Show Notes: Episode 190 – Hardiness: The Link Between Stress and Success (with Sarah Turner)
March 11, 2024
Transcript: Episode 191 – Personal Branding Strategies for Professional Triumph (with Daveeed Wagner)
March 25, 2024

Click here for this episode’s show notes.

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Sarah 00:01
I think it affects our overall well-being. I think the overall well-being, the overall satisfaction that I have with who I am, the way I exist in my life, just gets expanded.

JoDee 00:13
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we help HR and business leaders embrace joy in the workplace. I’m JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and with me is my friend and co-host Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice.

JoDee 00:38
Our topic today is on hardiness, the link between stress and success. I have to tell you, Susan, when my friend Sarah, who will be a guest with us today, talked about hardiness, I had to think, like, wow, that’s a word I haven’t heard for a while. But then when I started digging into it some more, it seems like it’s a real popular word again now.

Susan 01:08
It makes me think of the old novels, the Tom Hardy Boys – or was it The Hardy Boys?

JoDee 01:12
Yeah!

Susan 01:13
Yeah, yeah. But hardy – I like it. I want to be hardy. It’s something I aspire to, so I’m glad we’re talking about it today.

JoDee 01:19
Yes, love it. Well, hardiness refers to a psychological trait that plays a pivotal role in determining how individuals cope with and respond to stressors, ultimately influencing their overall success and well-being. It encompasses a combination of attitudes, beliefs, and coping mechanisms that enable individuals to navigate challenging situations with resilience and adaptability. The link between hardiness and success lies in the ability of hardy individuals to perceive stressors as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

Susan 02:08
Hardy individuals exhibit three components: commitment, control, and challenge. Commitment involves a deep sense of purpose and engagement with one’s goals, allowing individuals to stay focused and motivated even in the face of adversity. Control reflects the belief that one has the capacity to influence or manage the outcomes of stressful situations, fostering a sense of empowerment. Lastly, the embrace of challenges as opportunities for learning and development characterizes the third component, reinforcing a positive mindset towards stressors.

JoDee 02:45
Research suggests that individuals with high levels of hardiness tend to experience lower levels of stress-related illnesses and exhibit better overall mental and physical health. Moreover, their ability to thrive in high-pressure situations often leads to enhanced performance and success in various aspects of life, including career achievements, interpersonal relationships, and personal development. By cultivating hardiness, individuals can transform the way they perceive and respond to stress, paving the way for resilience, growth, and ultimately success. I recently had breakfast with a longtime friend, Sarah Turner, and she was telling me about this word “hardiness,” a topic, as I mentioned, that I knew very little about. Sarah is president and owner of Lumino Leadership, a consulting firm providing training, coaching, and consulting services to individuals, teams, and organizations. Her specialties include energy management, resilience, and emotional intelligence, in which she is a master trainer and coach. With a strong business background in public accounting – just like me – and years in corporate talent development, Sarah brings a unique perspective to all levels of employees amongst a variety of industries. Sarah, it’s such a delight to have you on the podcast today.

Sarah 04:34
Well, it’s exciting to be here, for sure.

JoDee 04:36
So Sarah, what makes up a person’s level of hardiness?

