The 9 Pillars of Resilience | Dr. Stephen Sideroff

May 16, 2024

Discover expert insights on resilience with Dr. Stephen Sideroff, renowned psychiatrist and author of ‘The 9 Pillars of Resilience.’ Learn practical strategies to navigate stress and optimize well-being. Tune in for valuable wisdom on building resilience in every aspect of life.

Natalie 0:00
I already warned, Derek as we were going over the material before we hopped on, I was like, I might cry today, I can just kind of already tell by this season of life that I’m in right now. And the topics that we’re going to discuss. It’s something that’s probably going to get me in my feels. But we love that here. We want to we want things to feel real on our podcast. But before we dive in to this material that we’re both super stoked to go over, I want to hear just a little bit about your background. And there’s things that I didn’t cover in that introduction, like your background in education. And I would love for you to share just a little bit about how you got into this field, why this work is important to you, but also share with our listeners, the learning and knowledge that you have that gives you the authority to speak on this topic.

Stephen Sideroff 1:37
Of course, thank you. You know, I started my career doing brain research. So I was doing research on learning and memory in the brain. And working with animals, you know, to look at actual electroencephalographic connections between different areas of the brain. And what was unsatisfying about that is that I wanted to be able to ask my subjects what they’re feeling. And I couldn’t do that with the animals that I was working with. And so I shifted into clinical. And this was back in 1980. After my first postdoctoral fellowship in psycho biology at UC Irvine, and then another postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, where I looked at conditioned aspects of addiction. And so I-one track of my career, has been looking at addiction and ways of, of really helping people overcome their addiction and stay sober. And I realized whether I was talking about people with addictions, or the average typical person, one of the commonalities is how we deal with stress. You can be going along well in your life, but as soon as the stresses pile up, your ability to cope begins to fall apart. In fact, your health begins to fall apart. And so I wanted to help people, I wanted to first learn the best way of approaching dealing with stress. And then I wanted to help people with that, because I knew that that was, if I could help people with that, I could make their lives easier in so many different ways. And I was doing it for corporations and individuals. And then the next kind of obstacle in my work, in my research, because I published a number of studies in this in this area, was that people have resistance to dealing with the stress. And that became an important aspect of my work that I wanted to understand, so that I can help people get past, past that resistance. And that’s where I can really dive into our relationship with stress our survival mechanism, and why we have such difficulties in dealing with stress. And so my work was really about helping people overcome that resistance. And really recognizing that there are some structural factors built into us that actually make it difficult for us to deal with stress. We have a mismatch with our stress response. We still have the same fight or flight mechanism that our hunter gatherers had 1000s and 1000s of years ago, even though it doesn’t really fit for the stresses that we encounter. So we mobilize our energy for fight or flight. Every time, we feel challenged in our day, every time we worry about something, every time we anticipate a threat or a danger. And so we’re continually activating that stress fight or flight response. But then we have to hold it in. Because we’re not going to fight our boss, we’re not going to run away from our spouse, et cetera. And so we not only waste and use up our survival energy, but then we doubly create a problem, because then we have to create tension and constriction. So there are many factors and reasons why we have difficulty dealing with stress. Stress, to some degree serves us, it helps us be more focused, able to set goals, able to concentrate. So it leads to our successes. Well, if we recognize and think about all of your successes in your life, and I guarantee that almost all of them have been associated with stress. So we’ve conditioned ourselves to pair these things together. Success with stress, again, making it more difficult to manage. And so my approach and my work as anticipated people’s resistance, and as learn-as come up with ways of anticipating and overcoming people’s resistance, so they can lead a more balanced life.

Natalie 6:58

Derek 6:59
That’s wonderful. You know, I absolutely love the fact that the approaches you took with us because like, you see so many self health books that are like, you know, they talk about stress, that the people may or may not really have a great place to work from, but you are working right from the biological systems that, that really, and you have a very concrete and firm understanding of these things. So I just want to emphasize to our audience that’s listening, like how amazing this really is, and so I’m, I’m already starting to geek out about this. I know that you’re…

Natalie 7:29
Oh yeah. I don’t know that i’m geeking out. I’m like, already feeling deep in my feels about it. Just like taking deep breaths and feeling almost, like ministered to, like, man, the timing for this is just so, so incredible for me, and, you know, as you’re talking about the way that stress, you know, gets us into this alarm response, you know, I’m aware that mine, you know, it’s fight-flight, but mine is actually freeze, when I start to get into stress. And I you know, I’m a single mom with two young children. And, and I realized that my life is pretty constantly stressful, I just am so used to it that I don’t, I’m not aware of feeling stressed, I’m probably just living in it in a state of at least a low level of chronic stress, maybe it’s higher, I don’t know. But when things kind of pile on, like they have in the last month to six weeks, there’s just been a lot of extra stuff piled on. And that’s when I it doesn’t take very much, but there’s been a lot and then I feel myself start to just freeze up like, Oh, my God, I don’t know what to do here. Like I can’t like see my way forward. So it’s very timely for me. And I’m hoping it’s very timely for our listeners that are, that are tuning in. And I kind of want to just dive right in. And we already discussed pre record that we can’t go over all nine of the pillars of resilience in depth. But we are going to have Dr. Sideroff, list the nine for us and give a brief description of them. And then he graciously is going to take some time diving into what are what are some of the pillars of these nine. So can we go ahead and start there because I am just chomping at the bit to dive into this material.

