Betty Ford Inspires Resilient Leadership

Ford took risks not commonly taken before her time. When diagnosed with breast cancer, she saw her condition as an opportunity. When confronted by her family about misuse of prescriptive drugs and alcohol, she took action.
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The recent death of Betty Ford provides opportunity to consider her life learnings and demonstrated leadership. First Lady from 1974-1977, Ford took risks not commonly taken before her time. When diagnosed with breast cancer, she saw her condition as an opportunity to publicly express that it's okay and acceptable to have physical conditions that cause a person to suffer and need treatment. When confronted by her loving family about misuse and abuse of prescriptive drugs and alcohol, Betty Ford took action, sought treatment and demystified addictions by publicly speaking about her struggles, thus encouraging others to come out of the closet and talk about their real issues as well.

So often women, in particular, are afraid to step into their leadership by being their authentic self. Growing up through the ranks of middle school and high school, we get well trained to think that we need to act in certain ways to be accepted, liked and, ultimately, to succeed. All too often this belief takes us off track from developing our talents and self-confidence and, instead, leads us to have greater self-doubt, thwart courageous actions and diminish our internal strength.

Resilience is the capacity to rise above difficult circumstances and recover from disappointments. Applied to leadership, resilient people are more successful because they learn from their mistakes and keep moving in a forward direction. For some, resilience comes instinctively while others need to fortify skills that support the internal resources required to follow Betty Ford's lead. When we strengthen our Inner Coach to be stronger than our Inner Critic we are able to take risks, initiate assertive actions and stay proactive in the face of defeat.

The Resilient Leadership Model teaches women specific skills to help us be realistic about what we can and can't control, manage the drive for perfection, develop emotional intelligence and inspire greater self-confidence. It helps women face and overcome their person hurdles to make way for success in work and personal relationships. While we grieve the loss of a great female leader, let's borrow from the role modeling of her courageous legacy.

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