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4 tips for building resilience as a powerful career tool

More than your education, your experience or your skill level, studies show that the way in which you respond and adapt to adversity can determine how successful you’ll be.

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As Darwin once said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable.”

More than your education, your experience or your skill level, studies show that the way in which you respond and adapt to adversity can determine how successful you’ll be. 

Challenging as I know it is, the Coronavirus is the perfect opportunity to take a long hard look at your own resilience and take steps to improve. Are you taking these current challenges day-by-day? Are you seeing setbacks as an opportunity to improve? Are you able to stay motivated despite all this uncertainty? Resilient jobseekers will share common personality traits that will likely make their answers yes. For more on what makes a resilient jobseeker take a look at this short vlog

Yes, some of us are lucky enough to be born with these qualities. In fact, research has found that around 40% of resilience is determined by biological factors. But that leaves 60% to play with, and all sorts of solid research on how to do so. 

Here are just four practical steps to get you started: 

Practise looking at setbacks through the lens of opportunity: Resilient people don’t only adapt, they turn rejections or setbacks into opportunities to learn and grow – what is known as a growth mindset. Those without this mindset tend to ruminate, taking each rejection personally and finding themselves unable to move past a cycle of negative thoughts.  

One way to break this cycle is by getting thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Rather than ruminate, reflect on the setback. What could you have done differently? What specific lessons can you learn? How can you apply these to your next move? By physically writing these constructive thoughts down you’ll find it easier to move past rejection. 

Build relationships that boost your resilience: The people that you choose to have around you can have a big impact on your own resilience. Make time for those that emit optimism and positivity and think carefully about those that can feed your less resilient habits. This applies to friends and acquaintances, but it also relates to professional role models and mentors. 

One-on-one coaching or mentoring can be another hugely effective way to boost resilience. And building this sort of relationship can just as easily be done from a distance. Calls, emails and virtual meetings can be just as good in providing reassurance and boosting your resilience during challenging times. 

Cultivate calm and self-compassion: Looking after yourself with quality sleep, regular exercise and proper nutrition is clearly a major contributor to physical and mental health. But people that stick to these sorts of healthy habits tend to feel more resilient too. Just as important is incorporating some element of conscious calm in your day via a mindfulness practise. This doesn’t have to be meditation – take a look here for a great alternative using just your tongue – but it should bring you back to the present moment and help cultivate a sense of calm to take you through your day. 

Fake it: OK, this one can seem a little controversial. But there is good science that backs up the idea that by projecting strength and resilience, even when we don’t quite feel so optimistic, we can actually cultivate the real thing. Practise maintaining your composure around others and take on the role as the optimistic and resilient group leader. By doing so you just might trick your brain into believing its own hype.   

Life might be extra challenging for many of us right now but that shouldn’t mean surrendering to those negative voices in our head. Use this current period of uncertainty to build up supplies of resilience and keep your goals and aspirations on track. 

For a more in-depth look at your own resilience take a look at this training course from The Resilience Institute and then feel free to get in touch with me to gain insights on your results. In my one-on-one coaching sessions we can take create a tailored plan of practical strategies to boost your resilience and ensure you’re in the best possible position to achieve your career goals, no matter what obstacles come along. 

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