Sarah 04:42
So one of the things that I can say just right out of the gate is that in the last probably… you know, three to five years – the two of you would feel this too – there has been more conversation about what the arc of resilience is in our world than ever before. In fact, I think probably more content in the last three to five years than in my decades of work in the leadership consulting space. I personally think that’s a good thing. I think there are conversations that need to be had, and they are unpacking our experiences as humans, and that is needed. I mean, the, the World Health Organization putting out there that burnout is a medical diagnosis I think is pretty strong. And so when you think about hardiness, I would, I would tell you that it fits underneath the, the arc or the umbrella of resilience. And so the, the roots – or probably the data – that I would share about this concept comes from a really long body of work by a gentleman named Dr. Paul Bartone. His, his background is that he was a behavioral psychologist in the US military and for three decades was collecting tons of observational data about what makes a person come to us who seemingly is capable of responding productively to any point of adversity that we throw at them, doesn’t matter, compared to a person who we throw those same points of adversity and they hesitate, they back away, or they retreat. And he was just fascinated. So he would take all this data, and what he found was that resilience is a big pie. And if you take the pie, you can, you can cut it up into a bunch of pieces, and what he discovered was that hardiness ended up being the biggest piece of the pie. So one piece, for instance, ladies, one piece that would be in our resilience pie – all, all human share this – is our upbringing. You know, what was our environment growing up? What was the who and the what we experienced? I always tell people – this is a quick shout out to my mom – so my mom was one of nine kids, grew up in a super humble environment, and my grandmother, no matter what they needed, would find a way to make it work with what they had. So then I grew up watching my mom do that. And I always tell people my mom was the original MacGyver in my life. Right? I mean, all i, all I remember is that I could come up to my mom with a problem the night before, like, a project was due, and she would take whatever we had and helped me cobble something together. And it was always like… So what, what he knows is that yes, that’s one piece of Sarah’s resilience, being around her mother or other people. But even bigger is this idea of, of hardiness, which I will tell you just quickly, it has three major factors. Three C’s. So the first one is challenge. Just loosely defined, that’s when you are brought that point of adversity, and does my mind go to, “Oh, what can I do with that? Let’s unpack that,” or does it say, “Oh my gosh, great. Lucky me.” Right? So do I see it as something I want to jump into or pull away from? So that’s challenge. Control. This was one of my favorites. So when you come to a point of adversity, control is really defined as how much you feel you can really make a mark of impact if you got involved. So if we believe, hey, I can do something with that. We’ll, we’ll get into it. If we think, that’s not my responsibility, I can’t affect that, we retreat. Right? And then the last one, of course, is, am I even aware of where I fit in, in terms of what I want to see, what matters to me? Because if your commitment, the last of the three C’s, is there… I mean, anything we, we all want, if we want it bad enough, oh, throw at me whatever you want, I’m not shaking it. But if I don’t know my level of commitment, okay, maybe I shouldn’t have been doing it. Right? So it’s so interesting. I think he really conveyed well those three C’s, for sure.

Susan 08:29
Can you, if you’re… let’s say that you’re not naturally strong in any of those C’s. Can you enhance them? Can you exercise them? Can you get better at it, or is it kind of what you’re born with?

Sarah 08:39
One of the best questions ever, because I do think that the way we see the capacity for something affects our interest in exploring it further. And the best answer is, yes, you can grow it. What Dr. Bartone discovered was that just like our muscles, there are certain parts of our brain that can be built for strength. And so I always say, if I had to go do it over, I would go study the brain way deeper in my education journey. But past that, I would say I’m never really done learning about it. If you were to take our brain and you were to unpack it into the segments of what it does and lay them all out, what we know is that some of those segments ebbed, flowed, changed, evolved, but then they hit a point where they were done and that’s what they’re gonna look like, right? So some parts of our brain, lots of neuroscience can tell us, hey, that changes until you’re 17, that one changes until you’re eight, but then after that it’s sort of static. Then there are other parts of the brain that constantly change and evolve. This is one of them. So it’s awesome to be able to empower us to know – I mean, think about it, you can definitely embrace different approaches so that your challenge grows or, or the view of your level of control changes. And I think that to me is so relieving, because it’s so valuable.

JoDee 09:55
And then, Sarah, how can this ability to grow our hardiness have impacts on us both personally and professionally?

Sarah 10:06
Something I always think about if I am getting to partner with someone, either as an individual or as a company, I’m always a fan of picking an area where holistically, you get a lift, which means as a whole person. And what I think is really great about the concept of hardiness and resilience in general is that it does affect our whole lives. And so part of this – JoDee, you and I share this, coming from being that CPA mindset – right? – my roots being in, in being in accounting, one of the things almost always asked is, well, if I did it, what would I get? Right? Why would I bother? And so, the return on investment is a valuable question. And one of the cool things I can tell you is that all of us are presented with a number of stressors. If the two of… you know, the two of us sat down, you know, either JoDee and I or just you and Susan and I, we said what are the stressors in our lives, we would have so many, and it runs the gamut personally and professionally. So like, right now, I could tell you some of my stressors are, “Oh, my gosh, what if one of my clients doesn’t like the approach I suggest?” Right? Well, what might happen? I could have stressors like, “What if I made the wrong decision for my kids,” right? I have two boys who, oh my gosh, that’s a huge stressor. Or just the overwhelmed nature of how many things that we might take on. Oh my gosh, what if I drop a ball? So these stressors live in our lives. If you think about it, if I’m capable of engaging my hardiness, so that no matter what’s thrown at me, doesn’t matter the type of adversity, if I know what to lean on, so that I say things like, “Okay, I didn’t expect that, bring it,” or if I say to myself, “You know what, I could do something with that.” Like, I literally could control the outcome of that, like, if I put my hands on it, something will happen. Or if I say to myself, “You know what, that’s really tied to the meaning of this. Okay, fine. I’m not backing away.” What ends up happening is, and this is the way I say it, we become an elevated version of ourselves. I always – the way I’ve always talked about we become, like, the 2.0 copy, right? Like, the upgrade. And the upgrade is this person who is capable of creating productive, positive outcomes, no matter what is in front of me. And that just itself is a amazing impact in our lives. I would probably just land with this. I think it affects our overall well-being. I think the overall-well being, the overall satisfaction that I have with who I am, the way I exist in my life, just gets expanded, which again, I’m always, I’m always interested in more well-being. So I’m like, yes, let’s do this.