Stephen Sideroff 9:13
Yes, I’m happy to do so. And I want you to realize that I’ve looked at all the things that impact our optimal functioning. And I’ve identified these nine pillars, as being a comprehensive model of addressing how we engage in the world in our optimal functioning. So, the first three have to do with relationship. Relationship with ourselves, relationship with others, and relationship with something greater, which can be spirituality, it could be meaning and purpose in our lives, and it be can be giving service and connecting us with the larger community. The next three have to do with organismic balance and mastery. So, pillar number four is physical balance and mastery, how we recover, how quickly we recover after we engage in a stressful behavior. Because there are two branches to the nervous system, one that activates, that’s the stress response, and the other that helps us recover all the resources used up during that stress response and they need to be in a place of balance. The next one is mental balance and mastery. And this is our mindset. Do we wake up in the morning and think of what can go wrong? Or do we wake up in the morning and look for what can go right? So when we look for what can go wrong, we don’t-when as soon as we start anticipating danger, our body mobilizes, and we’re wasting all of our precious personal energy because we don’t have unlimited amounts. The sixth pillar is emotional balance and mastery. Do we appropriately digest our feelings, work them through so that we can let them go? Or do we carry as excess baggage emotions that we don’t allow ourselves to fully let go of? The last three have to do with how we engage in the world. So number seven is presence. So I say that we have two directions to presence. One is, Am I aware of my environment, am I noticing? Or am I just up in my head and just going from one thing to the other without paying attention? But there’s also what we-a presence that we project out into the world? What’s the energy that we project? Because that determines to a great extent how people receive us. The next is flexibility. Am I able to make adjustments because life-we don’t have control over everything in our environment? What happens if something comes up that’s unexpected? Can I make adjustments? So if I’m setting a goal, and then there’s an obstacle, can I make-am I flexible to maybe change the goal a little bit to have greater success? Can I be flexible with my perspective? Can I put myself in somebody else’s shoes and have empathy for somebody else, not only for the empathy, but so I can better relate to that person because I understand them better. That’s part of flexibility. And finally, the ninth pillar, I was proud to define as the ability to get things done. So that’s having courage to overcome fear. That’s being able to focus. That’s being persistent. So the more we get these ties, the more confidence we have in ourselves. The more confidence we have in ourselves, the fewer things in our world, we experience is dangerous. And so that’s another way of becoming less stressed and more resilient. So there I just laid out what I consider to be the full range of factors that go into optimal functioning.

Derek 13:44
That was absolutely amazing to witness personally. Just like how masterfully you understand the topic and laid it out.

Natalie 13:51
Yeah. I’m wondering, because we’re about to dive in here. Yes. And I and I’m realizing that this feels timely and very relatable for me. And I’m wondering if there’s anybody’s listening that’s asking the question like, Well, why is resilience important? Why is this something that I should care about that I should have the tools to cultivate and grow in my life? What would you say to that question?

Stephen Sideroff 14:15
So let’s do an analogy. Let’s think about an a, an automobile, and an automobiles engine. When that engine is finely tuned, it gets the best gas mileage. When it’s finely tuned, it doesn’t sputter. When it’s finely tuned, there’s less wear and tear, when it’s finely tuned. When it encounters a hill, translate to stress, it handles the hill better. So resilience is important because we know that if you have difficulty with stress, it speeds up the aging process. There’s greater wear and tear on your body. And literally, we have research that shows that it speeds up aging. What’s the number one cause of almost any illness? Aging, aging. And so the more resilient, the more you literally can slow down the aging process and reduce the, reduce your vulnerability to all kinds of illness. And when you’re more resilient, you handle stresses better. And when you’re more resilient, you’re able to stay focused and mentally clear, better. So resilience affects every area of our lives.

Natalie 15:51
Yeah. I’m just thinking of even typically, when I get sick, which is not very often, it’s usually right on the tail end of a really stressful couple of weeks. 

Derek 16:02

Natalie 16:02
Something has super stressed me out. And now I’m like, whatever the kids got that I normally wouldn’t have gotten, I got.

Derek 16:09
It knocked you out.

