Resilience. You’ve likely heard the term before but when things are going well, it’s not something most people give much thought to. But the world has changed and each of us are adapting to new challenges and perhaps, for the first time, giving more serious through to what it really means to build resilience.
How do I get it?
Resilience doesn’t mean being happy all the time or having it all together. It’s really more about having the tools and ability to adapt and overcome challenges. When experiencing change that is out of your control, look for the new opportunities it’s presenting you with (you might have to dig, but they are there).
Adaptability is the new stickability
Adaptability is certainly the critical piece in the resilience puzzle. If we have the capacity to change, adapt and grow in new environments, our sense of wellbeing and purpose can flourish.
The ability to re-invent yourself is going to be the key to success for most of us in the coming months and years. In relationships, our career and everyday life, resilience is about embracing the idea that constant change, transition and evolution is not just good, but critical for ongoing relevance and survival. Where ‘stickability’ and the expectation of lifelong loyalty used to be a key competency in the careers and relationships of old, ‘adaptability’ has now become a more valuable asset.
My career has had many incarnations over the past two decades, and before every transformation there was a pivotal moment where I’d decide to be adaptable and take a risk, back myself, and jump into the unknown armed with two critical things: confidence and courage. One of my earliest bold career moves involved leaving the corporate world to start my own consulting business. Competing with worldwide consulting firms, my business partner and I pitched our tiny company services to a massive global client, and won the business.
More recently I presented myself to Channel Nine as a potential expert for MAFS when no opening existed, and landed the gig. My last move involved making the strategic choice to step away from the label ‘psychologist’ which allowed me more freedom, scope and autonomy in my career as a media commentator, writer, and specialist in human behaviour and performance.
Bounce-back and bounce higher
The key lesson I have taken from putting myself out there – sometimes successfully and sometimes spectacularly badly – is that I have the skills to bounce back. And so do you. Through sheer trial and error, I have proven to myself that even if I fail, I WILL recover. Failure is just feedback in disguise.
‘Bounce-backability’ should be the new criteria for any business awards. With the constant evolution of industry and the ongoing impact of the tech revolution, traditional jobs are changing and, in some cases, becoming extinct. Not only do we need to learn how to quickly recover from downswings, but how to bounce-back even higher than before.
We have to take our competencies, amplify them and shift the context to test ourselves and our career resilience capability.
A stagnant life is a life not lived
According to the principals of positive psychology, to flourish is to find fulfilment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the ‘good life’ (Seligman, 2011). Women who succeed today are those who take their core competencies and morph them into new forms and contexts. It takes real confidence to apply your existing skill-set in a new and unfamiliar context – fear of failure is often high – but this is where authentic adaptability meets courage. And the result? Success.
Top 6 tips for building resilience.
Create a growth mindset.
Hold the belief that your capabilities, intelligence and contribution can be improved over time.
Examine your strengths.
Are you currently leveraging them every day in your career or relationships? If not, where might you find an opportunity to do so?
Act like you ARE.
Start stepping into the identity of the new career or life phase you want, even before you're ready.
Invest in a high value mentor.
Someone who has already trod the road you are walking – someone who can challenge you, nurture you, lift you up and give you a push when you need it.
Surround yourself with people who are smarter, more successful and more driven than you.
The process of social facilitation is strong and essentially, it will rub off on you.
Set up a monthly check-in date with yourself.
Ask yourself: Am I too comfortable? If my environment has changed, have I shifted with it? Do I need to move in order to keep flourishing? Am I experiencing positive emotion every day? Do I still get so engrossed in my work that time becomes irrelevant? Are my professional relationships positive and enriching? Am I still working toward a core value of higher sense of purpose in my role? Do I get enough opportunities to feel a deep sense of accomplishment?
Mel Schilling is a courageous game-changer and human behavior specialist. With 20 years of experience as a psychologist, 10 years as a success coach, and five years as an expert on Channel Nine’s Married at First Sight, Mel uses her extensive knowledge about personal development, relationships, and the psychology of success to make a positive impact in women’s lives.