Resilient Business, Resilient Self - Part 2 of 2


  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. says RESILIENCE is the process of being able to adapt well and bounce back quickly in times of stress. It involves developing thoughts, behaviors, and actions that allow you to recover from traumatic or stressful events in life.

In our most recent blog post, I covered the qualities of businesses that are resilient - that survive and grow - even in the event of an economic recession. One thing is clear... part of what makes a company resilient is having a leader that is resilient, and in this post I'm going to cover resilience as a personal skill, what it is and how to build it up.


Heroes would never be heroes if they weren’t given a challenge to rise to!

Psychologist Susan Kobasa says resilient people:

    • View difficulties as challenges; not as paralyzing. And mistakes as lessons; not as negative reflections on self-worth. (Martin Seligman – one of the founders of Positive Psychology – said “the way we explain setbacks to ourselves is important.”)
    • Have 3 things: commitment to their lives (work, relationships, causes, etc), goals, and a compelling why
    • Focus on things they can control, put effort where they can have an impact

Resilience is a skill that can be developed... it’s NOT the case that you either have it or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’re out of luck. Everyone can develop this skill. 

We are experiencing some challenges now, and this will not be the last time. So, having the skill of resilience will serve you now and continually in your future.

Challenges are like most things in life... not all good or all bad. We view challenges as bad because they're uncomfortable, we have to struggle through them, put in extra effort to get through, and sometimes experience pain through the struggle, BUT... challenges are also the ONLY way to know what you’re capable of. If you're comfortable, you're probably not growing.

Tchiki Davis, PHD at Berkely Wellbeing Institute says you can develop resilience by doing these 4 things

    • Stop negative thought cycles (thinking about negative outcomes or how you could've done things differently) – letting those thought cycles run will create well-worn pathways in your brain... which is not helpful for you.


    • Stop them not by thinking your way out... but by doing something physical – focus on something else... go for run, yoga, deep breathing, jump in some water... it doesn’t have to be physical, but those do work really well.


    • Ask Questions
      • What else could happen?
      • What’s working now for me or others?
      • What could I learn that could be helpful?


    • Don’t let fear hold you back – that’s the opposite of resilience
      • Trade the word fear for challenge... then remember the times you’ve been challenged before, where you succeeded, and think about how you succeeded, what helped you, and visualize yourself succeeding in this new challenge.
      • Remember a past challenge... and describe the benefits of having gone through it (how you grew or what you learned). Do this consistently and you’ll train your brain to think in this way. 


Bonus tip: Any time you are struggling emotionally, try to think of the situation from someone else's perspective instead of your own, like you are watching it as a fly on the wall.  (This generally helps lessen the intensity of your emotions and allows you to think in a new way, which means you could also have new ideas or solutions you wouldn’t otherwise have.)  How would an observer evaluate the situation, would an observer understand why you're upset, and is there another perspective to consider?


Dr. Cal Crow - Program Director at Center for Learning Connections says resilient people:

    • Think about a positive image of the future
    • Have goals and desire to achieve them
    • Have empathy and compassion (maintain healthy relationships but don’t give in to peer pressure)
    • NEVER have a victim mindset but focus on what they CAN do


Improvement in your resilience corresponds to higher levels of global improvement.

John F. Kennedy said “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and though he was talking about the economy, funny enough, it applies to personal growth and resilience, too. I believe the psychologists are saying that, by improving your resilience, you can improve many facets of your wellbeing. It’s like resilience is the tide and your success and wellness are boats.

Remember, your resilience - or lack of it - also affects those around you. Practicing resilience has a positive impact on your entire life and the networks you belong to...your family, community, business, and others who may need your example.

Other ways to Develop Resilience (from a variety of sources): 
Recognize signs of stress in yourself - Practice thought awareness - Accept that change is part of life - Keep things in perspective - Build physical hardiness - Strengthen relaxation response, be able to calm your body and mind - Identify and use your strengths - Increase positive emotions daily - Engage in meaningful activities - Question unhelpful thinking - Think about the good that could happen - Be part of a caring community - Ask for help when you need it - Avoid negative outlets or escapism - Keep moving toward your goals, even if tiny steps - Look for opportunities for self-discovery - Meditate - Cultivate forgiveness - Develop your problem-solving skills - Continue to grow your skills in general - Develop a sense of humor.


written by Amiee Mueller

edited by Gloria Otto

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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