Personal Development Toolbox

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What Does Resilience Mean to You?


Certain words seem to be popular at different times. They’re used as buzz words, meant to encourage us to focus on specific aspects of our health, wellbeing and performance. Resilience is the latest of these words, but what do you understand by it, what does resilience mean to you?

Many of us regard resilience as being about tenacity, durability, coping with ‘the heat’ and being ready and able to bounce back. Perspective is an important aspect of resilience, seeing hurdles as stepping-stones and not treating them as barriers or stumbling blocks. The way we view problems is significant; if we feel overwhelmed or defeated we’re not going to be as positive about a good outcome, maybe even question if it’s worthwhile continuing. Nurturing a good outlook is crucial to keeping going.

But equally resilience is about recognising when a break is needed, when it’s time to recharge the batteries or even switch off for a while. When we read statistics reporting that 2 million workers, or one in fourteen, failed to take their full holiday allowance in the UK and that £32 billion of unpaid overtime was worked (TUC surveys, 2019) it’s time to exercise a little concern about how much resilience we expect our employees to have and question whether we’re fully supportive of them. Also, how much do we support ourselves as managers or business owners.

Here are some positive tips to support better resilience;

– Belief is a key component in resilience. Belief in yourself, that you’re strong enough and can come through tough situations. Belief that things happen for a reason, that you’ll learn from the experience and grow as a consequence. And belief that by sticking with ‘the plan’ things will work out in the end.

– But equally, set yourself realistic goals. Yes, stretching yourself is important, but resilience is also about being fair and realistic with yourself. What else is going on in your life, is this a good time to take on extra pressure or challenges? Do you need to re-evaluate what you’ve committed to? Should you have a rethink due to limited resources?

– Pay attention to how you treat problems and setbacks. Cultivate a positive outlook where you regard blips as opportunities to test yourself and enhance your skills. Be pragmatic and avoid reacting or making a drama out of what’s going on. Might it be a good time to question your approach, delegate to someone more skilled in a particular area, undergo some additional training? But equally accept that sometimes things don’t work out. They’re not meant to be or maybe it’s not the right direction for you to go in. That’s a valuable lesson too. Avoid taking things personally; it’s rarely about you.

– Appreciate diversions and detours as opportunities to explore new avenues and directions. Sometimes they’ll lead to amazing and unexpected experiences that contribute significantly to your growth and future career. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be both scary and exhilarating at the same time. It stops us from becoming complacent.

– Appreciate your team, whether it’s at work, home or in your social life, and be sure to treat them well. Having good people around you is important and supports your resilience. They provide space for you to discuss your concerns, talk through ideas and maybe suggest viable alternatives. Fun distractions can provide a valuable break, forcing you to forget work and have time away from the coal face.

– Appreciate yourself. Stop and say ‘well done’ sometimes. Have times when you reflect on how far you’ve come, how much you’ve achieved. Anniversaries or New Year can be especially good for this, even when there are no tangible results to show. Respect and give yourself credit for having a go, making the effort and putting yourself out there.

– Appreciate your health. It’s easy to take health for granted, but it’s important to pay attention to good nourishment and nutrition, quality sleep, exercise and breaks. Look after yourself by tuning in to how you’re feeling. Are you dealing well with stress? How you manage stress has a significant bearing on your ability to be resilient.

– Don’t wait till everything’s in place, tried and tested or perfect. Resilience is about movement, taking action. It’s about having a go-ahead approach to life and seeing the opportunities each situation offers. And, once started, it’s often interesting to see how the pieces all start falling into place.

– But also be prepared to make tough decisions if required. Be firm about what’s right for you. It can be tempting to say, ‘yes’ to everything when you’re in business, but taking on too much, or the wrong kind of work can cause more problems than it solves. Saying ‘no’ can sometimes be positive and liberating, freeing you to focus on your specific skills, talents and business or career path.

– Be receptive to new opportunities and be ready to say, ‘yes’ on occasion. ‘Yes’ can take you to unexpected places, test your resilience in a positive way, open new doors and remind you why you do what you do!

When you cultivate resilience as a positive part of your approach to life you’ll find that your health, wellbeing and happiness levels improve as a consequence.

Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She’s author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit

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