The Importance of Personal Resilience

Posted June 4, 2020

Covid-19 – together with the challenges and restrictions of lockdown – has, for many, delivered uncertainty, worry, stress, and pressure at an unprecedented level.  Many organisations have had to adapt to a completely different way of working – and leaders have had to adapt methods of communication and put measures in place to support both physical and mental wellbeing.

We all respond differently to challenge. Some people seem able to handle difficulties effectively and ‘bounce back’ quickly after a knockback. Others find themselves increasingly stressed and overwhelmed which can have a detrimental effect on all areas of their lives.  Difficult times require an increased level of personal resilience – the ability to respond to, and capacity to recover quickly from, challenges and adversity.

The good news is that everyone has the ability to ramp up their levels of resilience, either by themselves or with support. Hugely valuable to leaders and managers as well as employees at all levels, the ability to remain calm and cope under pressure has a tangible impact on stress levels, relationships, and productivity.

Here are our top tips for increasing levels of personal resilience:


We’re not all comfortable talking about our strengths but understanding our natural strengths and our capacity to cope creates a certainty that, whatever challenges we encounter, we can cope. Help build levels of confidence by:

  • Envisaging future challenges and thinking about how you would deal with them
  • Visualising and planning for success and working continually on developing your self-awareness
  • Working on becoming more optimistic and positive in your thinking
  • Being comfortable with yourself – simply being you
  • Celebrating successes and really listening to praise when it is offered. This will help to maintain both self-esteem and self-confidence


Research shows that those who have supportive social networks have more active coping strategies when dealing with stressful situations. An active coping strategy means that you can manage your reactions to the challenges you face. A good social support network also gives you access to advice, input, and practical help.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and support
  • Develop a clear understanding of who is in your support network – and who you can rely on for good advice
  • Actively build new relationships in areas you feel you need support or where a different perspective would be useful
  • Use the support to help you move forward – not just to let off steam


Being adaptable is important when coping with ambiguity, dealing with uncertainty and change. It allows us to adjust to different situations and think through consequences in a logical way, rather than subjecting ourselves to the negative impact of ‘fight or flight’ which occurs when change is perceived as a threat rather than an opportunity. Increase your levels of adaptability by:

  • Treating every experience as a learning opportunity – never stop learning
  • Revisiting past adverse experiences to discover useful lessons to help in the future
  • Keeping things in perspective!
  • Embracing discomfort as part of the change process
  • Avoiding thinking traps – blame, erroneous assumptions, and tunnel vision are all unhelpful
  • Being open, flexible and responsive to people and situations


Creating a focus and a sense of purpose in life is vital for resilience – it helps to put things in perspective when difficulties arise. Day to day, it is important to find a sense of purpose at work and to identify with the goals and objectives of our job. Work on:

  • Spending time considering your goals and priorities for life
  • Reminding yourself of the core purpose of your actions when faced with frustrations or a setback
  • Refocusing on your end goal if you meet a block
  • Being more decisive and, if you get it wrong, know when to cut your losses
  • Keeping healthy! Physical health and mental health are closely linked – eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Be sure to take time out to re-energise and relax!

Confidence, Support, Adaptability, and Purposefulness are all independent elements that when acted on together are catalysts of our overall wellbeing.  In the simplest terms however, the key to starting on the path to Wellbeing is to simply START.  Don’t let yourself be frozen from a sense of being overwhelmed.  If you tell yourself you will start doing something the moment you feel a bit better, that moment may never come.  “Whatever you can do or dream you can, BEGIN IT.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” Goethe


Written by Working Transitions, a Career Partners International Firm

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