Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

What characterizes resilient people?

You (suddenly) get fired, your boss unexpectedly criticises you during a meeting or an important client informs you that he is switching to a competitor. At work you are confronted with small and large problems every day. People react differently when something similar happens to them. Some people experience such difficult situations as a threat and are immediately taken by surprise. Feelings of helplessness and stress arise because they feel that their actions to do something about the situation are worthless. They exhibit (ineffective) behavior such as: passivity, defeat, anger and complaining.

Resilience is when people are able to look ahead quickly in the event of a setback. In the new reality they find new ways to give meaning to their lives.

Developing resilience

In “How to Bounce Back from Adversity” (2014), published by Harvard Business Review, Joshua D. Margolis and Paul G. Stoltz discuss the development of resilience. The authors distinguish four perspectives that are important when dealing with setbacks:

  • Control: do you look at the causes in a crisis, or do you manage to see what you can do about it?
  • Impact: can you resist the temptation to find the causes in yourself or others, and look at the positive effects that your actions will cause?
  • Influence: do you assume that a crisis can be handled, or do you have the idea that a crisis cannot be avoided?
  • Duration: how long do you think the setback will have an effect on your life?

By reacting actively and by focusing on solutions, you can further develop your resilience! The next time you experience a setback, ask yourself the following questions:

Resilience is not something unusual. Everyone has resilience. Improving your resilience starts with having self-knowledge. If you know yourself, you know what your qualities and pitfalls are, what problems you encounter and when you don’t have the answers to certain problems. If you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can face future setbacks more confidently and better. Get started and develop your resilience!

Need help?

If you’ve been gloomy for a while and you don’t think it’s going to be better, it’s time for action. Improving and developing your resilience is not something that just happens. It is a process that is characterized by trial and error. Sometimes it is wise to be coached in this process. This can be your supervisor or HR advisor, but it is also possible to talk to an external coach. They can support you when you are struggling.

How resilient are you?

Tags: resilience
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Ard Van Oosten

I am a psychiatrist trained in business management and researcher. My heart goes out to talent development. I connect knowledge of the brain with leadership and offer tools for personal growth and development.

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