Becoming antifragile starts from within

Becoming antifragile is not just about coping with change. It’s about using change to become stronger and more valuable — so that every setback, as well as every success, clarifies your priorities, builds your enthusiasm, and increases your ability to achieve the goals that matter most to you.

We can’t do this if we simply manage ourselves differently: we have to lead ourselves differently.

Management is about action. It’s about measuring what we did yesterday, performing the tasks of today, and anticipating the issues that might arise tomorrow. The focus of management is outwards.

But before we can know what actions to take, we first need to decide what is important, we need to choose what direction to head in, we need to choose between conflicting priorities — and that is the task of leadership.

A leader has no-one else to tell them what to do: a leader has to be able to choose for themselves. The only way they can do that is by knowing what matters to them. And the only way they can do that is by looking inwards.

This means that if we want to become antifragile in this time of change, our first step is both incredibly important and deceptively simple. Our first step is to improve our ability to bring ourselves back to a state of calm inner balance, connected strongly with who we are at our best and what matters most to us, no matter what is happening around us.

Like the roots of a tree, the deeper we build this connection, the better we will remain upright during a storm and the better we will survive during a drought. And when times are calm, the depth of our inner ‘roots’ will also determine how far we are able to spread out the ‘branches’ of our influence into wider challenges and roles.

Our first step to becoming antifragile is to look inwards and know ourselves more deeply. This lays the foundation for everything else that follows.

In a crisis, how good are you at remaining calm, strongly connected with what matters most to you and who you are at your best? How easy do you find it to choose between conflicting priorities? Would it be useful to deepen your roots and strengthen your connection with your own priorities and who you are at your best?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also need to do the practice.)

Photo By Rhubarb Rhubarb via

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