Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth
Hollingsworth Consulting

I have gnarly lower back issues. They’ve flared up a lot lately, which means my wonderful chiropractor has become my new best friend. Recently, she asked what I do for a living. Between table jolts, I said: “I give leaders tools to become more compassionate and emotionally resilient.” Without hesitation, she blurted out:

“I’m so damn tired of being resilient! I just want to rest!!”

The table paper crinkled as I awkwardly smiled and nodded, facedown in the headrest. I knew exactly how she felt. It’s the deep-down soul exhaustion that sets in when you won’t let yourself fall apart. Not ever. Not even a little. 

Author and speaker Deepika Sandhu talks about her “scheduled breakdown” that led to a new, much happier and more resilient, life. There came a point where Sandhu knew she had to just stop holding it all together so perfectly. She had to slow down and sort of, well, disintegrate, in order to really find herself.

Maintaining a constant grind with no room for pause or error might look resilient. But it’s not. Authentic resilience can’t be white-knuckled.

The secret of truly resilient people is they don’t always try to be resilient. Instead, they risk taking time for the rest and messiness that are normal, healthy, and necessary parts of human life. Anyone can keep pushing, hustling, grinding, insisting on perfection. That’s easy! But it takes a deeper wisdom and courage to just stop. To just let go for a minuteOr even—to fall apart for a minute.

If you tend toward maladaptive perfectionism (like me), the dropped balls and disappointed people that come with letting go may feel like small emergencies. I think that’s to be expected. But I’ve found a lot of comfort in the truism, “emergence often only comes through emergency.” And I hope you do, too.

About Andrea

Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth is Founder and CEO of Hollingsworth Consulting, author of the bestselling book The Compassion Advantage (2024), and one of today’s leading global experts on compassionate leadership. Since 2008, she has been studying, speaking, and writing about the science and spirituality of human emotions and relationships. Her articles have been published more than a dozen times in peer-reviewed journals, and she has taught at prestigious institutions like Princeton, Boston University, and Loyola University Chicago. In addition, Dr. Andrea has delivered talks to audiences at some of the top-ranked universities in the world—including Cambridge University in England and Heidelberg University in Germany.

Dr. Andrea spends most of her time inspiring leaders and teams to use The Compassion Advantage to build supercharged organizations through cultures of care— especially in times of challenge and change. Andrea lives with her family in Minnesota where she cheers hard at her son’s soccer games and relishes every opportunity to visit the north shore of Lake Superior.