I used to think that people are born with resilience, but I’ve learned through the many challenges I’ve faced in my life and career that resilience is a superpower you can learn how to cultivate. We’ve all met people who continue to function well in the face of adversity.

How do they do it?

Resilience is not about avoiding difficult situations or eliminating stress. It is about developing inner strength as you navigate through life’s challenges. The other profound thing I have learned in the last six months is the strong correlation between resilient leaders and being trustworthy leaders. And not only are the two correlated but there is also a positive correlation between high-trust organizations and productivity and innovation in and across companies that do this well.

Resilience is the process of an outcome of successfully adapting to difficult, challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to internal and external demands. As much as resilience involves bouncing back from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.  – The American Psychological Association

AchieveUnite recently held a LinkedIn Live on resilience and shared proven strategies to help you build your resilient superpower. One is to develop a positive mindset. You can cultivate optimism, practice gratitude, and focus on the positive in difficult situations. In our session, Carmen shared:

You must have a positive mentality where you’re not the victim, you can become the victor; that’s the key. And everyone needs to realize attitude is a choice. When you wake up every morning, if you’re in a bad mood, you’re choosing that. You could choose to be in a good, positive mood. It’s not easy. And there are days where I wake up where I’m not in a positive mood and that’s when I take time to be by myself. I process things and I try to do a little self-talk and care to get to where I need to be. – Carmen Sorice, Senior Advisor at AchieveUnite

Another method for building resilience is to create a support network. You can cultivate relationships with supportive and trustworthy family and friends who can provide emotional support, guidance, and encouragement during challenging times. Carmen additionally shared:

When you’re going through a problem, not everybody sticks around and says, “Hey, I’m going to be at your house. I want to help.” You know, very few people give you unconditional trust, but my wife and I had two we could rely on. And if we couldn’t rely on them with unconditional trust, I don’t know if we would have made it through. – Carmen Sorice

Resilience is as important in business as it is in our personal lives, especially during tough times like the pandemic or economic pressures. Businesses restructure, change happens, budgets are cut, and layoffs occur. The stress this produces is enormous. Many of us have been affected and learned how to toughen up. But being resilient is not the usual way of being tough:

It’s not toughness coming from fear, but toughness coming from adaptability and being willing to be vulnerable and trust others with these important, private, scary parts of your life. I think that toughness is a part of resilience, but it’s this authenticity that doesn’t come from fear: it comes from a sense of resolve, and it comes from a place of not reacting but responding in a thoughtful way. – Gail Doerr, Education Practice Leader at AchieveUnite

Another proven way to develop resilience is to practice adaptability. You can embrace change and develop the ability to adapt to new circumstances. Flexibility and adaptability are muscles you can exercise to help you navigate unexpected challenges and find alternative paths forward.

And while at first the idea of learning something new and having to prove myself all over again, each time was so scary. I’ve learned to embrace it, and it’s made me so much more adaptable. It’s taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, as Carmen said, and to embrace the challenge in front of me. And by learning to do that, not only has it helped me grow personally and professionally, but it’s made me that much more resilient because it has given me the opportunity to really expand my experience and skill set, to give me the confidence that I never thought I would have. – Danielle Jennings, Head of North American Channel Execution at Citrix

Resilience is one of the reasons I started AchieveUnite. I wanted to take the skills I learned in my corporate career and help others become dynamic, resilient leaders. In addition to consulting services, AchieveUnite offers unique leadership development programs such as ACE Leadership by Influence and Leading Through Complexity, which incorporates our Partnering Quotient Index (PQi®).

How have you developed resilience in your life and career? I’d love to hear from you.