The word resilience has become part of our daily language. Many people I’ve met over the past year are in a state of shock. Unsure quite how they’ve ended up in this position. They’ve never been unemployed. Suddenly they’ve lost their jobs, their status, work friendships and their reason to get up in the morning. They’re now fighting to be seen in a hugely competitive job market. All they can do is keep on trying.
What does resilient mean?
‘Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.’Definition from Oxford Languages
People often talk about resilience as bouncing back, but to me it’s actually about bouncing forward – learning from challenges and adversity, getting stronger and more able to face hard times in the future.
Resilience starts with your mindset. Whilst you don’t have control over everything that happens in your life, you do have control over how you choose to view it.
How do you increase your resilience?
Here are 5 resilience boosting tips to help you move forward:
- Become more self aware
When you’re faced with a challenge recognise how it makes you feel. If you’re feeling stressed and anxious what affect is it having on your body? Is your heart beating faster? Are your palms sweaty? Is your stomach in knots? Where in your body are you feeling the anxiety?
By taking a moment to notice the impact of the feeling you can start to focus on changing it. Do what works for you. It might be a breathing exercise, listening to music, going for a run, getting out into nature, cooking or journaling. Find an activity that calms you and helps you to regain control.
- Reframe the challenge
Notice the negative thoughts that come into your head. If you think “I can’t do it!” you’re going to feel disheartened, like there’s no point in even trying. If you tell yourself “There’s no point in applying for this job. Hundreds of people who are more successful/experienced are going to apply.” You will start to feel like you’re worthless. So you won’t apply. You won’t get the job.
Catch those negative thoughts. Think about how you can reframe them positively. “Yes, there may be hundreds of people applying for a job. They only need one person. If you apply you may be the person that they’re looking for. If you don’t apply you won’t get the job anyway, so you have nothing to lose by applying.” You start to feel that maybe you can do it. Your resilience builds. You take action.
- Explore opportunities creatively
Recently I was providing career coaching for a client who was struggling with their job search. She kept scrolling through jobs on LinkedIn, not applying for anything. She was flitting between different job titles, not really knowing which direction she wanted to go in.
Her mind was going around in circles and it was keeping her up at night. She felt like she’d never find a job. She was exhausted, demotivated and ready to give up.
We took a creative approach, visualising what role she’d like to be doing when she retired. She was surprised by the outcome of the coaching conversation. Her ideal job wasn’t at all what she’d expected it to be. She realised that she’d progressed from one role to another without a clear goal of what she wanted to achieve in life.
Once she had that clarity she could see how she could get there and which roles would lead her to that point. Suddenly she was motivated. She recognised that there would be obstacles to achieving her goal, but she perceived them differently. They were challenges to overcome and learn from, rather than barriers to stop her.
Creative approaches can help you to think differently, making connections between seemingly unrelated things. When we’re creative our brain stimulates alpha waves. Alpha brain waves help to obstruct habitual ways of thinking encouraging more ingenious thoughts. Therefore, when we’re creative we’re more resourceful, and problem solve in new, innovative ways.
- Build your confidence
When we’re lacking in resilience we start to focus on our weaknesses, which eats away at our confidence. So think about what you can do. Sometimes it’s useful to talk to others, as we’re often our own worst critic. Other people will be much more able to identify your strengths.
Reflect on when you’ve overcome challenges. What did you do? How did that make you feel? What can you learn from that?
A really simple way of building your confidence is by adding the word yet. If you think, “I can’t do it yet” it changes your mindset and opens it up to possibilities.
- Celebrate your small successes
Recognise your achievements on your way towards your goals. Often we focus on a goal and once we’ve achieved it we’re straight onto the next goal, without taking a moment to reward ourselves.
For example, many of the jobseekers I’ve spoken to have been focused on applying for jobs. Once they’ve been accepted for an interview their focus is on the interview. If they get the job their next concern is the salary negotiation – they forget to celebrate each stage. Take time to congratulate yourself, being shortlisted is a big achievement in itself. Reaching out to your network, signing up to a course, updating your LinkedIn profile – are all accomplishments.
When you brush your teeth at night reflect on one achievement you made that day. This helps your brain to start searching for other successes and it means you go to bed focusing on the positives.