Being more ‘Resilient’: what does it mean?

Executive training and coaching

The word ‘Resilience’ is popular at the moment.  I was sitting in my children’s school the other day and it was painted on the wall in large print, so it is obviously something we are required to ‘be’. 

However, in performance reviews in businesses I often hear people talk of ‘resilience’ as if it is something that we can all adopt right away. But people must understand what it means in order to ‘be’ it.

To enhance someone’s resilience they themselves need to be more aware of their own ways of working and understand how to change their mindset and behaviours.  Learning techniques also come into play so personal development is the key.  Simply being told to ‘be more resilient’ will not get the desired results.

The dictionary definitions of resilience say: ‘the power or ability to return to the original, to spring back into shape’ or ‘the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’

Maybe a lot to ask! However, in business we may mean tough or able to deal with set-backs and then carry on our task whatever it may be, or that our attitude stays positive and buoyant, whatever is thrown at us.

So, regarding our roles at work, could resilience mean our ability to cope with the demands and responsibilities in today’s fast-moving business world, whilst always keeping a positive mental attitude?

Firstly, it’s important to clarify that some people are more resilient than others.  However, our experience as trainers and coaches means we can get those that are less resilient thinking differently, helping them develop a more optimistic approach which overtime (it takes a while) changes behaviours.  We can’t alter personalities, but we can help people tap into their blind spots, challenge their rationale and teach them coping strategies.

Being resilient depends on multiple factors, from our ability to cope with stress and pressure to good time management and accepting change. Also, resilience requires a positive outlook and attitude, as well as the ability to focus on the job in-hand; a ‘can-do’ rather than ‘can’t do’ attitude.

What we think about a situation, task or project, then determines how we feel about it, how we view it and whether we think we can handle it in the time allowed.  Our behaviour then kicks in and we then have a reaction and an inner dialogue. Ultimately though, we are in total control and have a choice in the way we view things and what we say to ourselves.

So, we can be more resilient, learning skills and techniques to help challenge our own thoughts and behaviours. But if this doesn’t come naturally to you, then you can improve your resilience by coming along to one of our group workshops or 1-2-1 sessions.   

Jane Warden is an Accredited Trainer and provides leadership and management business skills and personal development training and coaching. She is running a one-day resilience workshop on 28 February at The Hub Business Centre, Civic Drive, Ipswich. If you want to find out more information contact Jane on T: 07713 256139 E: or visit

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