How I Found The Strength To Sustain Myself


“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” -Jamais Cascio

Employee engagement and workplace culture are hot topics whether you work in HR or are a leader of some sort. What about personal sustainability? Whether you are a leader or an employee you need to be able to sustain your performance, level of engagement, and ability to be present at work.

What happens when you work in a place that is toxic or dysfunctional? How can you sustain yourself day by day?

I found myself asking this very question a year ago. I ended up questioning my values, confidence in my ability to perform, and general competence.

I never thought I would end up in this position. I joined an organization that did great things for the community. Their mission statement matched my values and beliefs. Everything seemed great…at first. Then I slowly experienced a slight change in attitude with a few of the senior level managers. They began to peck at me…a slow and constant peck that eroded my confidence in my own abilities.

People that know me and have worked with me know that I dislike being put into a box. I may be hired with a job title to do job ‘x’ but I rarely stay within those parameters. I tend to push limits, try new things, and encourage others to reach their full potential. I have even helped other employees try out different departments and other positions. I give credit to others where credit is due and will gladly lend a helping hand to others who need it.

This makes some managers and leaders uncomfortable. Sometimes they retaliate as a group with a behavior called ‘mobbing’. It’s not limited to only managers. A group of employees can also do this to a fellow co-worker. Mobbing behavior is ‘group psychological harassment’. It is a form of bullying but it is usually not as overt.

Over time it affects your mental well-being and can even affect your physical health.

I thought I was a strong person but after months of enduring this mobbing behavior I started to feel down, apathetic and didn’t feel like going to work.

It became a struggle every morning just to get myself out the door. I wasn’t in a position to just walk away, as like most people, financially I needed a job.

I started to think of ways to restore my mental well being and find a way to ‘charge my resilience battery’. I turned to social media. I wasn’t new to social media but I never really ‘worked it’ until this point. I signed up for LinkedIn back in 2007 and Twitter in early 2010. I new that there were groups of people out there – communities where people shared the same values, ideas and beliefs that I did but I didn’t know how to find them.

So I started to research and read articles and blogs posts all about Social Media. I even attended webinars. I took the information I gathered and started using it. I began connecting with others who shared similar beliefs, job aspirations and goals. As I connected with more and more people I began to read wonderful blog posts about Leadership, HR, and all about the world of work. I started to feel better. I discovered that there were others out there challenging the norms and striving to make the work place a better place.

Then I discovered what I find to be one of the best things about Twitter: Twitter chats (or tweet chats). Twitter chats are gatherings where people share ideas, inspiration and challenge each other on a specific topic under a specific hashtag.

I quickly discovered a few twitter chats that have remained my favorites. One of them is the #PeopleSkills chat hosted by Kate Nasser. I jumped in and found myself showing up to this twitter chat every Sunday morning. After each twitter chat I felt inspired, AND my resilience cup started to fill up. I felt stronger and was able to handle the negativity at work. I even started smiling at work again. It helped to restore my confidence levels.

To some it may sound silly – how can Twitter and Twitter chats make that big of a difference? It made a difference because I made new connections AND friends through them. I met people like Kate, who have a passion for helping others be the best that they can be. Kate even reached out to me and asked me to co-host a chat and join the G+ community. My family jokes that these twitter friends are my ‘imaginary friends’ but they are far from imaginary to me. They helped me to sustain myself during a difficult time and gave me the strength to stand up and take action. I said ‘no more’ to working in a dysfunctional environment and found another job where I can be myself and thrive.

The PeopleSkills chat is celebrating its 1 year anniversary this coming Sunday, January 27th. Congratulations to Kate for helping to foster and sustain a wonderful community that made a difference in my life.

If you would like more information about People Skills please follow the link below.

People Skills

I would love to hear how Twitter, Twitter chats and social media have made a difference in your life. Please leave a comment below…

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  1. Hi Chantal,

    Thanks for such an inspiring post!

    It’s nice to see that one is not alone in facing daily issues to do with #peopleskills

    I always salute Kate for her great effort to gather us and o

  2. Hi Chantal,

    Thanks for such an inspiring post!

    It’s nice to see that one is not alone in facing daily issues to do with #peopleskills

    I always salute Kate for her great effort to gather us and open up our inner confidence doors to express our own feelings.

    I believe you when you describe the feeling after each #peopleskills chat.

    Happy Anniversary to all members of such great community.


  3. Jon Mertz – Jon is a thought entrepreneur, named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business by Trust Across America, 2014 – 2016, and highlighted as a “Leader to Watch” in 2015 by the American Management Association. His background includes leadership roles for entrepreneurial and enterprise companies – Corepoint Health, Deloitte, and IBM – along with serving in Washington, DC, in various political appointments. Jon is pursuing a doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University.
    Jon Mertz says:

    Chantal, Your story highlights many elements but one of the most important ones is community. Social community can make a big difference when they are open, engaging, and real. So many positive benefits can unfold from here within our workplaces and neighborhoods. All the best to you and thank you for being an important part of my community. Jon

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