Building Your Resilience Muscles with Appreciation

Jan 11, 2021 | Opinion


Recently, I have been looking at what has gotten me to this point in the year. It seems like the longest year ever, and yet at the same time, just yesterday it was March. 

Through this COVID-19 ordeal, my workload tripled combined with working at home. I’ve had kids at home with me struggling to learn virtually, and then being extremely bored during the summer. I’ve navigated the care of my 92-year-old father and his wife in assisted living, and my disabled sister. Oh, and I moved into a new house! Then, my son had to cancel his wedding (now scheduled for October, sadly, as a smaller affair) and I have only been able to see my new grandson a handful of times, even though they live nearby.

The bright spot is my youngest son somewhat resumed baseball in May and is now in full-swing on his new travel team. I just love “managing” his baseball career! And both kids are now back at in-person school.

What got me here – still productive, still hopeful, still focused? Looking back, somehow, I’ve managed to stay grateful.

I knew that, even though my life seemed chaotic, others had deeper struggles. The loss of a parent, sibling and friend, and no funeral to mourn. Business shut down and closure. Sickness. Mental health struggles. Financial hardship. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

I would imagine that you, just like me, have your own list of struggles. Yet, as how it is done in this industry, we push forward. It is what I admire most about automotive recyclers – you are one tough bunch.

It is called resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress – such as relationship, health, or workplace and financial stressors.

People who share a bond of resilience transcend being just a peer. In this industry, it is reflected by how a competitor will stop to help another recycler when called upon, or how the Professional Salvage Yard Information Forum on Facebook is full of helpful posts, questions, kudos and jokes to lighten the day.

Resilient people have focus, self-esteem, optimism, hope, gratitude and appreciation. At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself – yet also a belief in something larger than oneself, such as identifying as a member of an amazing industry like this one.

In this issue, you will read the first-hand accounts of several very resilient automotive recyclers who represent all definitions of the word. They experienced business catastrophes – their accounts are on pages 44 and 50 – and rebuilt their businesses using the lessons they learned along the way.

And, speaking of resiliency, your Association refused to accept the idea of canceling the 77th Annual ARA Convention & Expo. They pivoted to a VIRTUAL event (page 34) because the show must go on!

“EDGE 2020” is a powerful three days designed to strengthen your resilience! Register at low registration rates, expert speakers and quality vendors, you will miss out by not attending and registering your team. If you’re leery of the virtual experience, read the thoughts of ARA Director of Member Relations Vince Edivan on page 14.

This issue reminds you that safety best practices (page 32) are an essential measure of company-wide protection so that your resilience isn’t tested by easily-preventable workplace accidents. You’ll also learn how Fenix re-imagined their safety program for overall consistency and are having great success (page 59). Happy reading!

Caryn Smith

Caryn Smith


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