We all think of something different when we hear the word “resilience”. If you are an entrepreneur, you might think about your company’s resilience in the face of uncertain economic environments. If you’re an athlete, you might think of the resilience through which you put your body to the test and sometimes, as an individual, you might think of the people who have inspired you because they overcame difficult circumstances in their lives. Resilience is best described as the ability to bounce back. It is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, to adapt to life’s adversities and to cope with the stresses of everyday life.
What is resilience?
Resilience comes from the Latin word resilio, “to turn around, to ricochet, to stand out”. The term has been adapted in psychology and other social sciences to refer to people who, although they experience stressful situations, are not psychologically affected by them. A modern definition of resilience refers to moving forward in life despite adversity. What does this mean? Being goal-oriented, working towards your vision, being proactive, regardless of obstacles, big or small, that may come your way. Resilience is the ability to face adversity and bounce back from difficult life events.
Being resilient does not mean that people do not experience stress, emotional turmoil and distress. Some people equate resilience with mental toughness, but demonstrating resilience includes working through pain and emotional distress.
Why do you need resilience?
Resilience is important because it gives people the strength to process and overcome hardship. Those lacking resilience are easily overwhelmed and may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Resilient people use their strengths and coping systems to overcome challenges and solve problems.
What types of resilience exist?
There are many types of resilience but the most common are: – Physical resilience – Physical resilience refers to our body’s ability to cope with physical challenges and to recover effectively after great exertion or when damaged. – Mental resilience – Mental resilience is about thinking flexibly, being able to weigh your options, considering alternatives, conceptualizing step-by-step ways to achieve a goal, understanding different perspectives and solving problems creatively. – Emotional resilience – Emotional resilience is connected to emotional intelligence, emotional awareness, perseverance, acceptance and optimism. Emotionally resilient people tend to accept adversity with flexibility and the attitude that – times are tough, but they will get better. Emotional resilience allows people to find positives when circumstances seem bleak. The attitude is very important in these situations. – Social resilience – Social resilience comes from connecting socially with others. It can include teamwork, networking or getting involved in your community. Social resilience is built on trust, diversity, tolerance and respect. These types of resilience occur when we face major life issues, situational problems and everyday problems: Major life issues are what most people think of when they talk about resilience. Death of a loved one. A major personal health crisis. Homelessness. Stories about survival. These issues are most often traumatic and can scar people for years. They are not problems you can simply “get over”. When we hear inspirational stories about people overcoming adversity, these are the types of problems often referred to.
Situations that can affect our resilience
Situational problems are not as serious as major problems, but they can still cause considerable anxiety and impact work, relationships and the way people enjoy life.
These can include: working for an unpleasant boss, a divorce with a spouse, online bullying or temporary unemployment. These problems often last from weeks to months and eventually we get over them in time. I believe, cultivating resilience can bring the most benefit to situational problems. Everyday problems occur once or several times a day, and can lead to a negative attitude and other problems if not handled correctly. Everyday problems include traffic congestion, working with rude colleagues, tight deadlines, or simply getting a heartburn while cooking. In addition to the four types of resilience mentioned above, we can also talk professionally about organisational and career resilience.
What is organisational resilience?
Organizational resilience is “the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and adapt to progressive change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and thrive”. (Denyer, 2017).
Organizational resilience research has focused on behaviors that are either defensive or progressive. When organizations adopt defensive strategies, they attempt to stop negative events (Denyer, 2017).
In contrast, organizations that are progressive in their strategies try to make positive events occur through their actions. Resilient organizations best use progressive and flexible strategies. Organizational resilience is linked to success. Organisations that do well during a crisis and demonstrate resilience take precautionary measures to avoid being overwhelmed when a crisis occurs. These precautionary actions may include training employees to deal with emergencies or formulating a continuity plan in case of a collapse in the economy.
How to promote resilience in organisations?
There are best practices for promoting resilience in organisations and steps that can be followed.
Here you can find more information on organisational resilience.
How can organizations become more resilient?
One of the best ways organisations can promote resilience is by providing individual training programmes and developing specialist skills to increase resilience. Another way organisations can promote resilience is by increasing the motivation and psychological resources of their employees, such as self-efficacy, optimism and hope. Organisations can achieve this by giving employees autonomy and discretion in performing tasks, as this creates a sense of self-efficacy and competence. This increase in confidence can enable employees to respond well in difficult situations.
What is career resilience?
Career resilience refers to a person’s ability to adapt to career changes as they occur. Developing career resilience is about taking control of your own career and continually developing new skills to keep looking forward. Professionals can adopt behaviours and attitudes to facilitate continued growth, despite any failures or challenges that may arise.
How can resilience help you in your career? Developing career resilience means anticipating potential challenges and actively preparing for them. By doing so, you can strengthen your mental strength and position yourself effectively for future opportunities. As technological, social and business model changes occur, the skills and competencies of professionals must change. Increasingly, organisations are looking for flexible employees who are able to learn new skills and adapt easily to change. Beyond honing skills to keep up in the job market, developing personal and professional resilience helps provide a sense of security in an unpredictable world.
How do you build resilience in your career?
I recommend four strategies to build career resilience: – Embrace lifelong learning – Staying current with emerging technologies and industry trends is a key component of career resilience. By taking online courses, enrolling in professional development workshops and attending industry conferences, you can stay in demand. Plus, you’ll boost your confidence and appear more competitive to employers. – Develop a robust professional network – Having a strong professional network can help stem the tide against career changes that may extend beyond your control. But don’t wait until there are problems to start developing relationships. Start looking for opportunities today to connect with like-minded people in your field and beyond. – Actively manage your career – No one else is better equipped to manage your career than you. Take control of your career trajectory by first reflecting on your strengths, development opportunities, past experiences and current role. Then, determine your short and long-term career goals. Review and evaluate these goals regularly. From an external perspective, develop a personal brand to give others a clear sense of the value you can bring to organisations. In your current company, continue to look for new ways to add value and effectively and consistently communicate your value to others. – Look to the future – The most resilient professionals don’t get stuck in the past; rather, they look forward to the future. Try to see every change you face as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Stay optimistic, connected and ready to embrace potential opportunities as they arise.
How to stay resilient?
I recommend taking the Daily Health Assessment to find out your resilience score and what skills you should develop to become more resilient. Resilience is formed and maintained through a growth mindset, continuous personal and professional development.
How has resilience helped me? By developing a growth mindset: – I discovered the benefits of failure (it helps me to grow personally and professionally and learn from my mistakes); – I have become aware of what is in my control (my thoughts and emotions, how I react to what is happening around me) and what is not (everything that is not in my personal control: pandemics, wars, weather, attitudes of others etc); – I understood what perseverance and prioritization means, time management which is more about managing emotions when I procrastinate and not necessarily time; – I realized that bad things happen in life that I have to learn to live with, to understand and not necessarily to accept as normal for society and for me; To reflect and meditate by asking myself questions such as: “Is what I think/feel/realize now good for me or not?”. Resilience is a choice, like many others in our lives, that needs to be developed in order to have a happy life.
Choose to work with yourself to be a resilient person for a successful personal and professional life.