Keys To Building Resilience For Personal And Professional Growth

By Jia Rizvi published at

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The word “resilience” is used often in business circles, but what is it, and how can it help you grow personally and professionally? In short, resilience refers to the ability to adapt to challenges. Resilient people can bounce back from setbacks, navigate through adversity, and emerge stronger and more capable than before.

Regardless of industry or job title, cultivating resilience has become necessary for personal and professional growth. Professionals who are resilient have 45% more enthusiasm, 39% more energy, and 27% more concentration than those who are not resilient, according to research from Aon. Resilience can even make you live longer. People aged 94-98 who have better resilience are 43.1% more likely to live to 100, according to researchers. So, let’s explore how you can become more resilient.

What Does It Mean To Be Resilient?

At its core, resilience encompasses emotional strength, mental fortitude, and the capacity to problem-solve amidst turmoil. It's about viewing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles. Whether you are dealing with a career transition, a personal loss, or a global crisis, adaptability is crucial for success. Resilient individuals understand that change brings new opportunities and are willing to pivot their strategies and mindset accordingly.

“In the tapestry of life, change weaves the threads of transformation, enriching both our personal narratives and professional journeys,” says Jennifer Isensee, head of Thrive Anew Enterprises, a firm dedicated to providing wisdom and guidance during times of change. “Life is about growth, and growth signifies change. Often, people assume that any change will be stressful and exhausting and that it is something to be feared. However, these fearful thoughts are usually based on a lack of information, not a lack of ability.”

Taking A Forward-Looking Approach To Building Resilience

Maintaining a positive outlook amidst adversity is a cornerstone of resilience. “Changing the way you think about your circumstances can change the direction of your life,” says Isensee. “But taking a more optimistic viewpoint doesn't mean ignoring challenges – rather, it's about acknowledging difficulties while believing in one's ability to overcome them. Approach with a growth mindset. Ask yourself: ‘What can I learn from this?’ or ‘How can I grow stronger?’ Cultivating gratitude, practicing mindfulness, and reframing negative thoughts are powerful tools for fostering a resilient mindset.”

“Stress isn’t all bad. If you can cope today with all that’s happening in the world around you, then when you are on the other side of it, you’ll be stronger,” said Steven M. Southwick, professor emeritus of psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience at Yale University School of Medicine and co-author of the book “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. “Many resilient people learn to carefully accept what they can’t change about a situation and then ask themselves what they can actually change.”

Viewing Challenges As A Sign Of Growth

“Becoming more resilient has helped me lead my business through growth with more fun and less stress. In difficult situations, I remind myself that getting to solve new challenges is a sign of business growth and I make a conscious commitment to work through them. Making this choice again, and again, moves me from feeling stressed into problem solving mode,” says Monisha Bajaj, Founder & Principal Strategist of m times v, a business strategy and growth studio.

“When I’m in problem solving mode I get creative, think clearer, and make sound executive decisions to overcome the challenge. Over time, I’ve realized the quicker I can move from feeling stressed into problem solving mode, I create momentum that allows me to actively steer growth, motivate my team, and keep going,” adds Bajaj.

Prioritizing Self-Care And Gratitude

Self-care is not selfish or superfluous – it’s a crucial component of resilience. “Taking care of one's physical, emotional, and mental well-being lays the foundation for navigating life's ups and downs with grace and resilience,” says Isensee. Self-care can include getting adequate rest, exercising regularly, meditating, journaling, and other activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

Regularly expressing gratitude for the small victories, supportive relationships, and moments of joy can also build resilience by reminding you of the positive aspects of life, even amidst challenges. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow,” says Melody Beattie, a leading voice in self-development and author of Codependent No More.

Being kind to yourself and those you encounter can help you build a more resilient mindset that acknowledges and appreciates your small role in the greater world around you.

Learning From Setbacks

“The reality is that not everything in life is going to go your way. As an entrepreneur, that can be magnified. There’s so much uncertainty when you’re building something new, and you’re shouldering the responsibility. Your personal and professional lives blur, so setbacks in one area impact the other and can feel bigger. The ability to bounce back and find the opportunity and path forward sets successful leaders and businesses apart,” says Colleen Krieger, Founder & CEO of Superbloom Strategies, a boutique marketing strategy and fractional leadership firm.

“For me, resilience is a combination of managing the logical and the emotional. One practice I use to stay resilient is what Tim Ferris calls “fear setting.” I list out worst case scenarios and things that keep me up at night. Then I detail all the ways I could handle the scenario if it came up. Finally, I write down the possible outcomes and impact of each. Logically, this gives me an action plan. Emotionally, it removes some of the fear and gives me confidence that I can react and adapt,” adds Krieger.

Whether you are navigating a difficult situation in your personal life or working through a professional hurdle, shifting your perspective from failure to a learning opportunity can help you become stronger and better able to face the next challenge.

The good thing about resilience is that it’s not a fixed trait – it’s a muscle you can strengthen over time. Opening your mind to a new way of thinking and looking at your experiences can help you build the resilience you need to thrive personally and professionally. Remember, setbacks are stepping stones, and growth lies on the other side of adversity.

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