Natalie 16:10

Stephen Sideroff 16:10
And that’s a good awareness of that relationship.

Natalie 16:15

Derek 16:16
The thought that came to my mind. And I’m kind of, again, chomping at the bit as well, like diving right into kind of like the first three principles that you were lining out about specifically relationship with others, the first thing that came to my mind, was the the super long study that Harvard is doing on I think it was happiness, or I believe it is happiness, where they follow these these guys from, for like, I don’t know, like over 50 years, and really track the data of like, how, you know, measuring different markers of happiness. And they, I remember, there’s a TED talk about this, and we’ll probably link it somewhere. But where he said, like, one of the most important factors for long term happiness is the relationships that we have with other people. Like having that interconnectedness is so so important it for so many reasons. Because we’re social creatures, like we’re built, to be connected to each other. And if you’re isolated, you’re not going to last for very long.

Natalie 17:18
Well, and it’s interesting, the flip side of that, before we dive into further is because I’ve always been an incredibly social creature. Yeah, I’ve, you know, always, always going, always doing my pace of life is very fast, and especially after my divorce seven years ago, even more, so. You know, when I finally didn’t have my children, I was never at home. I was, you know, but the flip side of that is that I became really rundown and worn out and couldn’t quite figure out why. And it’s because I had no relationship with myself. And so I had to learn to be-to love myself. And I remember I had a friend tell me once, yeah, it’s really hard to be home alone by yourself when you don’t really like yourself. And I was like, Oh man, that’s so real. And it was very uncomfortable, because slowing down, and not being so focused on my social connections, made me have to face the pain that I was in. 

Derek 18:13

Natalie 18:13
And I didn’t want to do that. And so now, I’m still a very social creature, I still very, very much enjoy talking with people and my friends, and even my work is very social. But now I am way more aware of how important it is for me to cultivate my relationship with myself. And that if I’m feeling disconnected from myself, I’m actually now struggling to feel connected to other people and creating that time. So I, I’m loving that the first two things, you brought up our relationship with self, and relationship with others.

Derek 18:48
And there’s a third. What was the third again?

Natalie 18:49
Yeah. Relationship with…

Stephen Sideroff 18:51
Something greater.

Natalie 18:53
Something greater, I feel that too.

Stephen Sideroff 18:55
So concent-think of concentrics, think about concentric circles, right? But what both of you are bringing up is very important, because on the one hand, our relationships are very important. And we have to be careful because a relationship with another person can be very nurturing and supportive, and that creates emotional nourishment. But sometimes we can be in relationships that are actually stressful, where the other person may be critical of us, judgmental of us, competitive with us. And so we can’t say a blanket statement about relationships. We have to recognize that there are healthy relationships, and then there are toxic relationships. A relationship with a person that’s not respectful of your boundaries and can be intrusive. That’s a harmful relationship. And that comes back to pillar number one, because part of your relationship with yourself and part, pillar number two with others, is being able to set healthy boundaries with others. To be able to say no, when you need to say no to take care of yourself. And so those two pillars are tied together. And I related to earlier in the program, I mentioned the mismatch between with our stress response, there’s another mismatch. And that’s between the environment which we learn how to use the stress response. How to live in this world, which is our childhood environment, and then our adult environment. And so we adapt to the lessons of our childhood environment. Those are not necessarily the best lessons, but then we carry those into adulthood. So for some of us, we feel responsible for other people’s feelings and get very nervous if we think that someone else is going to be upset with us, as an example. And so it’s very important that we recognize the rules that we govern our lives with. Because most of the rules, most of the lessons we learned in childhood, are not the best, most appropriate in being an adult. And so we have to check into those lessons. And that’s part of our relationship with our self.

Natalie 18:55
Yeah, because if you’re not in tune with yourself, if you’re not self aware of what’s going on, then you’re likely to be stuck in a pattern, you know, and you may find yourself like continually, like, in a romantic relationship that keeps ending the same way, right, because you’re just repeating, repeating these patterns, repeating these patterns, etc.

Stephen Sideroff 22:12
That’s exactly right, because we are being governed by those early lessons and a big part of those lessons, are being self critical, self judgemental, overly hard on ourselves. In fact, those lessons get incorporated into our default mode network in our brains, the network that really runs our life. And the voice we hear 24/7, our internal voice is sort of the spokesperson for that pattern. And so we hear that, some people say to me, you know, it’s 50 years since my childhood, why do I have to go back there and figure out what what took place then? And it’s because those lessons set up our own internal voice or internal parent. And we, as a result, we look in the world for what agrees with those messages, and we dismiss what doesn’t agree, thus perpetuating those lessons. A lot of people I work with, have difficulty taking in compliments, have difficulty owning their successes. And so they maintain some of the negative messages of their childhood, because when they make a mistake, they go, Yeah, I knew that. And when they do something, well, they’ll go, Well, that was luck, or coincidence. So we have to be careful about how we maintain the old patterns by selectively noticing what’s going on in our lives today.

