3 Reasons to Find Your Resilience
“Find your steel, Claire.”
– Frank Underwood
Resilience is an inner steel. It holds me up when circumstances are shaky. It motivates me to move forward when I want to shrink back. The trouble with resilience, is that it’s easy to forget it’s there when stress, negative emotions, and difficulty are present.
I remember my first encounter with resilience at work. I started my career in the film business. Drama was a product for sale and a fair description of the work environment. I remember a conversation with a colleague, a single mom, who was worried that she might get fired. As she spoke, her facial expressions moved from worry to calm. She ended saying, “No matter what happens, I just gotta bounce.” I always remembered her words.
A year or so later a book came out: “Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life.” It was like manna from heaven for professionals. For years “Who Moved My Cheese?” was on the desks of admins to execs. The words “I just gotta bounce” and the book “Who Moved My Cheese” point to the same thing: resilience is a useful tool, we just have to remember to use it.
Consider these 3 reasons for making the time to get in touch with your resilience.
It’s in you already.
Few things in life are free. Fewer things in life are perfect. However, resilience is free – it’s in you already. It’s also perfectly matched to the individual that it belongs to, because it is you.
The Cambridge Business English Dictionary defines “resilience” as:
The quality of being able to return quickly to a previous good condition after problems.
The Urban Dictionary’s definition makes “resilience” more real:
The ability to stand up to challenges, work through them step by step, and bounce back stronger than you were before.
Resilience is a quality and an ability that you already have.
When it comes to qualities and abilities, there is a risk of underuse and overuse. Empirical evidence shows that resilience tends to be underused. Resilience can kick in when it has to. However, there is an opportunity to use your resilience more purposefully. If you invest the time, greater resilience can be cultivated.
You can become more resilient.
Resilience can be taught and this is an objective of strengths-based coaching and strengths-based leadership development.
The emerging field of positive psychology, the scientific study of the strengths that enable people to thrive as individuals and as communities (as defined by the International Positive Psychology Association), has given researchers and practitioners a community for helping people become their best selves. Dr. Martin Seligman, a founding figure in positive psychology, has done resilience training /research programs with soldiers of the US Army and with children in schools all over the world. He writes in an article from 2011 for the Harvard Business Review:
Can resilience be measured and taught? Thirty years of scientific research has put the answers to these questions within our reach. We have learned not only how to distinguish those who will grow after failure from those who will collapse, but also how to build the skills of people in the latter category.
He draws parallels to business:
Enhancing mental toughness, highlighting and honing strengths, and fostering strong relationships are core competencies for any successful manager.
Other researcher-practioners continue to show what can be achieved through resilience and strengths-based programs. CorStone, a private company that delivers resilience training programs to youth, is conducting research on its efforts to improve girls’ personal and economic wellbeing in India. At the Sydney Business School University of Wollongong Australia, ex-executive turned psychologist Dr. Paula Robinson is conducting a series of case studies that show how businesses benefit when they invest in well-being at work. Resiliency is part of this research.
Making the most of the resiliency we have, and developing more of it when we need it, takes some effort. The effort is fun and rewarding because it helps you become a better you.
You get the benefits.
Imagine a distant relative has passed away and left you a bank account containing the magic number you need to feel rich. But what if you were not aware of the account? The idea behind putting in effort to learn about your strengths and weaknesses is that the self-awareness empowers you. When you discover the riches you have within you, then you can use them purposefully for your benefit and for others.
Resilience is a facet of inner strengths. The way exercising and building strength in our physical bodies produces endorphins, building inner strength feels great too (and can be easier than getting in shape physically!)
The usefulness of building resilience is rewarding itself. When the disappointments of life and work come, resilience eases the negative effects and helps us stay optimistic.
A strength-based coaching program is an excellent way to find your resilience, to expand it, and to learn to use your resilience effectively. Discover more about strengths-based coaching through my new ebook: What is Strengths-Based Coaching? It is a complimentary and helpful resource for you.
- Dobbs, M. (Writer), Davies, A. (Writer), Willimon, B. (Writer), Kennedy, B. (Writer), Shankland, T. (Director). (2016). Chapter 46. Wright, R. (Executive Producer), House of Cards. Los Gatos, California: Netflix. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5025272/fullcredits.
- Grit Tem. (2007, November 4). Resilience [Top Definition]. Urban Dictionary Online. In Business English dictionary. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/resilient.
- International Positive Psychology Association (n.d.). About IPPA. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://www.ippanetwork.org/about/.
- Resilience [Def. 1]. (n.d.). Cambridge Business English Dictionary Online. In Business English dictionary. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/resilient.
- Seligman, M.E.P. (2011, April). “Building Resilience.” Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/04/building-resilience.
Learn about “What is Strengths-Based Coaching?” in my complimentary, new ebook.
Stacie Hoffmeister is an organizational coach and branding professional. She is the founder of organizational coaching firm, Facts and Heresies, which helps individuals step up into their next level of personal and professional potential. Based in the New York, NY and Westchester County, NY area, Stacie serves individual professionals and organizations in her area and all over the world.