How to Build Personal Resilience

7 practical ideas to boost your personal resilience levels.


The world of work is changing. It is often characterised by unexpected and continuous transitions, multiple careers, and fast-paced advancements. As a result, an employee’s capacity to cope and even thrive during times of uncertainty, disruption and change, has become an increasingly important indicator of individual potential. It is therefore no surprise to discover the mounting evidence which suggests that developing personal resilience will bolster your ability to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing world of work. However, how do you begin to take charge of your own personal effectiveness in this area – especially if you don’t have the time, the budget, the resources or the inspiration to know where to start?

So, what does resilience look like?

People who demonstrate resilience and emotional control express a firmness of purpose and can work with commitment and enthusiasm to achieve important goals. They are inclined to believe in their own capabilities. These flexible individuals are able to handle large workloads, competing demands, interruptions and distractions with poise and ease. They can think clearly under pressure and have the capacity to remain calm and composed. Mentally robust, they tend to view most obstacles as challenges to be met and are not demotivated by setbacks or changing circumstances. They know when to seek the support of others to help overcome adverse situations. Capable of managing their own emotions and impulses, they are likely to regard any personal criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve.

 Seven great ways to boost personal resilience - in and out of work:

1. Hunt for a copy of 'The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer' by Art Berg – essential reading for anyone interested in how to overcome adversity. If you are short of time, search for the poem ‘Don’t Quit’ by John Greenleaf Whittier.

2. Take a cold bath. If you can’t remove the stressors, build up your ability to deal with them. Studies reveal that taking a cold bath in the morning (or cold water swimming) increases mental toughness and your ability to face stressful situations.

3. Learn to juggle – literally. Activities which require focus and practice strengthen the frontal lobe and support higher level thinking. Alternatively, get a hobby which will enable you to recharge your batteries. Warren Buffet loves playing the ukulele. Bill Gates plays lots of bridge. Try to schedule purposeful downtime into each day.

4. Pump up your personal positivity. Resilient people are far more likely to identify little pockets of silver linings even in the worst of circumstances. Being more optimistic is not only closely linked to higher levels of personal resilience, but it is also a mental state which can be learned and mastered – regardless of your genetic make-up. Watch Tali Sharot’s TED Talk ‘The Optimism Bias’ to discover the benefits of training your brain to zoom in on positive events

5. Embrace your stress. Hear how the latest research on the biology of courage is suggesting that stress may only be bad for you if you believe it to be the case. Watch Kelly McGonigal’s compelling TED Talk on ‘How to Make Stress Your Friend’.

6. Lighten up. When you do feel under pressure, find a moment to visit Spotify and listen to ‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union. This music has been specially designed with sound therapists to promote a feeling of relaxation, and evidence suggests it may significantly reduce both anxiety levels and blood pressure.

7. Make things tougher for yourself. Baseball players practise swinging with a weighted bat so that batting feels easier during real game. In the same way, you can increase your personal stamina by stretching yourself more. Try deliberately increasing one of your personal targets on a specific day each week and monitor the results.


Discover more proven, provocative and (sometimes) perverse ideas to develop yourself and others inside the Amazon #1 bestseller ‘Upskill: 21 Keys to Professional Growth’, which provides 840 practical ways to help people adapt to new approaches and work methods. The book can be used to support upskilling through the identification of relevant and realistic options for professional growth. Readers will discover a host of proven techniques: relevant quotes, articles and resources; carefully selected videos; novel approaches; time-saving apps; topical insights; and engaging ideas. This compendium of high leverage tools and techniques delivers a dynamic snapshot of learning possibilities, and can be used by managers, supervisors, coaches and HR and training professionals – as well as proactive employees who are committed to their own personal growth.


Posted On: 07 Aug 2019