Resilience

Resilience is a factor I had not built into my career wellness checkup, but after attending a seminar yesterday, I’m convinced I need to add it. Dr. Marnie Shanbhag, a licensed psychologist in the Orlando area, spoke about resilience – the characteristics and the effects of having it (or not). If there is any skill we cannot do without in this day and age, it’s resilience. Our work changes in innumerable ways both big and small on what seems like a daily basis. We live in a sea of uncertainty. This does not mean we must cling to our lifeboat, desperate for the winds to die down. We can do more than survive – we can thrive. But we can’t do it without resilience.

The good news is, it can be developed like a muscle. To build resilience, Dr. Marnie says we can do a number of things. A few are:

1. Accept change as part of living
2. Avoid seeing crisis as insurmountable
3. Compartmentalize
4. Do something small to keep moving toward your goal
5. Begin to understand your thinking (observe when strong emotions are triggered, look for themes in why you are upset, identify the underlying belief or fear)
6. Challenge your thinking

I learned that lack of resilience is marked by an outsized emotional reaction to a situation, generally followed by ineffective action (or no action). Even in those moments we can build our resilience muscle by using calming techniques such as deep breathing or mental distraction techniques such as mathematics or naming games, and then challenging our thinking. Good exercises for challenging our thinking: “a more accurate way of seeing this is…” and “that’s not true because…”

As our careers change ever more rapidly and we must play a more active role in steering them, resilience will become a crucial skill. Practice building yours today.

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4 comments

  1. Loved your blog on “Resilience.” Besides being crucial in careers, I learned from listening to Tampa Bays Rays player, Fernando Perez, that besides skill, talent, & luck…the only one quality that will make it or break it for an athlete to move forward is indeed, resilience. The ability to let things roll off of you. Another great quote regarding the theme of resilience was by head Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He texted his entire team right before a game against the Magic and wrote this, “He who angers you, owns you.” This is so true in any area of life. I’m very glad to see more focus put on the topic of resilience. Great job!

  2. I like this post as resilience is so important but so under-rated. We have resilience built into our appraisal system as a key characteristic so it does make you think about it but many don’t. The great thing is that it can be improved with self-awareness and practice.

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