11 Sure-Fire Ways for Building Resilience at Work

Man writing the word 'resilience' on glass with marker pen

It wasn’t until 2009 when the Great Recession happened that people started using the word ‘resilience’ again. It was a word often used to describe soldiers or military men who showed great resolve in the face of extreme horror and adversity. But today, resilience has become the battle cry of modern workers everywhere. Caught in a more competitive working landscape, it’s what has helped them survive.

So, if you’re looking to get ahead in the workplace or would just like to improve your own resiliency, then here are a few quick ways to get you started.

1. Don’t Overthink It

You don’t have to be a decorated soldier or an award-winning employee to develop resiliency. From the time you had your first gulp of air to when you took your first steps, life was already testing your endurance, making sure you were ready for the more difficult challenges ahead: heartbreak, rejection, failure.

When it comes to the workplace, nothing gets more challenging or devastating than being let go. It plays on your worst insecurities and makes you feel worthless and inept. But that’s when your lifelong training in resiliency should kick in.

Remind yourself that you’ve gone through worse hurdles and that you didn’t come all this way only to be held back by something as arbitrary as redundancy. Remember: the most successful people overcame great obstacles through grit and perseverance, without which they wouldn’t be the inspirational leaders they are today.

2. Always Set New Goals

One important habit shared by people who demonstrate strong resilience is creating new goals. When you have a list of things you want to achieve, you don’t let setbacks derail you. Instead, look for new ways to grow and concentrate on other dreams you still hope to pursue. That way, whenever you face upsets or challenges, you don’t get stuck in a rut but rather carve a new path where you can still grow.

3. Never Stop Looking for Inspiration

When it seems like your work isn’t being recognised or rewarded, it’s easy to put on blinders and just settle for the bare minimum. There’s no point in going above and beyond or trying to be a little bit more competitive in the workplace because you don’t get noticed, anyway. But building resilience means knowing that your current job isn’t the be-all and end-all of your dreams.

Whether it’s a successful colleague or someone you follow online, always look out for people who can inspire you to do better. It doesn’t matter if they seem so far ahead of you; building resilience takes time and achieving your goals even more so.

4. Be More Mindful

With so many things going on during your day-to-day, it’s easy to get caught in the flurry of daily responsibilities. Being mindful can help you focus on the work by being more engaged and insightful of what your job entails. It also makes you more emphatic to other people’s needs, which makes you more pleasant to work with.

Mindfulness is a key element in building resilience since it allows you to live in the present while still being fully aware of what needs to be done to ensure a better future.

5. Take Breaks

When your work is especially stressful and competitive, it might make more sense to skip the break and just go straight to work. But these little pockets of rest are essential in ensuring that you don’t suffer from burnout. It usually happens when you’re overwhelmed by too much work or if you’ve been doing the job far too long that it doesn’t pose any more challenges or have room for growth.

Taking a break can help alleviate mental fatigue and emotional stress which weaken anyone’s resilience, making you better prepared for the busy days ahead of you.

6. Be True to Yourself

It’s human nature to want to appear better than you are, but when it comes to building resilience, it’s far better to be more vulnerable. Those who are more comfortable showing their true personalities tend to fit better and last longer in the workplace. Acting like someone you’re not will only prevent you from building authentic relationships with colleagues, which hinders both personal and professional growth.

7. Practise Being Flexible

Budgets are cut, projects get cancelled and clients change their minds – all these things are enough to drive anyone mad. But to build resilience, one of the things you must practise is to be more flexible and accepting of the little surprises that life throws your way.

Think about the last time you received bad news. How did you handle it? Did you give up, get mad or think of other solutions? Practise flexibility even when you’re not in the office. Be more patient when ordering a cup of coffee, don’t lose your head when someone cuts you in line. All these things will help you develop mental toughness in the long run.

8. Develop Important Connections

One of the most important qualities of resiliency is the ability to develop long-standing and high-quality relationships. It’s not enough to be friendly with colleagues; establishing a genuine connection with them will undoubtedly help you in the future as well.

Not only will you be their top choice if they ever need someone with your skills but they will also deeply appreciate your friendship, which means that they will most likely be there for you when you’re in need of guidance and support.

9. Continue to Innovate

Contrary to popular belief, innovation doesn’t just pertain to technology; it can apply to humans, as well. Human innovation means investing and developing in your own knowledge and talents, and it’s not limited to technical skills.

It’s equally important that you take the time to explore areas outside of your field, whether it’s taking a short course on social media management or going to pottery classes. Investing in yourself allows you to be more adaptive to unique situations so you can always find a new place to belong.

10. Take Care of Your Health

Dealing with stress and coping with abrupt changes is a lot easier when your body is able to adapt alongside your mind. When your immunity is low, it’s easier to let things get to you. You become cranky, less patient and more negative when it comes to dealing with people and problems around you. Taking better care of your health will make you confident, agile and fit – both inside and out.

11. Stay in Touch with Reality

Realising that millions of people face and overcome harsher realities than your own can sometimes be hard to do, especially when you’re going through a rough patch. But being aware of other people’s circumstances and being empathetic towards their plights can be both a cathartic and character-building experience.

It’s not meant to diminish your own pain or make you feel smaller. Rather, it’s a practical reminder that everyone goes through painful situations and that even after the worst tragedies, the sun still rises the next day. And that’s exactly what resilience teaches us: to keep going despite our failures and to see beyond the problems of today and having faith in the promises of the future.

How has resilience helped you in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below.