The Foreign Service Journal, May 2020

60 MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Resilience When I was a young U.S. Army cavalry officer 40 years ago, my squadron commander told me that “enlisted men have morale, but officers don’t—we suck it up and deal with it.” Later, in the Foreign Service, I encountered a similar fiction during hard- ship assignments, where a common refrain was “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Those assertions are wrong, of course. Everyone has morale. Defined by the dictionary as the “mental and emotional condition of an individual or group with regard to tasks at hand,” good or bad morale affects our productivity, accom- plishments and happiness. The capacity to maintain, or regain, good morale in the face of difficulties or disappointments is called resilience. In recent years, the Foreign Service Institute has inserted suggestions into numerous courses on how to be more resilient. We retirees could benefit from those insights if we encoun- ter health, financial or other setbacks as time passes. One group of resilience skills falls in the category of active problem-solving. Suggestions include focus- ing only on what is under your control, putting minor disappointments in perspec- tive, understanding that you control your reaction to events, asking for help when needed and knowing when to walk away or try Plan B. Another group of resil- ience skills comes under the heading of taking care of yourself. Suggestions include improving your sleep routine, exercising to reduce stress, being mindful of your feelings, resting your brain when needed and taking time out to regain perspec- tive. Additional resilience skills include maintaining relation- ships with people whom you can trust and rely on, avoid- ing negativity, maintaining realistic optimism, focusing on core values that motivate and guide you, and finding activities that give meaning and purpose to your life. So if you encounter dif- ficulties or disappointments, you might try some of these resilience strategies. And keep in mind the words of Nelson Mandela: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up.” n RETIREE VP VOICE | BY JOHN K. NALAND AFSA NEWS Contact: AFSA Event: Long-Term Care Insurance Alternatives On Feb. 26, AFSA hosted a presentation by Greg Klingler, director of wealth man- agement at the Government Employees’ Benefit Association, about long-term care insurance alternatives. Long-term care insurance may be one of the most poorly understood pillars in retirement planning. It is also evolving. Mr. Klingler’s presentation covered vari- ous options for long-term care to help identify which may be the best for you. The presentation focused on little-known alternatives outside of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. Originally founded by National Secu- rity Agency employees in 1957, GEBA is a nonprofit employee benefit associa- tion serving federal employees and their families. AFSA members may view a video of the event at n Greg Klingler, director of wealth management at the Government Employees’ Benefit Association, speaks with AFSA members on Feb. 26 about long-term care insurance alternatives. AFSA/CAMERONWOODWORTH