Natalie 24:03
Yeah. That’s a lot to unpack here.

Derek 24:07
There’s a lot to take in. Yeah, you know, I just think about everything that you just talked about, and how it specifically relates to resilience. Right? I think about relationships, you know, like, I think it’s so important that you start with yourself and I love this idea of the concentric circles that expand outward. Growing up my, me and my dad read a lot of Stephen Covey. And, you know, his model is very much like, you go from dependence, to independence to interdependence. And so it kind of this, this progression of having to depend on other people, when you’re a child, to becoming your own person and really owning that, then getting to the point where you can have these healthy relationships with the people around you to make something even greater. I think that you’re concept also kind of beautifully in cup encompasses kind of this idea. And, and yeah, thinking about resilience. Like, to me, I hear resilience, I think durability. It’s like you’re, if you are going through a hard time, you’re always, as long as if you have the right people around you, it’s so much easier. It’s so much easier. And like, right now I’m thinking about a specific example in my life. You know, where me and my wife, we were going through an incredibly difficult time. And, you know, we reached out to our community, and like, we just felt this enormous sense of support. And it was absolutely incredible. And like, there’s not really any real word-way that words can, like, put it into justice, but like the amount of fortification that we felt, and the mental fortitude that we had, like, it’s absolutely incredible.

Natalie 25:44
Yeah. I’m curious. Dr. Sideroff, as you’ve listed these first three things relationship with self relationship with others and relationship with something larger? Is that in an intentional order? Or is it just like they’re all kind of like, these are all like, equally important? Does that make sense?

Stephen Sideroff 26:07
Yes, I would say that the first pillar I, as I’ve taught and set programs based on my model, more and more, I realized that pillar number one is really foundational. How you treat yourself, if you’re kind to yourself, or if you’re hard on yourself, that sets the stage for all of the others. And so, what I talk with people about is you have your existing internal parent internal voice. It’s important for you to begin noticing how you talk to yourself and recognize how you might be hard on yourself. Critical, negative, judgmental. John Gottman is a psychologist out of the University of Washington, who does a lot of work with couples and relationships. And what he found is that in a relationship when there’s 20 to 1 positive to negative interactions, that’s a healthy relationship. But as that drops to about 5 to 1, he notices that the relationship is in trouble. So when I work with my clients, or when I speak in front of a group, I ask people, I say, I’d like you to pay attention to your Gottman ratio. Is it 20 to 1 or is it 5 to 1, or for some people, it may be 1 to 5. And so I ask people to pay attention to how they, how positively or negatively they talk to themselves. And then I identify the qualities of a healthy internal voice, a healthy internal parent. So a healthy internal parent comes from a place of love, compassion, acceptance, support, self care, and joy. And so that’s the model. So teach people, this is the optimal, I’d like you to pay attention to how you treat yourself. And compare that to how a healthy internal parent would treat you with the goal of saying no to the existing voice whenever it’s negative, or judgmental, and then shifting over in giving this voice a chance to speak. And sometimes I’ll have people actually shuttle between two chairs and have a conversation between those two, so that we hear more from the positive. So that person begins to recognize what that positive voice sounds like. And that creates a healthy relationship with ourselves. 

Natalie 29:12
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Derek 29:52
You, Natalie, sorry, I gotta bring this up. And maybe you’re gonna say this like if we’re psychic right now it’ll be amazing.

Natalie 29:58
Yeah, yeah.

Derek 29:59
It reminds me of The Emperor’s New Groove, Kronk, where you have the angel and the devil, and they’re like going back and forth. Yeah. Just tell the the devil to shut up, you know?

Natalie 30:12
No, I was actually going to talk about Richard Schwartz Internal Family Systems.

Derek 30:16
Okay, well, I was going a different direction this time.

Natalie 30:19
It was. Usually you’re the one that’s gonna get really nerdy. And I’m the one that does a movie quote. So we’re just had a weird…

Derek 30:25
Weird reversal there. Yeah.

