The front of my refrigerator is a well-loved canvas. Crayon colored pictures cover nearly every bit of silver to be found – no doubt, a common scene for parents everywhere. However, in the upper left-hand corner, it holds a drawing of my own. It’s a simple picture of a house, family, and two words written down the sides of the roof: Kindness and Inner Strength. The words reflect two key values (or gifts) I wish to pass onto my daughter. Interestingly enough, these are the exact values I try to embody at work as both a consultant and manager. Two simple words that form the foundation of building resilience.

Resilience is the outcome of what happens when courage meets challenge. It’s the grit born after a fall – our ability to rise with renewed hope and to offer strength to those around us. Resilience is not something that can be taught, so much as earned. Throughout our careers and working lives, we will invariably find ourselves in times of challenge. Difficulties that appear unsurmountable. During these times, it becomes useful to remember that resilience only follows from a challenge. Below are some of the supportive steps I take during those difficult times:

Three Steps To Take To Build Resilience

  • Commitment and Care of Self: True masters of resilience (people who maintained equanimity and hope in the face of challenge) have developed a way to care and tend to themselves. Remember to prioritize yourself and be gentle along the way. Realize there is great power in caring and tending to your own needs – as this forms the basis to support others. Self-Care does not point to weakness, rather it builds strength within us that we can harness in good times and bad.
  • Cultivate a Depth of Awareness and An Ability to See Reality: Introspection and reflection, when combined with honesty and compassion, are powerful tools. The neuroscience behind mindfulness and meditation practices, along with non-judgmental awareness points to the power and effectiveness of such practices. To gain access to awareness, find a practice that supports contemplation and awareness building. Look to mentors and trusted colleagues to help identify your situation. Be honest about your strengths and look at your weaknesses as opportunities to grow. Challenging times tend to push us into the darker aspects of ourselves and/or our environments. See if you can view this as an opportunity to adapt and evolve. Trying times can even open doors to humility and compassion, allowing us to connect with others struggling through similar situations.
  • Be Diligent and Persistently Working Towards Change: Don’t. Give. Up. Resilience demands that we keep going, despite the challenge. Sometimes “not giving up” appears through bold, strong, and valiant efforts. Other times it presents itself in more subtle and quiet ways. Sometimes, not giving up is the gentle celebration of simply getting through a difficult day – and knowing that it was ok… That simply getting by was enough. Whatever your next step is, whether that is breathing and pausing, or finding the courage to push through – remember that this moment – is worth your time to explore, engage, and respond.

This difficulty.

This time.

Is vital to growth.

Remember: resilience cannot be earned without challenge. Challenge is needed to create resilience. Motivational support can be a real life-saver during these times. Be sure to use every tool at your disposal. Uplifting music, podcasts, supportive colleagues and friends, inspirational quotes, walks in nature, and exercise. Anything that lifts you, counts. Just remember – keep going. You can do it!


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