Susan 12:32
Yeah, you’ve convinced me! I want to be hardier. So tell me, what do you do when you work? How do you work with a client? Like, when you go into a company and you’re trying to help impact teams and the culture, what’s that journey like?

Sarah 12:44
So here’s what I will tell you, and I’ll go backwards before I go forward. So I do a lot of reading – the two of you do this as well – and so every time I am exposed to a new concept, I always want to take something from it. Well, some of some of the books that I’ve read, I take more than one something, and then they just stick around as one of my favorites. And a book probably the two of you have read that I’ve always loved is a book called “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, and it’s really that journey of exploring the difference between having a growth mindset and having a fixed mindset. And the research in that book is so compelling. It’s, it’s so in my mind. I think of it like this. If you go in and you take what does a company do today with regards to cultivating the mindset of a team? I believe resilience and hardiness is really the way you see the adversity. It’s the mindset that you carry. Well, I wish I could tell you the article I read, but years ago, I was reading an HR-based article about the number of companies and the types of approach that people currently see in their companies with regards to growing mindset on purpose. And this stat I feel is too low, but it said approximately… probably 1/3. It was, like, 33 to 37% of companies embed mindset in most of their talent development experiences. So think about this. Do we hire for mindset, right? Do our interview questions explore what is somebody’s baseline of response today, their mindset on something, their approach to adversity? Oh, by the way, once we get them in the door, do we onboard them with mindset? Oh, by the way, when we’re assessing their training and development, do we have mindset as one of their training opportunities? Oh, by the way, do we have mindset in our performance management system? Is it in our succession planning? Is it in our… Okay, so how many companies have it embedded in almost all of those? Less than a third.

JoDee 14:35
Yeah.

Sarah 14:35
Which to me is an opportunity. But when I’m talking to a company, you think to yourself, if you were to have people capable of dealing with just about anything that you throw at them, and they’re carrying a higher level of well-being, a connectedness to what they’re doing, a willingness to say, “Hey, it’s, it’s not your job. I’ll take it. What can I do?” you know, “I’ll control that,” and someone who sees the thing that didn’t have an expectation on my agenda as “bring it,” right, “we’ll figure that out,” and that challenge is there. To me, it sets in motion the ability for you to meet your mission, your vision, and values way easier, with a whole different level of engagement. And you end up having people who become huge advocates for your purpose. I think you end up having a huge impact on recruiting, I think you have an impact on the overall employee experience, which the three of us know affects the customer experience. So all that we do, if you can take this one seed, and plant it as an individual, your teams are affected, your culture is affected, and I think pervasively, it just becomes part of the identity of your brand, which maybe sounds too big, but I believe it, so I’ll say it that way.

Sarah 15:48
Love it.

Susan 15:48
Thank you.

JoDee 15:49
And Sarah, what other resources exist to help Susan and I and our listeners learn and grow our hardiness?

Sarah 16:00
I’ll start with, if you look at what Dr. Bartone started, he ended up having… again, call it 30 years of data where he started creating a little bit of a baseline of how you can see this and measure it in other people. In 2018-ish Dr. Steven Stein, who oversees an organization called Multi-Health Systems, he ended up partnering with Dr. Bartone, and they established this concept of hardiness. So my two favorite resources one is the book “Hardiness,” so if you were to look up Dr. Steven Stein, S-T-E-I-N, hardiness, you’ll see a really great axis that overviews and outlays much of what I’ve been talking about. So that’s the first resource. So if you’re a reader, that would be… that would be the first. The second is that the entire organization MHS developed a tool called the Hardiness Resilience Gauge, short HRG. So the Hardiness Resilience Gauge, here’s what it does. It is a really quick assessment, and once you take it, you get a report that tells you the baseline of your current level of challenge, control, and commitment. And then what it does is it talks to you a little bit about your functioning in that space based on your approach today. And then it has a good number of suggestions, Susan, like we talked about, on how you can grow the muscle. And so it talks about some very tangible, tactical ways that you can go from where you are to a higher level or an elevated space of using these skills. And then the other thing I think is really smart, is it actually highlights how you can’t think of them in a vacuum. So as an example, let’s think of this, let’s say that I have this very high level of challenge. I use it all the time, like, “new thing, shiny new, going after that,” right? So it doesn’t matter what it is, I’m like, whoosh, but my commitment isn’t as high. What does that person look like? It’s like, new thing… whatever, another new thing… whatever. So you can’t have one without thinking about the other two. And it actually has a whole page that highlights are you balanced, right? Is one of them actually getting in the way because it’s so far out ahead of one of your other ones? Maybe your goal is to sync them up more frequently, so to create a little more traction around your hardiness. So I would say those are my two. I happen to be what’s called a master trainer in HRG, which means I’m a coach. So people can come through and get the HRG certification and coached on their actual report. But if your entry is just let me get a tiny little step in, I would say that book, the book is a great place for you to just open your world to the concept of hardiness, for sure.

