Resilience can be defined as the ability to bounce back, withstand, recover, and grow when faced with a difficulty. This is true whether you are recovering from a broken leg after a ski accident or bouncing back after failing an exam. The adage, “there is no success without failure”, is true. Success happens when we grow from mistakes and failures.
Workplace setbacks include experiencing a conflict with a peer, not being promoted, interviewing for a job and not getting it, or receiving negative performance feedback. These challenges can leave us feeling confused, upset, and full of self-doubt. Unfortunately, being in this vulnerable state can make it more difficult to look for the opportunity in the challenge, to feel empowered, to learn, and to adapt.
Consider the gifts and lessons learned from the global pandemic. Did you find new ways to get work done? When you are feeling stuck, look for the opportunity in the challenge, learn from mistakes, and find ways to adapt. Consider building resilience by:
- Assessing your current resilience levels and coping skills.
- Asking questions of yourself to hold yourself accountable.
- Focusing on what is within your control.
Siebert’s Resilience Inventory can be a useful tool to assess how resilient you are and where you might need some help, Resilience Inventory. A stress coping inventory can also be a useful way to measure your current coping mechanisms, such as Sinclair and Watson’s Brief Resilient Coping Scale.
Reflect and hold yourself accountable when facing a challenge. Use an ‘accountability ladder’ to identify realistic actions to take. Ask yourself, are things happening to you or are you able to do one thing to move toward what you want? Rather than allowing yourself to feel helpless, feel more powerful by thinking of one action you can take to move in that direction.
Focus on what is in your control. Separate what you are concerned about from what you are in control over by completing a “Circle of Control versus Circle of Concern Venn”. Once you identify those things within the circle of concern (things you worry about and out of your control) versus those things within your circle of control (things you can control), take actionable steps to do what you can to adapt and change.
Having a growth mindset means learning from mistakes and adapting to unexpected situations. Adapting sometimes means redirecting goals and finding new opportunities. Years ago, when I was rejected from a PhD program at UNC-Chapel Hill, I pivoted and graduated with a MSW instead. Changing my perspective led to achieving success through a different goal, although it felt like a failure at the time. How will you learn, grow, and empower yourself the next time you encounter an obstacle, setback or challenge?
“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” – Confucius
Elisa Enriquez is a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner and an outsourced ombuds with MWI and The McCammon Group. She is also a licensed clinical social worker offering virtual counseling and coaching services.