Natalie 30:27
Yeah, no, what you’re describing is making me think of the Internal Family Systems, which I’m assuming you’re, you know, very familiar with, which was something that was introduced to me by my therapist, two or three years ago that I’ll be honest, at first was, felt a little woowoo to me. I was, you know, well, let’s, you know, lay down on the couch, and I want you to really try to visualize this part, you know, but I was going through a really rough time. It was the first time in my life, I felt depressed without having a reason I could attach that to, right? Because usually, it’s like, oh, no, I’m going through a really hard time. So of course, I’m feeling depressed, but I didn’t really have that. And so I was, I was like, you know, I’m gonna try anything at this point. And it was shocking to me how much that awareness of parts of self impacted me and still does. And so when you, when you’re talking about, you know, you know, this, this chair, and this chair, and this part of self talking and this part of self, I think it’s an incredibly powerful tool, to gain the self awareness to be able to listen to these parts. And, and for me, I always kind of describe it as like, you know, I can notice this part now, and not let her take the driver’s seat. But also not come at her with judgement and condemnation. Sometimes when I feel an old part, kind of like rising up and being let in, and I’m like, Whoa, okay, that’s happening. Let me just sit here and let me just see her and notice what’s happening. And maybe you know, what, what precipitated this and, you know, and then and then be able to have time to nurture myself with that higher self, and, you know, I understand why you’re here, and that you’ve been meant to protect or whatever it may be. And then self soothe, and, you know, it’s, it’s okay. And one time early on, in learning the system. Literally, all I did was take a nap. I was so so tired. And I’d been beating myself up for feeling tired. But I was actually going through a health issue I didn’t know about, but I was feeling tired. And I wasn’t productive. And it was making me feel more depressed, because I wasn’t achieving. And my therapist said, I want you to just notice what’s going on next time that happens, and maybe try to have a conversation with that part. And I and I did and I was like, what’s going on? And you know, I just, she’s like, I’m really tired. And I was like, Okay, what do you want to do? She was like, I want to take a nap. And I was like, okay, we can take a nap. And then I gave myself permission to take a nap without beating myself up for it. And it sounds so silly and small Dr. Sideroff when I say it out loud, but I kid you not that was a pivotal-that was a pivotal moment in my self love and self care journey.

Stephen Sideroff 33:14
Well I’m hearing a lot of resilience.

Natalie 33:22
Wow. Okay. I’m trying not to cry, sir.

Derek 33:25
Keep it together, Natalie. You got it.

Natalie 33:29
Okay, so I’m loving that you, that the first pillar is relationship with self, because that makes so much sense to me.

Derek 33:36
It makes a ton of sense.

Natalie 33:37
Even knowing leading into the next one being relationship with others. Because it, you know, knowing how important connection with others is, is to us, biologically and physiologically and mentally and emotionally. It’s just a part of who we are to be in connection with others. But also, knowing what I know or what I’ve learned of, you know, if you’re not in good relationship with yourself, it’s going to be difficult to have good relationship and connection with others. So I love that we’re starting with relationship with self. And so let’s move into relationship with others and why that’s so important.

Stephen Sideroff 34:11
So for example, you’re busy during your day, let’s say you’re out, engaged in some work and you come home, you want your home life, to be a source of emotional nourishment. You want to come home and you want to feel safe. So safety is a key aspect of resilience. The more we can feel safe in our world in our lives, the more resilient we will be because it allows us back to the two branches of our nervous system. It allows us to go into the recovery branch to restore resources used up during stress. If we come home at the end of the day, and we come home to a stressful environment either because of conflict, then we come home. And instead of being able to restore balance, we have another level of stress, that further throws our nervous system out of balance. So, the more that relationships can be a, a place in our day in our lives, of safety, of recovery, of being in a relationship where I can let down my guard, be vulnerable, so that I give myself that ability to restore balance, the more relationship serves resilience. But the more that there’s danger in a relationship, the more it adds to our stressors. And now, it’s important to realize that one aspect of that with relationship is that we choose the right people to be in relationships with who support and nurture this notion of love and comfort. But it’s also about our ability to set a healthy boundary. In other words, to be able to protect ourselves. And know that I go into a relationship knowing that I can say, No, I could set a boundary. When we know that, then we’re less threatened when we go into different environments. And so we don’t get as stressed. If we don’t feel confident in our ability to defend ourselves, to protect ourselves, then we are nervous going into environments, because we don’t feel like if someone does something that can be intrusive to us, we are able to take care of ourselves, another source of stress, and danger and threat. So it’s about who we choose to be in relationship with. And, you know, sometimes people in the audience, when I say this to them, they laugh and would just chuckle under their breath, because they may realize that their partner, their parent, their child, are sources of threat and stress to them. And that’s unfortunate, and we have to find ways in those relationships, to work through whatever conflict is there, so that a relationship can become more supportive, and nurturing than dangerous and a threat.

Natalie 37:53
That makes a lot of sense to me.

