Developing Resilience: Overcoming and Growing From Setbacks

Resilience: what it is, why we need it, and how to develop it.

Find the strength to keep going.

Resilience, so that we have the strength and fortitude to overcome adversity, and to keep on moving forward towards our dreams and our goals.

The Importance of Resilience

Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.

According to the research of leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are essential to resilience:

  1. Challenge – Resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don’t view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
  2. Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn’t just restricted to their work – they commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
  3. Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.

Another leading psychologist, Martin Seligman, says the way that we explain setbacks to ourselves is also important. (He talks in terms of optimism and pessimism rather than resilience, however, the effect is essentially the same.)

This “explanatory style” is made up of three main elements:

  • Permanence – People who are optimistic (and therefore have more resilience) see the effects of bad events as temporary rather than permanent. For instance, they might say “My boss didn’t like the work I did on that project” rather than “My boss never likes my work.”
  • Pervasiveness – Resilient people don’t let setbacks or bad events affect other unrelated areas of their lives. For instance, they would say “I’m not very good at this” rather than “I’m no good at anything.”
  • Personalization – People who have resilience don’t blame themselves when bad events occur. Instead, they see other people, or the circumstances, as the cause. For instance, they might say “I didn’t get the support I needed to finish that project successfully,” rather than “I messed that project up because I can’t do my job.”

Attributes that are common in resilient people:

  • Resilient people have a positive image of the future. That is, they maintain a positive outlook, and envision brighter days ahead.
  • Resilient people have solid goals, and a desire to achieve those goals.
  • Resilient people are empathetic and compassionate, however, they don’t waste time worrying what others think of them. They maintain healthy relationships, but don’t bow to peer pressure.
  • Resilient people never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over.

How we view adversity and stress strongly affects how we succeed, and this is one of the most important reasons that having a resilient mindset is so important.

The fact is that we’re going to fail from time to time: it’s an inevitable part of living that we make mistakes and occasionally fall flat on our faces. The only way to avoid this is to live a shuttered and meager existence, never trying anything new or taking a risk. Few of us want a life like that!

Instead, we should have the courage to go after our dreams, despite the very real risk that we’ll fail in some way or other. Being resilient means that when we do fail, we bounce back, we have the strength to learn the lessons we need to learn, and we can move on to bigger and better things.

Overall, resilience gives us the power to overcome setbacks, so that we can live the life we’ve always imagined.

Build Your Resilience in the Workplace

Choose your response. Remember, we all experience bad days and we all go through our share of crises. But we have a choice in how we respond; we can choose to react negatively or in a panic, or we can choose to remain calm and logical to find a solution. Your reaction is always up to you.

Interested in a Resilience Workshop for your Team?

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Jane recently facilitated 2 Stress Awareness and Resilience Workshops for a number of our Managers and Team Leaders.  We found her to have a highly engaging, interactive and inclusive style.

Pre workshop stress audit questionnaires have proven to be an excellent precursor to the session and have offered a valuable insight to areas of potential stress.

A survey, following the workshop, shows that 100% of responses either agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop content was useful, with one candidate commenting that they “the practical focus of the training and the focus upon the responsibility of all parties, including the employee and employer, was extremely useful.”

Medical Services ManagerChessington World of Adventures

Jane’s approach appears both knowledgeable and credible with 100% of the attendees highly recommending this workshop to a friend or colleague

Specific feedback included comments that :-

  • All managers should attend the course
  • The course was very insightful into work and personal stress

Another candidate commented that Jane was, “very knowledgeable, shared personal experiences and kept the session fun and interactive.”We will certainly be using Jane’s services again and would highly recommend this workshop to other organisations.

Medical Services ManagerChessington World of Adventures