What it means
Resilience is how well we adapt to challenging circumstances and bounce back from setbacks. It is the mindset and skill that led Thomas Edison to make 1,000 attempts before finally inventing the light bulb, commenting: "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." Resilience is just as vital of a skill in our modern workplace as it was for Edison, and fortunately, it can be learned and developed over time.
Resilience in the workplace is becoming increasingly important as work, and the environment in which we accomplish it, are becoming more and more fast-paced and demanding. You can think of resilience as a tank that you fill with resourceful behaviors and mindsets. When a challenging event hits, if your resilience tank is full, it will help you cope.
Why it matters
It protects us from the effects of stress. Resilient people cope better with stress, therefore preserving their health and wellbeing. In a study conducted on 2063 individuals, resilience had a protective effect from depression, sleep loss, absenteeism, and burnout.
It enhances productivity at work. Failing is part of any job. Resilient teams are more likely to bounce back from failure, especially when working on a long-lasting, complex, and challenging project.
It enables us to move forward in life despite adversity. Resilience is the muscle we flex to be able to move on when things get rough. Whether it is a loss, an illness or a layoff, resilience allows us not only to recover from but also to minimize the impact of a stressful event on our health and wellbeing. .
Beliefs that show it’s a strength
- There are always struggles in life, but they hold the best opportunities to learn and grow.
- I find ways to bounce back from difficult situations by leaning on my support group or recharging with activities I love.
- Downtime to learn and reflect is as important as effort-time.
- It’s okay, and often necessary, to fail on the path toward success.
Beliefs that show it’s a growth area
- I will never be able to recover from this setback.
- I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost my job.
- I wish I could live on a deserted island and avoid all these problems and stressors.
- Failure is risky; I would rather play it safe than make a mistake and have to take the blame for it.
Tips to maximize it
The secret to resilience lies in the recovery periods outside of the stressful periods. Like a warrior needs rest after a battle, we need to allow ourselves to recharge our social connection and self-care batteries. Create quality recovery time. For example, spend time with your friends, go out into nature, take breaks at work, or go on a digital detox for a weekend.
Work on your mindset toward adversity.
Coming to terms with the idea that life will require you to change and evolve will help you redirect your energy from asking “why me?” toward “what lemonade can I make with these lemons?”
Reframe your experience around failure
In a TED Talk about failure, Dr. Brené Brown explains that failing is part of any process, whether it is to building a tech product or to learning how to be a TED speaker. Reframing your understanding of failure turns it into a necessary steps on the way to success.
Keep the end goal/purpose in mind.
Working toward a goal, a priority, an objective, or a vision gives us the motivation to persevere against the odds. Having a visual reminder of your goals, on a piece of paper or a digital note, can help you anytime you feel you need extra motivation to keep going.
Social connections are key.
How do we fill our resilience tank? There are many things we can do to practice resilience, but studies show that the most important contributor to resilience is social connections with our family, friends and other circles.