Resilience: Adopt a Squirrel Mindset

toimetaja-tolkeburoo-qyt0cPByJjs-unsplashIf your personal resilience could be characterized by an animal, what animal would you be? Would you’d be the stereotypical male lion, who waits for his pride to bring him what he needs and would likely starve to death, if not for the hunting skills of the lionesses. Or perhaps you’re more like a gecko, who detaches its tail when grabbed by a predator, runs, and then grows it back within weeks. I’d like to think that my personal resilience is more like the common backyard animal—the squirrel.

Think of a world of humans having the personal resilience of squirrel. Their mindsets should be admired, because squirrels routinely demonstrate the following behaviors:

  1. Plan for Adversity: How many times have you watched a squirrel from your window digging hole after hole after hole in your yard? He’s digging and burying nuts for winter. Adversity will come when the snow covers the ground, and the food supply disappears. He can’t necessarily count on the goodwill of humans to fill those bird feeders in the winter. And speaking of bird feeders…
  2. Never Give Up: If you’ve had the time, you’ve likely watched a squirrel tirelessly try to get bird seed out of a feeder that was booby-trapped with all types of supposed squirrel-proof gadgets. Having watched dozens of videos of human inventors proved wrong, I don’t think there’s a truly squirrel proof bird feeder yet.
  3. Don’t Complain: Paired with the never-give-up attitude, you don’t hear squirrels complaining when the game gets rough and goes on and on. They adopt a 100% responsibility mindset: 100% responsible for getting that seed. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t seek the help of their friends. In fact, once a winning formula is discovered, squirrels share the good news.
  4. Tap into Creativity: Have you seen some of the contorted positions squirrels eat from as they hang onto the bird feeders? If not, google photos. It makes extreme yoga look like the Special Olympics.
  5. Refrain from Discouragement: Discouragement doesn’t appear to be in a squirrel’s vocabulary. After applying the “never give up” resilience approach, they’re usually able to crack the code and come away with a full belly. When people say no to the squirrel and up their design, the squirrel responds, “Not now.”

anthony-intraversato-pT_wQgZAIU8-unsplashPeople can learn from the behaviors of squirrels. They have an incredible amount of resilience which probably explains why we see more than we care to in our own yards. What mindset area could you work on improving that would help you become more resilient?

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at


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