To be resilient, must you have faced a major failure, life setback or constant daily challenges? The answer is no, so I’ve learned. Everyone is faced with some type of adversity in their life – Some just in smaller doses than others. I’ve often asked myself, does it make me less resilient if I’ve never had to overcome a major life setback or tragedy? Do I have a lower level of resilience because I’ve never had to live paycheck to paycheck or work 3 jobs to provide for my family? I have wrestled with this concept for quite some time. Is it possible for me to be as resilient as people who have battled back from a near death injury, or received a college scholarship after once failing out of school, or lead a successful corporate company after spending time in the military? How can I find my own resilience and be proud of it? I believe the key part of that last question is “find my own.” I have learned that I need to stop comparing my level of resilience to others.

Most often, we think of resilience as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Can resilience also be a type of strength where you don’t allow yourself to fall into a rut because you constantly maintain a positive outlook, perform at a high level and persistently adapt and evolve?

I admire those who have bounced back from major life challenges and adversities. I’m in awe and inspired by stories of great resilience. However, I also have great admiration for individuals who show their resilience by being fiercely committed and by demonstrating great consistency in terms of their work ethic, their positive mindset, their passion and their energy.

Some specific examples of this type of resilience that I perceive include:

  • Waking up at 5:00 am to exercise before class five days a week
  • Maintaining a clean home with four kids
  • Staying up late to study five days a week for a full semester
  • Putting in two hours of work every morning prior to work hours so that you can devote time to helping your employee’s
  • Maintaining a positive attitude while working in customer service
  • Holding a 4.0 grade point average

I believe you can find resilience through diligence. I also believe resilience is something you can build and develop. Here are some strategies that should help you increase your resilience.

  1. Have a Positive Mindset
    • Negativity will never help. Certainly, it’s important to maintain a realistic attitude – but realism and optimism go well together!
    • If I find myself having negative thoughts, I like to remind myself of my role models who are consistently positive and I try to emulate them.
  2. Take Care of Yourself
    • Treat yourself well. Life happens once. Others can help motivate you, but you’re the one who needs to commit to yourself. Set goals, stick to your daily winning habits, maintain discipline and be productive.
    • I find that when I commit to these things, it gives me confidence in other areas of my life. I feel so great on a Friday night when I’ve committed to my health, my fitness and my work for the entire week.
  3. Take Ownership
    • Be personally accountable. Own your mistakes. Live by your values. Make good decisions and hold yourself to certain standards. If you do make a mistake, which you will, then own it. You will gain more respect if you communicate up front rather than after the fact.
    • Be aware of team rules and standards. Often, there are “unwritten” rules or expectations. When I make business decisions, I aim to always have my company values and standards in mind.
  4. Control What You Can Control
    • Avoid EXCUSE-MAKING! It’s so easy to place the blame elsewhere when things don’t go your way. You need to train yourself to look inward first. What could you have done differently? What changes can you make?
    • I try not to let the weather affect my mindset or my performance. It’s out of my control.
  5. Avoid Complacency
    • It’s important to be okay with failure. To avoid complacency, you must challenge yourself. If you consistently challenge yourself, moments of failure will occur – but overcoming these moments will help you build resiliency.
    • Earlier in my career, I interviewed for a role I thought was perfect for me. I did not get the job, however I learned so much about interview preparation, advocate communication and professional presence from the experience.
    • If you are in a role where you are not being challenged, then ask for help. Ask your coach or your manager what more you can do. Always be thinking of what your next role could be!

Surround yourself with others who are mentally tough. If you have teammates, colleagues, friends or family members who are constantly negative, don’t commit to themselves, aren’t accountable, make excuses and like to live in a complacent zone – then you should help to pull them out of it. Be a leader and show them ways they can be more resilient and how it will add value to their life.

Everyone can develop their own resilience. Find your level, never settle and build on it.