Resilience is the ability to cope with adversity; crises; and negative or stressful events. Resilient people can adapt to changing, challenging situations and bounce back quicker than others when they suffer a setback. Furthermore, some of them learn from those experiences and even use them to their advantage.
We all have an element of emotional resilience that we use as a psychological tool to help us navigate our day-to-day life and protect us at difficult moments, but it often seems that some people have more than others. The good news is that resilience is a skill that can be developed and there are steps we can take to build our natural resources of it. If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that life can take a very sharp turn at any moment, making resilience not simply a great skill to have, but also the key to progressing in our careers.
Resilience in the workplace
As a recruiter in Hong Kong, it would have been easy to throw in the towel at many points during 2020 and walk away. The recruitment sector, the economy and then the whole global dynamic all changed in a matter of months. However, as someone that has tried to work on my resilience, it was important to recognise that many of those things were out of our control and that with a revised focus, the team could stay strong, adapt accordingly and continue doing what we do best. In fact, our team remained strong and is still in a phase of growth with several internal openings.
You can probably see that it’s particularly important for leaders to maintain high levels of resilience so that they can motivate their teams and drive the business forward during stressful periods. Many factors help them sustain their mental strength, including strong self-belief, their emotional intelligence (EQ) and an openness to change via a positive outlook. Resilient leaders also look after themselves physically and mentally, understanding the importance of recharging the batteries, having a solid support network and following a healthy lifestyle where they can. So, how can we all build our resilience and not let outside factors become excuses?
How to build resilience
There are a number of things we can do, whatever our level at work, to build our resilience and help us deal better with setbacks.
Learn from mistakes – go easier on yourself, particularly when outside events are out of your control. Acknowledge the wins, be proud of those, but see the mistakes as part of your development.
Keep a positive attitude – the law of attraction states that positive thoughts bring positive results, so, if like attracts like, then banish any negative mindset whenever you can. Accept those elements that you cannot change, rather than fight against them.
Believe in yourself and be proactive – have confidence in your ability and take control of situations rather than remain passive.
Adapt and prepare – assess what’s coming and build your strategy, rather than just ride on other people’s coattails.
Develop your EQ – recognise what affects you most and develop coping strategies in advance. It’s not about being unaffected by things, but instead having the skills to deal with any negative emotions.
Resilience in recruitment
In people-facing industries and roles, like recruitment, it’s important that negative emotions and setbacks don’t bring about poor decisions. There will always be challenges, moving goalposts and adversity, most of which is out of our control. But as someone who has tried to develop my resilience in recent years, there have been plenty of events and situations where I have been able to call upon my reserves and strategize against something that might once have derailed me.
When the market was tough, I reassessed my situation, saw the potential in Fintech and made it my focus. I did my research, equipped myself with the latest knowledge, stayed on top of everything in the sector until I became the go-to recruiter in the space. I also deal with adverse events differently these days, such as counteroffers. Instead of calling it quits, I rise to the challenge and don’t give up until I’ve done everything I can to get the candidate to reconsider! While these are isolated examples in just my job, and there are plenty of people much more resilient than me, adopting some of the principles as best I can have changed my outlook on work, improved my mental wellbeing, and helped me solve problems more effectively. I hope they can help you too.