Derek 37:54
It does. You know, you talked a lot I was as you’re speaking, I was reflecting on on, you’re talking a lot about like the environment of of the relationship. I was thinking about one of our previous guests, Esther Sternberg, how she was talking about the importance of the space that we live in, and how that affects us. And I know that I think that’s covered more in the third pillar that you’re talking about with flexibility and those types of things. But I do feel like the environments that we create for ourselves also affect the relationships that we have established with our, with our spouse, and I can personally attest that, when I’m good about cleaning up my laundry and making sure it’s in the right spot, and I’m good at cleaning my dishes, my relationship with my wife is a lot better. You know? And so…

Stephen Sideroff 38:44
Let me, let me just comment on that. Because one of the things you’re bringing up with that is, you know, we may not do the right thing at times, or we may make a mistake at times, pot of resilience, whether we’re talking about relationship with ourselves or relationship with others. Part of resilience is how we handle mistakes, how we handle when we go off the rails, okay, because we can get very upset about it, and then magnify the stress, or we can be accepting and loving about the mistake that we made. And take the positive loving assumption that, you know, we’re not doing this on purpose. We’re trying to do the best we can, in which case we want to be supportive of whether it’s ourselves or the other person. So that we encourage getting it right the next time and we encourage letting go of mistakes and regrets rather than carrying them as excess baggage.

Derek 39:57
I think that goes right into kind of what you’re talking about our inner voices, right? Of if you don’t have that, that good parent parental voice, then making a mistake, all of a sudden that becomes a club for you to beat yourself up with.

Natalie 40:12
Right. And resilience isn’t not getting stressed and overwhelmed.

Derek 40:18

Natalie 40:18
…and getting stuck, right? Resilience is the ability to move through that to the other side. Right? And so I think that sometimes, part of that beating up comes when it’s like, Oh, I’m so stressed. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m in fight, flight, or freeze. And then it’s like, Oh, I’m just going to beat myself up for it and feel bad that I feel this way and not want to feel this way. Which is not being resilient at all right? That’s counterproductive.

Stephen Sideroff 40:41
Absolutely, right. So I tell people that I work with, that it’s never okay to put yourself down. No matter what happens. If you make a mistake, you want to be compassionate towards yourself. Because if you make a mistake, you usually have a price to pay for the mistake. Right? Well, if you’re already paying a price for the mistake, why pile on by now, you know, judging and being critical with yourself instead, be compassionate. Love yourself and feel, feel some empathy towards yourself for you know, the consequences of that mistake. That’s the way to ensure that you will do it better than next time.

Natalie 41:39
Yeah. That’s making me think of, are you familiar with David Goggins by chance, he wrote, The Book can’t hurt me. He’s like, an ex US Navy Seal, whatever, etc. It makes me think, I was talking to my friend. Yeah, it’s very intense. It’s like, you know, the way that are you familiar? Oh, yeah. You know, the way he talks to himself, and it was a little hard for me to listen to at first because I was like, Whoa, this is like, this is very, very intense. But I was…

Derek 42:07
“Just trying to carry the boat.”

Natalie 42:08
Yeah, just a couple of weeks ago, going through a hard time. And he’s like, on a scale of Mr. Rogers to David Goggins, what’s your self talk like right now?

Derek 42:17
Oh that’s funny. “I’m so proud of you.”

Natalie 42:22
It was so good. Like, think about you know, because sometimes you don’t need to give yourself a little kick in the patootie to get going. Right? But like, you know, what we’re talking about is definitely about, you know, having a little more grace and acceptance for exactly where you’re at. And moving through that. And I, man, time is going so fast to make sure we touch because there’s like other questions I have. But I want to, I want to touch on that third pillar of relationship with something greater, because I think those are the three that you mentioned, maybe you added flexibility. But I definitely remember the first three, the relationship. Yeah. And so let’s take a moment to talk about relationship with something greater and what that means.

Stephen Sideroff 43:03
Yeah. So that’s what connects you to the larger community. That’s, so I like to talk about having meaning and purpose in your life. Because when you have meaning, and purpose or spirituality in your life, you have a-your horizon is bigger. And so when your horizon is bigger, daily hassles have less of an impact on you. I wrote an article for Psychology Today, as in this past year on how I say that purpose, is the ultimate in use or lose it. And I make an argument for how having purpose in our lives, literally extends our life, that with the new the new science of epigenetics, in which our genes are not changed, but our expression of our genes can be changed through our belief system, that when we believe we have an important purpose, we send a message directly to our bodies, Hey, it’s important for us to stay alive longer, because we have this important purpose. And then literally, through epigenetic changes, create this motivation in our bodies on an unconscious basis, to stay alive longer, to function better. And so that’s why I believe purpose is so important in our lives.

Derek 44:41
You know, I think that’s absolutely borne out. And the thing that came to mind is the Blue Zones, you know? You look at each of these blue zones where people live to be, you know, to these incredible ages. And a common trend with all of them, you know, there’s diet, there’s lifestyle, all these things, but like the one of the other things that kind of touches on what you’re talking about is that regardless of how old the person is, they’re always a part of the community. And they’re always a part of making things happen there that it’s like they don’t stop, they just keep on going and I think that kind of proves your point, like beautifully.

