Day 1: MFLN Virtual Conference Conversation

Welcome to Learning through Change, the Military Families Learning Network’s virtual conference! We would like conference-goers to connect with and learn from each other as much as possible this week, and one way to do this is with daily conference conversations on our blog.

Each morning of the conference, we will post a start to the day’s conference conversation.  As you participate in sessions throughout the day, we invite you to share your observations, takeaways, questions, and resources as a comment to the daily posts. And please, feel free to respond to other commenters as well! We may be located all over the world, but we can still connect and chat with each other all week, at any time.

After the conference, we’ll compile these conversations into a downloadable pdf and post it on our website. We hope you’ll participate in the co-creation of this invaluable conference resource!

September 26:  Keynote Speakers Set the Stage

Today’s keynote speakers set the stage for the many conversations we hope to have this week about personal, professional, and organizational change.

Charles Figley is addressing coping strategies at work and at home to help us become stronger and more flexible during times of change and difficulty. Strategies for resilience and self-compassion and the importance of “battle buddies” are just a few insights he’ll share with us today.

Dionardo Pizaña reminds us there are several connections to leverage as we navigate change: connections with ourselves and our emotions, connections with others, and connections with resources. He is also discussing how the recognition of our differences can have a positive impact on successful organizational change.

What are you learning from today’s keynotes? Any connections across the sessions? Did you attend a breakout chat? What did you discuss? Do you have any resources related to today’s sessions that might be helpful to share with your colleagues?

Please share your thoughts below as a comment! We look forward to hearing from you!

– Brigitte Scott
Director of Program Development and Evaluation, MFLN

16 Replies to “Day 1: MFLN Virtual Conference Conversation”

  1. 3 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 blood cancer. When I return to work from medical seven months later, I found that my leadership style had changed. I was much more fearful and rigid in how I approached my work, and was no longer the risk taker people knew me as. Even today I still find I focus much on managing the details than leading with ideas. This webinar helped me to understand that this was the trauma of my experience — continue to recover from PTSD.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Karen! I hope you also heard today to be kind and gentle with yourself. Sometimes we are more compassionate toward others than we are to ourselves, and we can’t be the best to others if we aren’t kind to ourselves first.

    2. Thank you for sharing your story, Karen. It reminds me of something Dionardo pointed out, that it’s so important to stay connected to our emotions and experiences as we go through change. It sounds like you are doing this! Best wishes for your continued recovery.

  2. Dr. Figley shared some awesome information in his session, but my takeaway came from the chat. Tonya talked about how it is unethical to work with clients when you are fatigued or traumatized. That was a huge wake-up call for me. I need to practice self-care to make sure I’m at my best for those that I support and serve.

  3. I loved this morning’s presentation. I loved the discussion about compassion fatigue and gender differences — much broader conversation from male v female; also love the conversation around ethical practices and compassion fatigue == exciting conversations.

  4. A few points that resonated with me from Figley’s session:

    *Learning about the distinction between compassion fatigue and burnout.

    *Building a support network – one benefit is having access to smiles. I had not heard it put that way before. I guess we all know at some level that smiles are important for building resiliency, but often I hear resiliency discussed as making network connections and having access to resources. It is good to be mindful that positive human emotion is just as much a part of that resilience.

  5. Dr. Figley highlighted so many great things. What’s resonating most is his point about how it can be considered unethical as a provider if you don’t take time out for self-care. It was a great reminder that self-care is not only a strategy that we need to implement for burnout/compassion fatigue prevention but can also be seen as a part of our professional skill set.

    1. This also resonated with me Kacy. It really emphasized the importance of self care that needs to be addressed at the fore-front … not as an after thought!

  6. Dionardo Pizana provided a wonderful platform for insightful and reflective conversation in the chat pod! I particularly enjoyed the conversation in the chat pod about resilience not being a fixed trait but rather one that can be learned and strengthened. This point was then carried over into discussion in the breakout session after the presentation, and made for an intriguing and inspiring conversation about ‘resilience muscles’ and how we can assist our clients, as providers, in strengthening them; while also strengthening our own! Also, Dionardo’s point about ‘excluding emotions and one’s ‘whole self’ in change will only provide opportunity for oppression to continue’ is spot on!

  7. I’ve written the list of five pieces of the resilience core that Dr. Figley shared. Purposeful live; perseverance; self-reliance; equanimity; existential aloneness. WOW! These are definitely something to strive for. I also loved loved loved his comment about gender differences in showing emotion, and that women have 4 times the emotion words at their fingertips…

  8. Dionardo Pizana’s talk about connections was enlightening, too…the emotions we are all born with reminded me of that Disney movie…Inside Out. I will be thinking about how we all bring the underneath our underneath to work with us…the trials, changes, joys we experience in our lives shape how our work challenges will affect us…and we all come from a different life.

  9. Both keynotes had quite different perspectives, experiences and core messages but I heard this loud and clear from both:

    Focus on self, make sure oxygen mask is on yourself first before you assist others, take time to recognize and make peace with own emotions in order to assist others with theirs.

    When in times of stress/change or just in everyday life that’s something I needed to hear today. Maybe you did too.

  10. Dionardo’s presentation was inspiring. In terms of resilience I find it very empowering to think in terms of “resilience muscles” (as Bari referenced above). I have found in working with families that often, the people who have been through the toughest challenges in life do not recognize that just managing to survive those experiences has provided them with really big resilience muscles which can be employed to thrive in times of change. Having friends and others in our support networks who are able to remind us of our resilience muscles is extremely important when dealing with change!

  11. I appreciated Dr. Figley’s themes around the importance of self-care for providers. As helping professionals and educators it is easy to prioritize other activities over taking time to remain well. I left the session inspired, with greater resolve to encourage self-care among members of the helping community.

  12. Karen,
    Thank you for sharing your story. As Dionardo pointed out in his keynote session this afternoon, it takes courage to share vulnerability. What a sign of true strength!

  13. A couple of key take aways from Dr. Figley’s session that really hit home for me was understanding balance and how we balance change in our life. It’s important to understand that you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Also, Dr. Figley discussed promoting growth in times of uncertainty and how we should focus on what we can change. One participant shared the importance of finding the positives without dismissing the reality and significance of the negatives. Resiliency!

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