I’ve been hearing a lot recently about resilience in the workplace and how important it is for our personal wellbeing. I thought I would do some research on the subject, as in our line of work it is increasingly essential that we remain resilient.

What is resilience?

To me, it is the ability to 'bounce back' when things don’t go as planned or when faced with pressure.

Resilient people don’t dwell on failures or setbacks, they acknowledge the situation, learn from it and move forward.

That is often easier said than done, particularly when you work remotely, or on your own with no one to help put things into perspective. It can be tempting to curl up into a ball and say “I can’t do this anymore!” and just give up.

Apparently, Thomas Edison made thousands of prototypes of the light bulb before he got it right. He said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. 

What can we do to become more resilient?

Maintaining perspective is very important. If we make a mistake we can think it’s the end of the world and beat ourselves up, imagining all kinds of terrible outcomes. We all make mistakes, it’s how you react in the situation that’s the key to resilience. In my experience, as long as you do everything you can to remedy the situation, you know you have done your best and move on. Quite often whatever it is will be completely forgotten in a week’s time. Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.

Learning from mistakes is also a good thing, it means sometimes we will do things differently and find a better way in the future, turning the experience into a positive. I try to use every mistake as a real learning opportunity.

Looking after ourselves, making sure we have enough sleep, exercise and eat a healthy diet all contribute to a positive attitude and give us the confidence to bounce back.   

Try to build a team of people around you that you can bounce things off of or ask for support. It’s always helpful to talk about things that we are dwelling on, someone looking in from the outside can help us put things into perspective.

What is the alternative?

Do we give up on achieving our goals or following our dreams at the slightest setback?

No! Resilient people are not afraid to take risks or follow their dreams. They have a goal in mind and no amount of setbacks will stop them from achieving that goal.

I guess 10,000 setbacks would grind most of us down, but thank goodness not everyone, or we would be sitting in the dark! If we all took setbacks for what they are - a setback not a permanent state - we can learn to bounce back.