Stephen Sideroff 45:15
Yes, definitely, I think so important that we honor our older generation and take advantage of their wisdom.

Natalie 45:28
Yeah, I agree with that.

Derek 45:29
That, sorry, you just you just said something, that there’s an African proverb that just popped into my head that I would love to share. Basically, it’s like, when, when, when an old man dies, it’s like a library just got burned down. Which I think that there’s, there’s so much with that. And, you know, especially within the African heritage, where so much of it was through oral tradition, and telling stories. So yeah, I think that there’s so much value there. So…

Natalie 45:54
Yeah, I love that. Did you want to touch more on this relationship with something higher, or was there a fourth pillar that you wanted to spend a little time talking about?

Stephen Sideroff 46:05
So, given our limited time, the other pillar, and the other approach that I would talk about is mental balance and mastery. And that is about our mindset. And it’s very important this is this is primary and is up there with my first pillar is that we approach life from a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset. And this, this simply means if we notice, a vulnerability in us if we notice, something that we’re not proud of, not doing well at, are judgmental of, rather than seeing that as who we are, we see that as a quality that we need to further develop and get better at. That’s a growth mindset. A growth mindset gives us hope in the world. A growth mindset says we’re not stuck with anything that we have difficulty with. A growth mindset sets us on the path, it sets us on a path of, of resilience. So that would be the other pillar that I think is so important for people to realize is that you approach life, from the place of wanting to embrace your challenges, rather than shrinking from them, or dealing with them reluctantly. Challenges is what grows our capacity. Challenges is what grows our learning, grows our ability, and grows our resilience. So you want to embrace the challenges in your life.

Natalie 47:47
You know, what’s funny is I’ve you know, I’ve been divorced for about seven years and you know, had a list of things that I you know, we’re looking for in a partner. And what’s funny is these four pillars that we’ve gone over are pretty much on my list and so it’s like maybe I should have just like got-resilience was the one thing like what I’m looking for in a partner because, you know, self love and relationship with self, self awareness, emotional intelligence, you know, somebody’s relationships and the qualities of them, like growth mindset, ever curious. Like, you’re just like listing-did you get in my diary, Dr. Sideroff. Because you’re just listing off all the things that I want in a partner, it’s kind of funny to sit here and have it said back to me in some ways.

Derek 48:29

Natalie 48:29
Yeah, I know that we’re running short on time. And if I if I could bend your ear, I’m very curious how do we teach resilience to our kids and let me just say, I have a 12 year old daughter and we are facing a potential move just an hour away, but for her it might as well be a world away. And I know enough and I’ve been through enough to know that like this is a part of life and going through difficulties and challenges like this is just something she has to learn and you know as a parent it’s we talked about this when I cried on the other diamond episode is talking about the toughest thing is watching your kids go through pain and you want to save them from that pain, but you also know that’s not your job. It’s you know, to help give them the tools and equip them and walk with them through the through the challenges.

But I’m just struggling right now on how to coach her into resilience or give her the tools or I’m just really not entirely sure what to do because to her, her life’s gonna be over all of her friends and everything that she’s known and the place where she’s built all her memories and she can not see forward and and I’m just curious what you would say you know, when it comes to teaching our kids resilience.

Stephen Sideroff 49:56
So I would say the number one thing for Number one response is for you to develop your own resilience and for you to be resilient based on my nine pillars. Because when that’s when you have done that you will approach your child in the best possible way. Second, I would say the most important is that your child feels both love and acceptance. And then to realize that you can’t protect them from everything, but you want, what you want to think about is having, setting guardrails. So you protect them from the the most traumatic aspects of life. But within those guardrails, you allow them to learn the lessons that they need to learn. And sometimes that includes, you know, being sad, being angry, being upset, but if they know you love them, and accept them, they will handle those situations much better.

Derek 51:02
You know, halfway through this conversation, I was actually thinking about because one of the things I nerd out about is etymology, I love like words, getting in to understand where’s where they come from. And so I just really quick, I looked up what the etymology of resilience is, and it just means to jump back or to recoil. And so I think, I think that really that kind of gets to the heart of it, is it’s like something hard happens. And if we’re resilient, we can have confidence that what, regardless of what we get hit with, we’re going to bounce right back. It’s like that Rocky Balboa quote that gets played over and over again, is it doesn’t matter how hard you get hit, it matters. Like, if you get really hard, you still get back up, and you still get back up and going. And like, I think that that’s really what it’s all about.

