If COVID-19 threw your life a curve ball in 2020, you’re not alone. But even before the pandemic, most people had to face challenges.
Changes in life conditions, such as marriage, children, relocation and exciting career opportunities can create a kind of happy havoc in our lives. Employment disruptions, divorce and chronic illnesses can present upheaval and stress.
Building resilience in the face of life’s challenges and changes is key, according to Santiago Jaramillo, CEO of Emplify in Fishers, an Indiana-based software company and industry leader in data-driven employee analytics.
From humble origins, Jaramillo immigrated to Florida with his family after escaping a kidnapping at his church by the militia in Cali, Columbia. He learned the importance of adaptability and grit, which have been grounding principles for him throughout his life and business career.
A serial entrepreneur, Jaramillo has developed and grown multiple small and midsize companies. Santiago created the mobile app platform, Bluebridge in his college dorm room at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Under Santiago’s leadership, the company grew to more than 45 employees in four years and nearly 500 customers across the world. Jaramillo is co-author of Agile Engagement, a bestseller providing a framework for measuring employee engagement.
Shortly after the pandemic upended life, he shared his perspective and insight via LinkedIn:
“Western culture has conditioned us to be obsessed with feeling good. A lot of us would rather feel nothing than any emotion that isn’t happiness. So, when we see emotional ‘storm clouds’ gathering, sometimes we try to numb them with distractions: sleep, alcohol, Netflix, food, the internet. None of these coping mechanisms generate resilience.
“My favorite definition of resilience is “emotional elasticity,” or the ability to move through difficulty and change with grace and adaptability, catalyzing challenges into growth and learning. Resilience is served by letting the [emotion] storm pass over us instead of fighting the losing battle of trying to repress or outrun it. It’s letting ourselves feel the sadness or anger or fear, processing it, and learning something about ourselves from it.
“The more we practice emotional elasticity, the more resilient we become. The more resilient we are, the better we can thrive in seasons of difficulty and uncertainty. May we have the courage to feel more of our emotions and may this season of difficulty catalyze unprecedented growth in us.”