The word resilient can be used to describe anything that has the ability to withstand stress. For example, a building that has been reinforced can be said to be resilient to earthquakes. Resilience in humans however, is defined as having emotional strength - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
With the inevitability of facing multiple challenges throughout our career, the ability to demonstrate resilience is now a very desirable trait to have.
If you are ever asked to give an example of your personal resilience it would be incorrect to talk about times that you were unphased by change and took it all in your stride. Having resilience does not mean that you are unaffected by change. Resilience is about going through a tough situation and coming out stronger on the other side. Demonstrating resilience means being able to reflect on those difficult times and using the skills that you learned to get you through the next tough situation.
Resilience is an important skill for the whole business, as Hemsley Fraser’s CEO Todd Turner says "As a leader, by managing your personal resilience and acting as a role model, you have considerable influence over your team’s culture […] But this is not just the realm of managers. All business professionals need to build their own resilience and ensure they are working in a positive and sustainable way. The trick is getting the balance right between managing and sustaining optimum levels of pressure, without getting unduly stressed. If the business can get this right then it can ensure people deliver sustainable and positive performance regardless of the environment”
Examples of resilience
A positive attitude – being optimistic about the future however much you fear or disagree with a change.
Motivating yourself and others to keep going – being able to see the bigger picture and helping others to understand the business goals.
Staying focused - remaining productive during tough times and keeping focused on your immediate tasks.
Giving constructive responses to problems – overcoming feelings of negativity and helping to solve problems.
Staying enthusiastic – bouncing back after rejection and trying again.
For some real life examples of resilience, read this article about 9 People Who Will Inspire You to Never Give Up
Are you resilient?
You can show resilience after an unexpected change has happened and also when an expected change does not happen, such as a promotion.
Try using a simple SWOT analysis to demonstrate your own resilience. Think about a time in your personal or work life that was particularly challenging, demanding or difficult emotionally. Think about how you handled that situation and what you could have done differently.
Ask yourself these questions:
Did you get support from anyone?
Did your communication skills change under stress?
Who else did this affect?
What advice would you give to others and yourself going through the same situation?
How could your resilience be tested in the future?
When something unexpected happens we feel fear and uncertainty. Remember, the new situation you are in is now the new normal. Make peace quickly with the things that are out of your control. It is ok to grieve at the loss a change can bring but remaining professional and bouncing back quickly shows great strength and resilience.
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