Career Magazine

How to Build Resilience at Work

By Rebecca_sands @Rebecca_Sands

Building resilience on Daily Inspiration Board

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

Resilience is one of the most important skills that you can learn throughout your career. It’s something that is built up over time, but there are some ways that you can fast-track its development. Resilience is so important because it enables you to bounce back from inevitable frustrations as they occur, and handle situations with more ease than you might have otherwise. This means a speedier path to more success.

True, resilience often comes with seniority as it is key to handling more responsibility. That’s why I’d like to share with you some of the ways I’ve found over the years to grow my resilience. You can take these learnings and interpret them in your own career.

Some of the key ways that I have found to build up resilience over time include:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Don’t make the mistake of making your life all about your career. Life is so much more than just work, even if you love your job. It’s about creating meaningful pursuits outside of the workplace so that you have something to dive into when the going gets tough in the office – and there will come a time when it inevitably will. Whether it’s difficult colleagues, a micro-managing boss, you have to fire someone, an unsatisfied client, you’re made redundant or you get passed up for a promotion, there are plenty of bad days to be had in the office.

Do yourself a favour, and anticipate that you will need to have a well-rounded life in order to bounce back from negative situations. This can be a sport, hobby or passion-pursuit; it could be further education or non-profit work. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you love and that you feel as though it enables you to switch off while doing it. For me, it is yoga – check out my post about my current six-week journey here – but for you it could be any number of things.

If you’re already feeling uninspired at work and you need to pick up something to undo those feelings, check out my recent post on this exact topic.

Surround yourself with positive high-achievers

I have found that the quality of the people that I surround myself with on a day-to-day basis has a direct impact on my happiness levels and also my resilience.

If you really dislike the people you’re surrounded with all day, you may find you are more easily frustrated and feel like most of your energy is spent biting back sarcastic comments and trying to appear friendly, when what you’re really feeling is antagonistic and a lack of respect.

Instead, before you take on a role or move around in a company, make sure you’re resonating with the people around you because the people make a job.

Always pursue growth

Never simply rest on your laurels and think that you can just cruise along. Always seek growth, look for feedback, test new ideas to see if they will provide progress, and learn new things often. If this means taking further education outside of work, whether company-sponsored or not, it is worth it because it will provide you with a sense of comfort, self-development, confidence and security that you can’t feel when you’re standing still.

Look after yourself first

I always say to myself now that I will always come before my work. My health and wellbeing is more important than any role that I will ever do. This has amplified my resilience because I know that I am taking care of myself first and foremost, so that I’m able to give back more to my role and also to my passion projects and self-development. I know that I’ll always be okay, and that enhances my resilience.

Stretch yourself out of your comfort zone regularly

Similar to the pursuit of growth, stretching yourself out of your comfort zone regularly will enable you to get used to doing so. The first times that you do this can be massively daunting and failure or setbacks can really rock your confidence.

I suggest getting out there and making an effort to get out of your comfort zone at work as often as possible, as early as possible. Set yourself a target of getting out of your comfort zone, say, at least once per week. This could be putting your hand up for a new project, or saying yes to a speech, or beating your own record of how many [insert task here] you can do in a day. Keep it fun and positive and if you encounter a setback, work out a way to recover and move forward. Finding a great mentor often works well for this! They can help to support you through the difficult times.

The trick is, the more you get out of your comfort zone, the more resilient you will become later on when you have to get out of your comfort zone.

How do you create resilience in your career, and when have you needed to draw on it?


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