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Building Resilience

Resilience can mean and show up in different ways, but is it something that can be measured or developed?

September 21, 2020

Two people sit at a table in a coffee shop and compare notes on building resilience

The term resilience is being used more and more in our everyday lives, but what is resilience and why is it so important? Resilience can mean and show up in different ways, but is it something that can be measured or developed?

Resilience has been described as

  • 'Self-confidence and competence despite stress'
  • 'Ability to draw on resources to adapt, thrive and mature in adverse circumstances'
  • 'The innate human power to heal, regenerate and grow…it is that extra measure of attitude, knowledge and skill that allows you to cope, to bounce back and to grow.'

What does 'resilience' mean to you? How would you define 'being resilient'?

  • What are the actions of resilient people?
  • Do you know someone who you see as resilient?
  • Do they display resilience as:
    • The ability to adjust to change and to cope with misfortune?
    • Focusing on strength instead of weaknesses?
    • The extra measure of attitude, knowledge and skills that allows them to cope and grow?
    • Seeing troubles as both risk and opportunity?

Why is 'resilience' important in our life and at work?

The secret of being resilient is nothing new—it can be defined as:

Self-Discipline + Self Esteem + Self Confidence = Successful Resilience

It starts with that unpopular theme these days—self-discipline. Success does not occur without it; success in anything in life. Self-discipline means setting a goal and a plan and sticking to it through thick and thin. And keeping going. And then some more. Never giving up. It's not easy and it's become unpopular. But without self-discipline nothing can be gained; there can be no resilience.

From self-discipline comes self-esteem and self-confidence—seeing that you can make progress in the direction you have aimed, seeing that you can achieve, seeing that you can excel, knowing you can get there. Knowing you are being the best you that you can be.

What are the attributes or components of being resilient?

  • Having a sense of purpose, a meaning for your life. Having a plan and knowing you are headed in the right direction for you and getting there.
  • Having support at work and at home—a role model/mentor. Social supports who are trusted and you can share with.
  • Facing fear
  • Spirituality—having a moral compass or set of beliefs that can't be shattered
  • Balance. Health. Discipline.
  • Making a contribution—altruism. Having others thank you for your contribution
  • Optimism
  • Humour

How can you measure your resilience?

Think of your life as having eight quadrants:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Work/Career
  4. Finances
  5. Pastimes and hobbies
  6. Health and Fitness
  7. Spirituality and a sense of meaning
  8. Community

Now think about how balanced you are on each quadrant:

  • Are you struggling in an area and out of balance?
  • Have you a plan and a focus and are you building the balance you desire?
  • Are you in balance and feeling good about it?

Knowing where you are at the moment is the starting point to measuring your resilience and then deciding what you want to do about it. Building back the balance where you need it.

How can you develop resilience?

Think about who can assist you in building resilience and what you need to put in place (with self-discipline) to go in the right and balanced direction for you. Build in options. Think about:

  • What areas will I work on?
  • Who can support me?
  • What do I need to put in place?
  • How can I build in some humour and balance?

Then make it happen. Slowly and surely build balance and resilience into your life.