JoDee 18:39
Yeah, love it.

Susan 18:42
So Sarah, how could our listeners reach you if they were interested in continuing this dialogue?

Sarah 18:47
That is a great question. So right now I would tell you my favorite ways for people to get a hold of me is to look me up on LinkedIn. So if you were to look up Sarah Turner, and you can use my company name, Lumino Leadership, that’ll help you find me. Also, I will tell you open your doors and send me a message. If you come to Sarah, which is Sarah with an H, dot Turner at LuminoLeadership.com, I would love to start a conversation with you. If you were to begin having an email with, “I want to learn more,” let’s do it. I think discovery conversations help you take the context of these things and customize it to why and how would it be useful and I would love to have a dialogue to see if I might be able to get that into your hands, at least to kind of help you decide where or if you want to explore this further. But I think if you think about it, you can definitely get a value on your own, you will then affect the people in your lives, which is holistic, personal, professional, and then you become a stronger contributing member to your, your culture, your, your company. It’s just – put it on the docket, team. Put it on your list to explore for sure in 2024. Great time, right? Let’s explore this now and into the future. Let’s figure out how we get this in your hands.

JoDee 19:54
Yes, love it. Thank you so much. And Sarah, what’s one small step or change you made during your career that boosted your joy at work?

Sarah 20:06
This is something we could probably talk about for an hour, because I share the idea of where joy needs to be present in our lives. So I love that this is something that people have access to prominently through the JoyPowered® everything. But I will say if I had one – and JoDee, I know for sure you would probably share this. There are always times in your career experience where you can feel yourself growing an interest in something, but you’re scared, you’re, you’re hesitant, you’re worried, the fear starts to be present, and what it might do is it takes the beginning of that that spark and it sort of kind of tamps it down or kind of snuffs it out. And so I can remember looking back when I was in the early parts of my career where I just had this passion for talent, helping other people. “How can I help you? How can I help you?” But I was trained as a CPA, so not the ideal way for me to say, “I’m your person.” But there was a moment, there was a single moment in my career experience where I decided if I want this bad enough, I have to be willing to give up some things to explore whether it’s right for me. So I took a pay cut, I went into a place where I had no education, right? I didn’t have any credentials. And I had to allow myself at least the chance to try. And I remember talking to my husband, and he… and I said, “Is this right for us?” My very accountant husband who’s very risk-averse. “You know what, what if we were just to agree that there has to be a window of time where we allow this to breathe? And so it’s not a try it for 30 years, let’s start with try it for a year and see where that goes.” That pivot moment for me going from, okay, my credentials are as a CPA, not as a leadership consultant or coach. But I had to take a step. And it was scary. And it was a little bit unnerving. But in the end, from the first day where I was getting to dedicate my time to developing someone else, it just consumed you physically, emotionally, mentally. And now I haven’t looked back. And I always believe that if you can align – this one kind of comes into the hardiness factor of commitment – if it truly is valuable to you and you can find a way to get more of your time and resources yourself into that in your life, everything else I feel like starts to line up. I just feel like it goes that way. And I’m a point of proof. If you’re a person listening and you want to think about, “oh, I’ve had this inkling,” or “I’d like to explore that,” even if you just start with let yourself explore the beginning of a journey that you just don’t know where it’ll go. And I’m proof of it. And so I certainly appreciate it. And it’s given me more joy than I could ever imagine. And for decades, for decades. I certainly feel really blessed.

Susan 22:42
And Sarah, you’re giving us joy, so thank you for sharing that.

Sarah 22:45
Oh, it’s a pleasure.

JoDee 22:47
Thanks for joining The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast.

Sarah 22:51
I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Susan 22:54
JoDee, it kind of doesn’t surprise me that Sarah has a background in accounting, because I’ve known you now for, like, 10 years and you’re one of the most resilient, hardy people I know. I never – you are – I never see stress get to you like it does mere mortals like me. And so I think that maybe you aren’t familiar with the topic hardiness, but I think you exude it. I really do.