Stephen Sideroff 51:47
So this would be another conversation, because I, because I talk about how, in fact, it’s not about bouncing back. Because when you bounce back, you bounce back to where you started from. The goal with resilience is to bounce forward. The goal of resilience is that with any challenge, you learn a new lesson that thus makes you more capable, the next time of handling the next stress than you were the last time. So I’m, I’m on a, on a passion path, to teach people to bounce forward to make sure that there’s something you learn from every challenge that you face.

Derek 52:42
I absolutely love that. I think that that really, I think that-because really what you’re going for is kind of the upward spiral, right? We always hear about and people get stuck in these downward spirals, but really trying to help people get the tools that they need to spiral upwards and become better and better. So that’s, I think, all I have that we can cover in time.

Natalie 53:03
I mean, like, I won’t hit Yeah, it’s like, I think I got everything out that I needed to, you know, but there’s just so much more. I’m just like, how much time do we have? Can we keep going into my problems? But no, I appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions. And it’s such an important topic. And I think that we’re going through life, weighed down by so much. And many of us in constant states of of chronic stress. And just kind of an automatic, you know? And, and not even aware of how much more there is to access Yeah, and life and how much more joy and more connection and more relationship that we can have when we learn to be resilient. And you know, even if you’ve had a really good smooth life up to this point, chances are something that is common, you know, that’s gonna hit you. And I think I think all of us reach a point as adults where it’s just like, you’re like, Well, okay, this is it. Like it’s, it doesn’t ever, like actually be easy. Like, either you’re going through something or someone you love is going through something or there’s some kind of larger crisis in the world, right? You, you learn to live with that reality. And rather, because of the age we live in, where there’s so much access to information and news. You know, I wonder that we’re just so constantly in a state of overwhelm, because it is overwhelming, you know? Everywhere you look, it’s not just your own life and the lives of those that are touching you. We have so much awareness of what’s going on. So far beyond that, it almost feels like there’s never a break, you know, and so, you know, the topic of being resilient is, I think, incredibly important. And I’m really grateful for the pillars that we that you’ve created, and the book that you’ve created and the time that you’ve taken to walk us through some of these things. And what I want to know now is where can people find you, where can people find more of your resources and your book, because I’m guessing the people that have listening, this is just enough to wet the appetite. And people are going to want more.

Stephen Sideroff 55:10
Well, first off, my book is designed to help people who do feel overwhelmed by stresses in their lives. So I created a methodology I refer to as the path. So my book takes people step by step by the hand in guiding them through the process so that they have hope and are not overwhelmed. My website is I have a, I have a special free gift for all your listeners, which is my Resilience Assessment Booklet, which actually helps them find their own personal resilience profile. I have a special offer for my book where they’ll get a special bonus. And I’ll share with you the link to that. And then I have a special 10 Day Resilience Challenge coming up on May 15. And so people can participate in that and get a taste of what’s in my book.

Natalie 56:14
Amazing, we’re going to be sure to share all those links in the show notes. So if you’re interested in in the the booklet that Dr. Sideroff is offering, the challenge, buying his book, getting to his website and seeking additional materials, we are going to make that available to you. I would highly encourage you, you to I mean, if you’ve been listening this whole time, then I can’t imagine that you’re not feeling a need for this in your life. Because I think this is something that’s just universally relatable.

Derek 56:43
Well, then I’m so excited. Well, I’m so excited that you agreed to come on to the show and that we had this fantastic conversation. We’d love to have you come back and talk about the other sets of pillars.

Natalie 56:52
Oh my gosh. We’re going to have to set aside more time and go through the rest of everything.

Derek 56:55
Absolutely. But I know for a fact that when it comes out June 4, I’m getting it. It’s on my list.

Natalie 57:01
Yes. Agreed. Oh, did you say there’s a, was there an audio recording that with the book? Is that the offer you were talking about?

Stephen Sideroff 57:10
The special offer right now if anybody purchases it before June 4, when it comes out, you will you will be you will get a my six week resilience, audio program plus guide book free. So that’s something I normally sell for $47. But you’ll get it free if you purchase my book.

Natalie 57:32
Amazing. That is such a fantastic offer. Thank you so much for that Dr. Sideroff and thank you for your time. Thank you for all of your years of learning and expertise.

Derek 57:32

Natalie 57:43
Yeah, your service. I think that having such an impact, you know, it’s, it’s your relationship with something greater, right, like a purpose of of making this impact. And, I mean, you’ve impacted both of us today. And I can’t wait for our listeners to hear this material. So thank you very much for being here.

Stephen Sideroff 58:05
Thank you very much.

Derek 58:07
Thanks for tuning in to the Invigor Medical Podcast.

Natalie 58:10
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Derek 58:13
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Natalie 58:18
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Podcast Guests

Dr. Stephen Sideroff

Podcast Guests

Derek Berkey
Natalie Garland
5226 Outlet Dr, Paso, WA 99301
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