Career Pathways Planning Curriculum

Lesson Plans: Part Two

Lesson Two: Resilience

Resilience means being able to overcome difficulties or terrible events in one’s life and to move forward in spite of those things. To be resilient does not mean to forget the importance of the challenge, but to not let it stop one’s chance to grow and transform. Resilience is “bouncing back” from life’s difficulties. This is the first step in establishing hope into the future and happiness in a job or career.

The American Psychological Association identifies 10 ways to build resilience. These include:

  1. Make connections. Build good relationships with friends and family and accept help from those who care about us. Help others in their times of need.
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. Look to the future and see positive outcomes.
  3. Accept change as a part of living. Life is change, and we can adapt and accept. “Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept those I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  4. Move toward your goals. Set realistic goals and look for small accomplishments.
  5. Take decisive actions. Take control and act.
  6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery. Look at what you have learned or gained from the experience.
  7. Nurture a positive view of yourself. Trust your instincts and ability to solve problems.
  8. Keep things in perspective. Avoid blowing things out of proportion.
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook. Expect good things will happen; be optimistic. Try visualizing what you want instead of focusing on fear.
  10. Take care of yourself. Do things that you enjoy or relax your mind and body.

Bringing these 10 aspects of building resilience together with the Hero’s Journey provides greater understanding our life path and the choices we can make towards career goals. The orphan asks questions and searches through wandering. When wandering and searching, the discovery of people who care is the first step in making relations. Resilience occurs in developing supportive relations, accepting change, and establishing opportunities for self-discovery. Perhaps the greatest resiliency occurs when the individual enters the Warrior aspect of the Hero’s Journey. It is in this phase that a person takes decisive actions toward a goal.

Please refer to the Elder Reviews included with these lessons to answer the following questions with a friend, family member, counselor, or Elder.


1. Resiliency

a.  Do you see any of the above listed resiliency factors in the Elder’s stories presented?

b.  How many of the resiliency factors can you identify in your own life?

c.  Do you feel you can withstand a crisis with these factors in place?

d.  What areas do you feel you need to build up or strengthen to be able to handle a crisis?

e.  Do you think these factors are only relevant for individuals, or could they be helpful to families, communities, or tribes?

2. Hero’s Journey

a.  John Spence identified “running away from caseworkers,” and then, becoming a caseworker when he became an adult. Please explain why this might have occurred.

b.  Kevin Goodluck identifies mentors as very important. When reviewing his life story, please identify important mentors and people that may have served to support his development of relationships and career path. (Caretaker)

c.  Frank Alby demonstrates significant aspects of each of the phases of the Hero’s Journey. He shares his learning of his cultural and spiritual roots later in life and through various aspects of his career choice. Please explain by using the five stages of the Hero’s Journey.

d.  Marc Anderson moved away from Oklahoma and his people when he was a small child. Please explain how his wandering helped him develop a career that helps his people.

e.  Ben Rhodd advised not to compromise one’s values; not to compromise your self-respect. He speaks of that which a person needs to do in the best way possible to bring to the betterment of one’s people… for the generations to follow this betterment. What does he mean?

f.  Marilyn Balluta identified two issues she was very concerned about: the negative effects of alcohol, and the loss of her own language. She demonstrates becoming the Warrior in the Hero’s Journey as a result of these concerns. How does she do this in her work?