As we navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing world, one trait stands out as essential to achieving success: resilience. Life is filled with ups and downs, unexpected twists, and challenges that can test our limits. In these moments, resilience becomes our greatest ally. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, overcome obstacles, and grow stronger through life’s trials. It’s a crucial skill that empowers us to face difficulties with courage and determination. In a world where uncertainty is the only constant, resilience is critical to achieving success.

Recently, studies have noticed that resilience is on the decline. In a landmark study on resilience, the Cigna Resilience Index found that resilience is at risk for 60 percent of Americans. Among the findings, results showed that only a full 37 percent of full-time workers having high resilience. Moreover, one-third of full-time workers (33 percent) and one-third of essential workers (32 percent) say they almost never have workplace discussions about the recent impact of the global pandemic, the economy or community pressures.

Why is resiliency so important?

The consequences of low resilience can have lasting effects on people and businesses. It can have a direct impact on business outcomes, as it is correlated to lower job satisfaction, engagement, performance and retention. Here at The Vantage Group, we have also noticed a trend toward declining resiliency as evidenced in our Trimetrix™ leadership assessments. Without the ability to cope with challenges, adults are also more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression and resort to negative coping strategies.

Failure to improve and strengthen resilience can have several negative consequences for an individual’s overall well-being and life experiences:

  1. Increased Stress and Anxiety: Without resilience, individuals may struggle to cope with stressors and challenges effectively. This can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety, which, if left unmanaged, can have detrimental effects on mental and physical health.
  2. Reduced Mental Health: Poor resilience can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Resilience acts as a protective factor against these conditions.
  3. Impaired Decision-Making: Individuals with low resilience may struggle to make clear, rational decisions when faced with adversity. They may become overwhelmed by emotions, leading to impulsive or poor choices.
  4. Weakened Relationships: Inability to manage stress and adversity can strain personal relationships. Resilience is vital for effective communication, conflict resolution, and maintaining healthy connections with others.
  5. Stagnation and Avoidance: People with low resilience might avoid challenges or situations that require them to step out of their comfort zones. This avoidance can lead to missed opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  6. Decreased Job Performance: In the workplace, low resilience can hinder job performance. Difficulty in bouncing back from setbacks or handling workplace stress can limit career progression.
  7. Physical Health Issues: Prolonged exposure to stress, which can result from a lack of resilience, is associated with various physical health problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and a weakened immune system.
  8. Substance Abuse: Some individuals may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse or addiction when they lack resilience, further exacerbating their problems.
  9. Lower Quality of Life: Ultimately, a lack of resilience can lead to a diminished quality of life. It can hinder personal growth, happiness, and the ability to navigate life’s challenges effectively.

Resiliency is one of the 25 essential business competencies leaders need to have to overcome setbacks. Resilience gives us the strength to bounce back from challenges in life and quickly recover from adversity. And we all face hardships at some point in life. But those who develop resilience can tap into their strengths and support systems. This gives us the best chance to overcome challenges and work through problems.

How do you build resiliency?

Resilient people are able to draw upon this strength to cope and recover from challenges. That’s true even when they face significant traumas, such as job loss, financial problems, serious illness, relationship challenges, or the death of a loved one. Resilience also means understanding that life is full of challenges.

But here is one thing we know from coaching leaders: resilience is an innate human capacity that can be learned and developed in anyone. All people have the ability to develop the skills that will put them on the path to resilience.

Some of the things we coach our clients to do include:

  • Continuing toward goals in the face of difficulty and adversity.
  • Treating your goals like “promises” to yourself. Then, keeping those promises.
  • Practicing putting yourself on the spot. Taking chances for the things you really want to achieve.
  • Handling criticism and rejection from others with objectivity.
  • Not taking “NO” personally.
  • Being prepared to explain your rationale. Help others to understand you, don’t get defensive.
  • Recovering quickly from personal setbacks.
  • Admitting your mistakes and quickly moving on.
  • Not panicking! Most difficulties can be easily overcome by remaining objective.
  • Moving past unforeseen obstacles without unnecessary delay.

Focus on your ultimate goal. If you keep the big picture goal in mind, small setbacks along the way won’t affect your long-range plans.

What is a resilient person like?

Resilient people are quick to look for ways to resolve or at least improve the situation. They do not expend their energy in reciting why the problem is difficult or unfair. They channel that time, mental, and emotional energy to find solutions. Additional benefits of being resilient include:

  • Having greater ambition.
  • Feeling more hopeful and optimistic.
  • Finding it easier to maintain emotional stability.
  • Being more resourceful.
  • Finding it easier to delay gratification.
  • Feeling more connected to others in their personal life and the world as a whole.
  • Having greater satisfaction with life overall.

Take the Next Step
Resilience is not an innate trait but a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time. By recognizing its importance and committing to improving it, you can navigate life’s challenges with greater confidence and emerge from adversity stronger than ever. Remember, resilience is the key to not just surviving but thriving in a world filled with uncertainties and obstacles. If you or your organization is dealing with resiliency issues, Vantage is here to help. Contact us today to see how we can help you improve the essential leadership competency of resiliency.