Final Reflections on Resilience, Relaxation and Growth

In closing, this chapter has reflected on my experiences in academia - my continual battle to maintain an appropriate work-life balance, the importance of resilience and a learning, growth mindset, what I am learning from contemporary leadership literature, as well as some practical tips for managing stress, aiming for a work-life balance (or integration) and approaching difficult conversations. The challenge of academia, as others have described, is that it is at least three jobs in one - being an educator, researcher and administrator. To survive and thrive, each of us must identify our unique strengths, and being passionate, resilient and brave enough to simply keep trying. Like Brown (2018), I too want to look back on my life and say “I contributed more than I criticized” (p. 259) and I entered the arena and risked getting a little dirt and blood on my face.

However, sustaining our career passion requires resilience and a focus on rest and rejuvenation. We must preserve our unique “life juice—your creativity and daring, your curiosity and eagerness to question, your compassion and love for people—can seep away daily as you get beat up, put down, or silenced” (Heifetz and Linsky, 2017, p. 225). And so, I end this chapter with a challenge: I challenge you to pick something from one of the chapters in this book to experiment with - whether it is setting up a promotion club in your own department, reading a leadership book that intrigues you, prioritising your health and wellness by “boxing yourself in” to a weekly art class next semester, or trialling the DEAR MAN acronym, please take one purposeful step towards a more balanced, resilient and happier academic life.


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