How Building Resilience Can Help Your Career

Not only can you bounce back from adversity, you can also become better for it.

How Building Resilience Can Help Your Career

Tips for building resilience.

You probably know someone who is resilient. They are the person who seems to “bounce back” when others seem defeated by a setback. They “take things in stride” when faced with changes that derail co-workers. Is building resilience on your to-do list? Which of these situations have you experienced at work:

  • Your boss quits and her replacement is making lots of changes in your office.
  • You lose a big contract that you had been counting on.
  • A co-worker has moved on to another job, and your boss expects you to pick up his work without a promotion or additional pay.

If you’ve faced these or other challenging work scenarios, how did you feel? And, more importantly, how did you react? Did it upset you and interfere with your work? Were you distracted by how and why it happened? Or did you shake it off and go about your day?

The key to handling challenges at work and in your personal life depends on how resilient you are. Let’s look at what makes people resilient and how building resilience can help you in your career.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is what helps you cope with adversity, stress, and disappointment. When you lack resilience, you are easily overwhelmed and exhibit behaviors that prevent you from working through the situation. These include reliving a problem over and over in your head, feeling victimized, or using unhealthy coping behaviors like drinking or over-eating.

The aim of building resilience is not to shut off your normal feelings of pain, anger, or disappointment, but it does allow you to keep functioning normally and come out of the situation with your sense of purpose and self-worth intact. People who are highly resilient not only overcome a bad situation, they learn and grow from it. Some call that “thriving, not just surviving.”

Resilience Is a Collection of Skills

You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it. Building resilience comes from learning a skill set that includes:

  • Interpreting adverse events for what they are. Not catastrophizing. Staying in the now.
  • Being persistent in times of turmoil.
  • Maintaining a clear set of goals and having a sense of purpose.
  • Seeing the bigger picture and realizing that difficult events are a regular part of life.
  • Regulating emotions.
  • Remaining connected to others.

Building Resilience Is Important for Career Success

Everyone encounters stress, disappointment, and failure in life and at work. Resilience allows you to stay the course during challenging situations and continue to function, especially at work. Building resiliency enables you to:

  • Meet the demands of your job, stay on track with large projects, and meet deadlines.
  • Take action to improve or resolve the situations that you can change and learn from the things you have no control over.
  • Recognize when to seek support and help from your boss, co-workers, and mental health professionals.
  • Foster positive collaborative relationships with colleagues by maintaining your function in team settings.
  • Position yourself for leadership roles.

How to Build Resilience at Work and in Life

The good news is that anyone can learn how to build resilience. It’s like developing a muscle. The more you practice and work on it, the stronger it becomes. To build muscle, you lift weights, eat a high-protein diet, and drink lots of water. Along the same lines, these six universally accepted practices will build your resilience.

1. Connect With Others

Social engagement will help you to stay grounded. Join after-work groups like a golf league or volunteer to coordinate or participate in a corporate charity event. Small things can also have an impact on others as well as yourself. Tell people why you appreciate them. Take time to get to know people. Really listen and make eye contact during conversations.

2. Maintain Self-Awareness

When you are self-aware, you can feel when you might be going off the rails and put yourself back on track. Get to know your strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, so you can be proactive and replace negativity with healthy thoughts. Keep things in perspective. Tell yourself you are not helpless. Rather than thinking over and over about the problem, try expressive writing to release your thoughts and emotions.

3. Care for Your Body and Mind

You need to keep your body healthy to ensure your mind is at its best. Eat well, exercise, and sleep. Self-care also means self-compassion. Practice ways to quiet your mind and feed your spirit with yoga, meditation, breath, or play. Schedule time each day for a self-compassion break.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Be fully present in the moment and engaged in the task at hand. Recognize when a thought or an outside force is not relevant or is intrusive and tune it out. You might think you’re being productive when you multitask. But more often, you’re giving all those things only a partial effort for partial results. Do one thing at a time. Turn off your phone while working. Tune out sounds that distract you with white noise. To experience how mindfulness feels, try this body scan.

5. Find Meaning

Do something every day that you can start and finish in a short amount of time. It will give you a sense of accomplishment that will feed your energy center. Consider how your job or your part of a project is significant to the overall program. Take a break during a complex or lengthy project to note what is going well, what needs to be improved, and what part you can impact.

6. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Know that even if something doesn’t turn out the way you planned, you can always learn something – even if that lesson is not to do that thing again! The word “setback” is just that. It makes you take a step back and reset what you were trying to do. Know that hard work is more important than natural talent, and learning is more important than approval. The process is worth more than the end result. An exercise that can teach you how to internalize these concepts is finding silver linings.

Building Resilience Can Help You to Find Great Jobs

Losing a job is hard. Looking for a job is stressful. Starting a new job is challenging. Do you see how building resilience can help you through each of these situations? We sure understand this at Monster! We want to make sure you survive and thrive in your career. The first thing you can focus on and complete from start to finish in a short amount of time is your Monster profile! Fill out yours, and your resume will be in front of recruiters and employers who are looking for someone resilient just like you.