Written by Joanne Sacco

Lessons learned on the battlefield that can prepare you for your hardest day

Last week, the Finite Group team was privileged enough to hear from Bill Sullivan, ex United States Air Force, Deputy Commander, who delivered an engaging and very inspiring seminar on the Importance of Resilience.
Resilience, both in our personal lives as well as our professionals career, is important for a number of reasons; it enables us to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming, it helps us to maintain balance in our lives during difficult or stressful periods of time, and can also protect us from the development of some mental health difficulties.
Bill Sullivan’s personal journey and impressive career epitomizes the essence of ‘resilience’.  Bill served in various leadership capacities as a jet and helicopter pilot in the USAF from 1990 until 2014, including 13 years flying the Sikorsky HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter in a search and rescue role.  He also completed four combat tours in the Middle East at the controls of an H-60 as a member of Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command.
During the seminar, Bill shared some of his life experiences, several ‘war stories’ and discussed not only how these lessons learned on the battlefield have helped him work through numerous personal and professional tragedies, but also how he now applies these lessons to his role as Commercial Director for a world leading advisory firm.
At the end of the session, personal journeys were reflected upon and the group was given the fundamental tools needed in order to face future challenges ahead.

Bill’s Toolkit for Resilience:

  1. Don’t take things personally
  2. Go back to what you know
  3. Compartmentalize the situation and the task ahead
  4. Be prepared for the worst case scenario
  5. Prioritise your time
  6. Stop trying to do everyone else’s job
  7. Really get to know your team in order to work more effectively
  8. Trust each other
  9. Learn from each other
  10. Do whatever it takes to get the job done!

“When in a stressful situation – if properly prepared – you will revert back to your foundational knowledge base, your training and personal lessons learned.”

“Performance increases exponentially if you truly care about the person to your right and to your left and they care about you. You’ll naturally have each others’ back when it matters most.”

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