JoDee 23:17
Thank you. And that’s, that’s interesting. I guess I’d never thought about the connection with accounting. But, you know, I will tell you, as Sarah is the same, that right out of the gate, right out of college, you know, I was put into a whirlwind of work and long hours, and maybe helped with that, as well. So.

Susan 23:43
Yeah, the huge expectations on you to perform. And my guess is when you started as a, as a young woman in probably a pretty male-dominated field…

JoDee 23:52
Yes.

Susan 23:53
…that you had to sink or swim. And I’m gonna say I think you swam. Yeah, given that, given, given that final product, and maybe this isn’t final, but I just think you’re very hardy. So.

JoDee 24:03
Well, thank you. Thank you.

Susan 24:06
JoDee, we have a listener question today. Listeners, please remember, we welcome questions anytime. Here it is. “I’m a Senior Human Resources Associate and I want to go more on the HR technology side of things. How can I do this? You know, where do I get started so that I can be a more tech-savvy HR professional?”

JoDee 24:25
So here are some different ideas I found that I think would help our listeners to head towards this path of HR technology. You probably, because you have a passion for it, you might already understand the HR technology landscape. Keep up on what’s going in there. Maybe with the current system you’re already using in your organization, but just starting to explore some others as well. You might consider some online courses or certifications. There are platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning that have courses on this, as well. Hands-on experience, you know, maybe show some more interest or initiative on getting some hands-on experience in more types of HR technologies as well. And one of my favorites is seek some mentorship on this topic. Do you know someone who specializes or has a good handle or lots of experience in HR technology? And take them out for a cup of coffee and learn from them hands-on. Do you have any other ideas, Susan?

Susan 25:47
I love all of those. You know, if there is a professional organization in town, SHRM or any other HR organization, be really thoughtful about watching their agenda, see if they’re talking about new HR technology. So many vendors want to get a platform, they often use the local chapters to talk about their products and to educate people, so just I would hook into that. But other than that, I agree with everything else you said.

JoDee 26:11
Great idea, too. Now for in the news. A new report is shedding light on the current state of American tipping culture by surveying Americans nationwide on how they feel about tipping. The report found that 63% of Americans are overwhelmed by tipping requests. You know, I thought this concept was interesting, because I’m getting to that point myself now where it seems like everywhere I go, everyone wants a tip, and you know, you check out at a self-checkout lane or basically order your food at the counter where you stand to pick it up and now they’re asking if you want to give a tip for that. So the survey continued to add some other thoughts on this. Americans want to shake up the tipping culture. Three in four are in favor of eliminating the tipped minimum wage, 62% would pay higher prices if they didn’t have to tip, and two in three would do away with tipping altogether. In the meantime, knowing that workers depend on tips spurs three in four to keep tipping and 56% feel pressured to tip by tablet checkouts. That one is me.

Susan 27:42
Yeah, that’s me too. I think the older I get the more I tip because I always think, oh, man, I – you know, my life’s gotta be better than yours. Whoever I’m dealing with, I just think, oh, man, I’m gonna give them… And so my husband thinks I’m tip crazy. In fact, yeah, I can give you some stories of him like, “Come on. They just, you know, they moved one bag to the next area.” I said, “I know. But what are they going home to? One tip,”

JoDee 28:06
That’s so interesting, because I feel the same that the older I get the more I tip. And you know, Susan, you and I have both traveled a lot. You know, in Europe, tipping is much less…

Susan 28:20
It is.

JoDee 28:20
…than it is in the United States. Not that they don’t always get tips, but it’s significantly less because their workers are paid a higher wage so don’t feel the need to tip all the time either.

Susan 28:40
Ask my husband sometime about my tipping in Europe. He always thinks I embarrass people because I give too much. I chase, I chase them down in the restaurants to give them, oh my gosh, euros. Funny stories.

JoDee 28:51
Well, thanks for joining us today and make it a JoyPowered® day.

Susan 28:56
Thank you. If you would like SHRM recertification credit for listening to this podcast, please visit getjoypowered.com/shrm. You’ll find an evaluation of the podcast and once you complete the evaluation, you will see the SHRM recertification credit code and a link to a proof of participation certificate. Again, that’s getjoypowered.com/shrm. Thank you for listening, and thanks for your dedication to the HR profession.

JoDee 29:25
If you liked the show, please tell a few friends about us. And let us know what you thought by leaving us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts. You can find more information on our podcast, our books, our blogs, and more at getjoypowered.com. We’re @JoyPowered on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook and you can send us an email at joypowered@gmail.com. Make it a JoyPowered® day.

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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