moment to let your ego go, and take a close look at the “why.” You also leave room for the possibility that something better may take its place and to keep your mind and heart open to the possibility. 

To help these talented students develop their skills at seeing this unexpected turn of events as simply data – data that can help them respond effectively. Some of these students have remarked that their favorite classes have not necessarily been the classes they got the best grades in, but were the classes that challenged them. That they worked hard at. Some of them even acknowledged that they didn’t do as well in these classes as some easier ones. But they loved the subject so much it was worth it.

We reviewed emotional resilience and social-emotional skills. I asked the scholars where they were struggling most – at this very trying time – and assured them struggling uncertainty and change is a lifelong journey. 

  • Mental strength — why it’s essential to train your mind to focus on what’s important. That the average person’s mind is awash in more than 90,000 thoughts a day, and how helpful it is to train your mind to listen to the thoughts that really matter to what you’re working on.
  • Emotional resilience — why it’s important to know when you are operating with a survival mentality and when you’re operating with broader decision making skills. As important, we discuss how to de-escalate yourself from this survival “brain hijack” to create your own calm and psychological safety. 
  • Your Beliefs About Yourself — why setting boundaries with oneself is so grounding and important. Our beliefs about ourselves – accurate or not – drive our thoughts, emotions, behavior and results. We discussed what beliefs they had about themselves, and whether these beliefs are working for or against their goals. 

In the hour spent with the scholars, I was so excited to hear from them, to see and hear them taking risks to share their thoughts and feelings. I’m so excited to begin this journey with them, to help them develop resiliency, placing this in the context of creating a stronger inner self, and sense of self. When we contribute from a strong sense of our inner selves, that’s when we begin to fully live our lives and contribute to our communities and to the world in the most meaningful way. That is also when we derive the most joy from our work and our lives. 

Over the coming summer Diamante Scholars session, I’ll be returning twice more.

Next we will discuss how failure is simply progress towards a goal and that perfection can be your worst enemy when you are learning and growing. And related to that, the freedom you feel when you let your ego go, let your defenses down, and simply look at what you are learning whether in success or failure.

Our third session will focus on how to navigate conflict and how to achieve resolution in circumstances where conflict occurs. This can be as simple as a disagreement with a lab partner about how to approach an assignment, to a disagreement with a superior when in a job situation. We’ll be spending our time helping the scholars develop strong skills to constructively deal with conflict.