Boost Your Resiliency


This week I spent a day of Leadership Development Program discussing resiliency.   Resiliency is the ability to carry on in the face of adversity, similar to grit, and, as an earlier blog pointed out, resiliency is the antidote to stress.  Personal resiliency can lead to professional resiliency, which then leads to a resilient organization – an organization that is able to achieve its core objectives regardless of conditions.  Therefore, it’s in an organization’s best interest to help workers achieve resiliency on a personal and professional level.

Hard times come to everyone, yet everyone does not respond in the same way.  How we respond is likely a combination of upbringing, existing support, and genetic make-up, but is key in getting through the situation.  The book Motherless Daughters is full of very powerful and successful women who pushed through the death of their mother, becoming someone even stronger. In an article referring to the book, Kathleen Smith writes, “Grief changes you like an ominous Alice in Wonderland beverage. Big things grow bigger, and little things shrink from their former importance. “If I can get through this,” you say, “then nothing will be that difficult.”

“Hard Times Come Again No More”

As relayed in the historic American folk tune by Stephen Foster, there were many hard times, and the song documented the plight of the poor in America.  Adversity comes in many forms:  job loss, illness, disaster, death of a loved one, etc.  Adversity can be personal and/or professional, but certainly overlap between both aspects of our lives.  While the wish in the midst of adversity is to “fast forward” to a time beyond, important lessons and key strengths are learned by the process of working through adversity.

“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”

While most will recognize the heading as a Kelly Clarkson tune, it’s actually based on a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888.  There is truth to the phrase, since those who gut through adversity do end up learning skills for coping, and personal strength from persevering.

“Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again..”

The above song is another encouraging gutsy perseverance.  In the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner states: “Laws of nature do not make exceptions for nice people.  A bullet has no conscience; neither does a malignant tumor.  That is why good people get sick and get hurt as much as anyone.”  No one is exempt from bad times, which is why we all need to enhance resilience.

Six Tips to Enhance Resilience

  1. Get Connected.  Loved ones and friends provide key support in good times and bad times.  Develop these relationships now so when bad times come (and they come to all of us) you have a network to support you.
  2. Make Every Day Meaningful.  Find something to accomplish each day, even if it’s small.  Look forward to the future, and set goals to achieve.
  3. Learn From Experience.  I’m sure this isn’t your first pity-party, so how did you get through the down times last time?  Journaling about coping strategies can help you identify skills for future use, as well as help you work through feelings and frustrations.
  4. Remain Hopeful.  The past is over and done with, but the future is unknown and hopeful.  How do you want your life to proceed from this point?  Looking forward to change can reduce anxiety.
  5. Take Care Of Yourself.  It’s ok to pamper yourself a bit as you go through disappointment and grief.  Listen to your body and its need for sleep, healthy food, exercise, and outsie interests.  Stress management techniques such as outside, yoga, music, meditation, or other calming nurturing activities can provide an outlet for feelings.
  6. Be Proactive.  There may be options to improve your situation.  Figures out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action.  Change takes time, but if you keep taking baby steps, the traumatic incident will soon be behind you.

For additional tips, check out this article.  What are your experiences with setbacks, loss, trauma, or other hard times?  How did you get through?  What techniques did you use?  Please provide feedback in the comments.

Becky Latka is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Kitty Wooley

Becky, this is a completely fresh, useful take on resilience. I think it’s brilliant. Looking forward to reading your other posts.

John A

Working in my organisation, they specialise in adversity, so learning resilience is a multi-factorial ongoing process with most opting out before retirment. I can encompass change but not when it is always detrimental to outcomes. I must start entering those strong man contests. Seriously good article and my tips for getting through are
1. Don’t let the b**t**ds grind you down
2. Let let them know you care

Becky Latka

Stay strong, John!!! We’ve had “burn out” retirements also, so I can relate. One saying I like is “bloom where you are planted.”