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How resilient are you?

Updated: Feb 14

I know from my own experience as a tech leader how important resilience is

Resilient leaders view failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a defeat. They learn from setbacks, adapt their approaches, and use failures as stepping stones toward success. By embracing a growth mindset, leaders create a culture that encourages risk-taking, innovation, and continuous improvement.

Looking back, while working as an engineering leader in Silicon Valley, I knew that I was quite resilient, which enabled me to deliver results. 

But I also realized these days that my resilience was weakening over time. I felt I had to work harder while achieving less.

Burnout has always been on the horizon for many tech professionals in Silicon Valley. This hasn’t changed. Even worse. Nowadays we see a continuous rise in people experiencing mental exhaustion or burnout, and the pandemic had a major impact on these numbers as well.

One of the problems for me during these times was that I had no objective way to measure my resilience level. 

I was not aware of biomarkers or other performance indicators (KPIs) that could have been helpful to determine my resilience level. 

Also, resilience comes in different flavors. These include physical resilience, mental resilience, emotional resilience, and social resilience.

Since I was not able to measure resilience, I could not systematically improve it. 

I tried random activities, some meditation, exercises, and different types of diets

Some of these seemed to work, while in many cases it felt it was not going anywhere.

Now it’s your turn

If I ask you now the same question: 

“How resilient are you?”

Think about it for a moment, but be honest. 

If you say you are resilient, do you have data to back it up? 

Can you prove it? 

Or, is it just an educated guess based on some feeling or achievements in the past months?  

Unless you have real data, you simply cannot tell how resilient you are.  

What were my key learnings? 

15 years later: After spending more than 10000 hours exploring how the human mind and body work, while getting deeper into topics like neuroscience, mindfulness, functional medicine, and the science of epigenetics, I accumulated a wealth of knowledge that allows me to keep strong resilience levels for most of the time. 

When looking back, I achieved real breakthroughs after I was able to identify several biomarkers related to resilience, which I could reliably assess and measure over time. 

As I was used to agile methodologies at work, I could simply apply the same approach here.

In parallel other people were working in a similar area focusing on upgrading the human body. They referred to it as “biohacking”. 

So I did biohacking for many years, without knowing what it was called. 

However, the more I learned about these biomarkers that represent resilience, and evaluating the impact of my interventions (e.g., nutrition, supplements, exercise, sleep, meditation) the more I was able to positively influence them over time. 

Your most important resilience biomarker: heart rate variability (HRV)

Simply put, heart rate variability is the fluctuation in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. The higher your RMSSD (usually measured in milliseconds, ms) the better is your body able to achieve a state of homeostasis and the better it can adapt to stressors. Without going too deep here, your HRV is a great marker for representing the combined state of your mind and body. Therefore HRV is a great and objective way to measure your resilience.

There are various fitness trackers or smartwatches (e.g., like the Oura ring), which make it easy to measure your HRV during your sleep.

But how do you interpret these results? 

Let’s say you have measured your HRV and it is 25ms. Is this good? 

It all depends.

HRV is a highly personal biomarker and the guidance here is usually to track relative changes over time. 

However, as I’ve been working with many clients in the past years I can quickly tell you whether your HRV is either suboptimal, average, or even great for your age and context.

Besides HRV I also learned about additional biomarkers that tell you aspects of your overall shape of resilience. 

For example, how balanced your immune system is, or whether your body can build and break down a sufficient level of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for your signal processing in the brain. There are lab tests available to obtain these numbers, some of them are even available as non-invasive tests that you can take at the comfort of your home.

By now you probably realize that measuring your resilience can become quite complex, especially if you want to look at different aspects of resilience (physical, mental, …) 

But it is a topic worth investing time and resources into, as the potential payback can be quite big on your overall state of well-being. For example, optimizing your HRV is an integral part of my longevity strategy.

Where to go from here? 

A few years back people asked me whether there is systematic training to absorb this knowledge on how to become more resilient

My answer to this question was the launch of my “High-Performance Mind” program for leaders, to learn the basics of how to upgrade their mind & body while increasing their level of resilience and mental agility systematically. 

The High-Performance Mind training evolved and many leaders were able to achieve significant breakthroughs (see their testimonials.)

If you’re curious about what can be achieved I encourage you to review the program details and schedule a complimentary discovery call

The learnings of the training may have a profound impact on your life. I encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity.




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