Lessons in Resilience: Elliot Schwartz

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I am in awe when I think of my present and past leadership coaching clients who have embraced the Benatti Resiliency Model and I see them soar. With resilience key to surviving and thriving now more than ever, I’m beginning a blog series that asks these clients to share their experiences with building their resilience and the impact it has had on their careers and lives.

I want to thank Elliot Schwartz for sharing his personal insights and the impact he has made on my career as a leadership coach.

Which of the five strategies of the Benatti Resiliency Model—well-being, self-awareness, brand, connection, and innovation—has resonated most with you? Why and what did it lead to?

Each of the five strategies has resonated with me most at different times. First, I learned that my emotional well-being was more important than any job or career. A few years later, I identified the elements of a vicious cycle challenging my physical well-being and got the help that I needed. Self-awareness helped me to appreciate that I like spending time at home and I feel better when I am selective about my social interactions. Understanding my brand has been essential to transitioning from my first career in consumer products engineering to my new career in sports analytics. Connection has helped me to feel a bit less alone in the world and provided me with a way to think about building the relationships that are important to success in my new career. Finally, innovation has resonated with me because learning is a key motivator and strength of mine.

What have you learned about yourself by focusing on resilience?

I have learned that I tend to be a workaholic and that I did not take care of myself well enough in the past to withstand or remove myself from toxic work environments. Focusing on resilience has helped me to understand what is unique about me and what I need to do for myself to be happy and productive.

Have you ever experienced burnout and how did you get out of it?

Yes! At the time, I did not realize that my feelings of stress, frustration, cynicism, and emotional exhaustion were all telltale signs of burnout. Beth recognized it after I restarted coaching with her when I reached a crossroads in my first career with my longtime employer. Her coaching, several career and personal values assessments, conversations with my husband, and a lot of soul-searching during time alone helped to get me out of it.

How do you recharge yourself?

I recharge myself by judging figure skating competitions and doing instructional presentations for skaters, coaches, and parents. I also recharge myself by spending time alone or with my husband.

How has focusing on your resilience led to career success?

Focusing on my resilience has led to career success because it helped me understand the what, why, how, and where of the work that I want to do.

What is the ‘why’ of resilience for you?

The why of resilience is based on my belief that work and life are integrated. Resilience is essential to enjoying life and feeling successful.

What is one piece of advice you would give people to recharge their career?

I think that recharging your career depends on both building your resilience and reconnecting with your personal values. You need resilience to be able to look in the mirror and think clearly about what is important to you and decide the work you want to do.

What fun thing have you done in the last month?

I am writing these responses from a wonderful renovated chicken coop called the Boat House on the shore of Henry Cove in Winter Harbor, Maine. My husband and I are visiting this part of Maine and doing a vacation focused on nature and relaxation for the first time. After arriving last night, we spent our first day hiking and enjoying the scenery on the Schoodic Peninsula.

What is a flow activity for you?

Analyzing data is a flow activity for me. When I have a good analysis strategy and an interesting set of data, it is exciting to unlock the mysteries in the numbers and gain new insights that I can communicate to coaches and athletes.

What is one awesome thing you are doing?

At work, in the new Performance Data Liaison role that I started with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in April, I am meeting and working with the dedicated coaches and staff from the full variety of our Olympic sport federations, from smaller ones like US Biathlon and USA Pentathlon to large, well-known ones like US Ski and Snowboard and USA Swimming.

Outside of work, I have been serving as an official at several local, national, and international virtual figure skating competitions. It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with my friends who usually I see at live competitions and to encourage the skaters and the coaches to keep training and progressing during this very unique season.

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