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7 Key Components For Building Resilience

Both in work and in life, resilience is the ability to rise above the struggles and set-backs and keep moving forward. In this article, Executive Coach Sylvia Hepler shares her insight into the core qualities that build resilience. Which of these qualities do you already possess and which qualities do you need to improve?

Resilience wears many faces: the manager who finally rights relationships with key staff after making big mistakes; the new CEO who keeps plugging away while being tried by fire; the salesperson who finally learns the secret to selling; the working mom who cares for her sick children during the night; the family who rebuilds their house after a fire. These examples demonstrate resilience in the real world.  

How do you know if YOU are resilient?  See if you have the following attributes when problems bombard you:  


Resilient people bounce back after disasters, shocks, disappointments, struggles, conflicts, and loss.  Refusing to be beaten, they're like kids who fall off a bike and climb on again.  Memories of a bad experience?  Of course.  But anticipation of great things yet to come overshadows the negative.  Hope for something different and better lies in rebound ability.  


Resilience involves a certain amount of mental, emotional, and physical toughness.  This form of toughness leads to durability.  It allows a person to resist the permanent devastation of strain in the same way a bullet bouncing off a law enforcement officer's metal vest saves his/her life.  Durability results from choosing to expend energy in ways that promote healing, facilitate recovery, and preserve sanity.  There is power in exercising strength.  This power gives resilient people greater personal control.  


In general resilient individuals are well grounded psychologically and spiritually.  It's hard for people to stay intact if they aren't intact before crisis hits.  Imagine trying to locate an inn along a dark country road without an address or phone number.  To cope with difficulties people need to be sure of who they are during stable, more normal times.  Such grounding provides a map for finding one's way back to center after serious challenge, loss, frustration, or pain.  


Resilience includes a little or a lot of humor.  The ability to be in the middle of a situation—or at the end of it—and perceive the amusing elements of it is a gift.  Understanding how comical the human condition really is allows folks to see something funny even in a tragedy.  While there may not be anything funny about a relative's funeral, there could be some tiny incident, some story, some remark that is funny and stands a part from the sadness like a fleck of silver glitter on a sheet of black paper.  


One of the best ways to stock the resiliency bank is to learn to adjust to various circumstances rather than resist them.  Resistance often brings breakage.  People don't have to like their problems, but they may want to start embracing them instead of fighting them.  With fighting and resisting comes rigidity, and this serves no one.  Flexibility implies elasticity, a willingness to flow with whatever happens.  Flexible people get sick less and suffer less in the long run.  


When people are open to possibility, they know that all problems have the potential to enhance personal and professional growth.  Painful as they may be, the challenges of life shape us one way or another.  Why not allow them to mature us, soften us, strengthen us, and remake us into better, more capable human beings?  No one ever completes the growing process during a lifetime.  Each of us is constantly evolving.  To view problems, pain, and loss as opportunities is a sign of moving forward along that continuum.  


Resilient people feel thankful for every event in their lives:  the good and joyful as well as the negative and upsetting.  They grasp the fact that all of these together serve as necessary teachers.  A grateful heart can be cultivated over time if folks don't have one naturally.  It's worth the effort too, because bitterness cannot coexist with gratitude.  Gratitude refreshes the human spirit, gives room for hope, and smooths away rough edges.  

The biggest benefits from developing resilience?  Fewer emotional scars.  Less anger and fatigue.  Enhanced health and deeper joy.  New skills.  And yesFind Article, job preservation perhaps over and over again.  There's a significant price to pay for leaving resilience out of one's toolbox.    

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Sylvia Hepler, Owner and President of Launching Lives, LLC, is an executive coach based in South Central PA.  Her ideal clients are persons in management positions:  corporate, nonprofit, and business owners.  Her company mission is to support executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.  Sylvia offers three programs, any of which may overlap depending on client need:  First Class Management Program; Change, Loss, and Grief Program; and Career Development Program.  Her professional background includes:  extensive nonprofit management/leadership, public speaking, business writing, retail sales, and teaching.

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