Chris Johnson was a “goofy ADHD kid in the ‘60s.”

“I had too much energy and was not very focused,” he said. “By the time I got to college, I flunked out my first year because I didn’t know how to be a student.”

Johnson failed his English class three times in two semesters and said he felt like the universe was telling him he wasn’t supposed to be in college. Yet, he never gave up.

“I ended up taking English again the next semester because that’s all they would allow me to take,” Johnson said. “I passed. From there, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in three and a half years and ended up with two master’s degrees, one in administration and one in counseling.”

Johnson, now a training consultant with Best Care Employee Assistance Program (EAP), recognizes his determination as part of his resiliency skillset. He shares his story with participants in a new resiliency training program.

Johnson recently began teaching the five-week program to 15 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) employees. To begin, employees identify an area in their personal or professional life where they aren’t very resilient.

“I ask them to take on that challenge,” Johnson said. “They have the support of our training group behind them, get their hands dirty and gain some confidence to understand how the process of resiliency works.”

Johnson shares the characteristics of resiliency during the series, including optimism, determination, a sense of purpose and more. His goal is to have attendees walk away with usable information.

“With any of the trainings I do, I don’t want to stand up in front and lecture,” Johnson said. “It’s more of a process of participants figuring stuff out and having something they can take with them when they go.”

BCBSNE employee and series attendee Julie Behrends said she quickly learned a lot.

“The quick nuggets of information gleaned from each session help me the most,” Behrends said. “I hope to be able to add a few tools to my arsenal to better equip myself when life events happen.”

Now, more than ever, Johnson said people need to build resiliency skills.

“I think it’s the time of society that we’re in. Everybody is feeling the frustrations of the world coming down on them,” Johnson said. “Social media lets us know about everything going on around us.”

However, by boosting resiliency skills, Johnson said people can handle challenging situations they face every day.

“Here’s the thing with resiliency: Resilient people don’t recognize they’re being resilient,” Johnson said. “They just bounce back.”

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