Resilience is the ability to move forward despite adversity. When faced with a crisis, it can make the difference between giving up in defeat or emerging stronger on the other side. And day-to-day in the workplace, resilience has been shown to be associated with greater job satisfaction, reduced stress, greater productivity, and a reduced likelihood to quit.
We recently asked our team members what they do to stay resilient, and they came back with a range of different strategies. In this post, we share their tips for overcoming challenges.
Set aside time to look inward and reflect
Many of Verity’s team members use inner focus and reflection to build strength in the face of adversity.
For some, this might be a regular practice. David Gatchalian, Executive Coach, begins his day with reflection: “I treat the morning hours as sacred time reserved for meditation, reading and quiet contemplation. Setting that time aside allows you to plan and get in front of your day, rather than your day running you.”
Caroline Papitashvili, Talent Consultant, practices mindfulness: “It can range from focusing on my breathing to listening to a guided meditation. It helps me break reactivity and gain clarity.”
For others, this might be something they draw upon especially in times of crisis. Rick Lash, Senior Talent Associate, uses journaling to reset: “When I’m feeling really stressed, I force myself to take five minutes and write an open letter to myself. I just let the thoughts flow – what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, what I’m concerned or anxious about. After a while, I start to feel clearer and less burdened. Once it’s on paper, my troubles seem to lose power, and I find I can better focus and engage in finding solutions.”
Draw on external sources for motivation
In addition to looking inward, our colleagues have found that leveraging external sources of motivation and connection can be helpful for building strength and getting a new perspective.
As Rick puts it, “Over the years, I’ve collected helpful reminders and words of wisdom and inspiration that have helped me cope in the past and give me hope for the future. I call it my ‘first-aid document’. When I’m stressed, I go back and read through it. It’s a self-help tool that is tailored specifically to me. It’s like having a wise coach who knows me intimately that gives helpful advice and affirmation.”
Rose Minichiello, Managing Director, emphasizes the importance of human connection when things get tough: “When people are going through trauma, adversity, or change, for that matter, they tend to want to hide and lick their wounds. Suffer in silence, if you will. But what I do is reach out to friends and continue building relationships. Laughing, crying, hugging are all great mechanisms for coping with change and building resilience.” Keeping these relationships in mind helps her to persist through any challenge: “My purpose for continuing forward in the face of adversity is my family, my friends, and my colleagues. They are my reasons for doing what I do.”
Take care of yourself
It can be hard to prioritize yourself in challenging times, but taking care of yourself is critical to ensure that you have the energy to keep going.
Caroline sets aside time for physical activity like running and yoga: “It helps me gain back control and energises me.”
Rose rebuilds herself by doing the things she enjoys: “I’m no good to anyone else if I don’t take care of myself. Exercise, eat well, take a lounging bath, read a good book, watch funny movies, play in my garden, pick flowers and bring them into the house. Commit to working at all the fun things I love.”
Reframe the challenge
Changing how you think about the difficulty you are facing can have a significant impact on your ability to work through it productively. Our team members shared a range of strategies they use to reframe difficulties and stay resilient.
Kathy March, Vice President, shifts her perspective to focus on success: “When I’m not confident I will be successful, I recognize the feeling and pause, asking myself for the five reasons I will be successful. That action helps me feel more positive and recognize what I’m doing well.” Another strategy that Kathy deploys is gratitude: “When I feel overwhelmed, I ask myself for three or five things I’m grateful for. You can’t be feeling grateful and overwhelmed at the same time!”
Jen Sculthorp, Senior Talent Consultant, draws her attention to the positive to stay resilient: “I accept the challenge I am facing and focus on the positive aspects that it brings to my life. Acceptance allows me to stop resisting the challenge, and focusing on the positive aspects makes it easier to grow and move forward during times of adversity.”
Christine Miners, Managing Director, deploys RAIN whenever she needs to stay resilient:
- Recognize the feeling
- Accept it without judgment
- Investigate the true cause
- Nurture yourself to adjust your thinking – you are not your emotions
Focus on the problem at hand
When you face adversity, it is easy to become overwhelmed by everything that is going on and, eventually, feel like you are defeated. To battle against this, our colleagues try to keep their focus on the things they can impact right now.
As Bob Tune, CFO, puts it “When there are things out of my control, I try to not even think about things that I can’t change.”
David takes challenges one at a time: “When dealing with adversity, I deal only with what is in front of me at that moment. By focusing solely on one thing at a time, you can decide if this is a problem that you actually care about. If so, fix it, if not, then move on.”
Rose also emphasizes the importance of taking action on the things she is facing right now: “I tell myself, I’m entitled to a three-minute pity party, and then I have to focus on the solution to the problem and move on. I don’t spend a lot of time focusing too far into the future; just the adversity at hand.”
Across the board, each of our team members has developed a personal toolkit for staying resilient and emerging stronger on the other side of the challenges they are facing. Over the years, they have found a handful of strategies that work for them, and they deploy these flexibly depending on the situation. Give some of their tips a try – you might find something new to add to your own toolkit.
One more bonus tip to stay resilient? Stargazing. According to Rick, “Nothing puts your current troubles in context better than staring at the universe. Relax in a lounge chair with or without a pair of binoculars. Whatever I’m worrying about feels very insignificant in the expanse of the cosmos.”
Looking for more ways to build your resilience? Check out our Resilience @Work program to learn a five-step framework for thriving in the face of adversity.