Building Resilience

Top tips to help you keep going

Keep Going

If you are thinking of changing career you are probably currently in a situation that is less than perfect and are having to work hard to keep things together.

So how well are you coping?

Are you letting the challenges and frustrations of your job grind you down, or do you tap into your inner resources and keep as positive as possible?

It all boils down to building resilience.

Now before you groan and consign yourself to the group of people who do not have much resilience, let me tell you that it is not a genetically endowed characteristic.  On the contrary, it is a skill that you can consciously work on and develop.

If you are intending to break out of your current career impasse and move into something new that will be more inspiring and fulfilling, then you may well need to work on building your resilience as you go through the career change process.

It can take time, and there will be low points as well as highs on the way.  Your ability to bounce back in the face of setbacks is central to your success.

What is resilience?

Resilience is not a magic wand that makes your problems go away, it is simply the capacity to work through them and to find the things that you know will help you handle the challenges.

If you aren’t as resilient as you’d like, you can teach yourself.  Here are my top tips:

Build your network of connections

Build strong, positive relationships with family and friends. Get involved in local community groups.  Take an interest in the lives of others.  A strong network of connections will give you a support team who you can turn to for ideas, information and advice when you are up against it.

Cultivate optimism

When you’re in the middle of a crisis, use your internal and external resources (your friends and family, your humour, your strengths) to remain hopeful and optimistic. It will allow you to remember what is working in your life.

It may seem as though things will never get better, find something in each day that is working. Find something each day that signals a change for the better. Expect good results. Believing things happen for a reason may help sustain you. Optimism is key to building resilience.

Learn from your experiences

This probably won’t be the first challenging situation you have faced in your life so stop and take stock of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past.  What worked? What didn’t?  What do those successes and failures teach you?

Reflect on how you can apply the successful strategies to your current situation and don’t fall into the trap of repeating the ones that didn’t help just out of habit.

Take care of yourself

Bottom line is that you must attend to your own needs and feelings, both physical and emotional.  If you soldier on, denying that you are struggling or always putting others first, you run the risk of total burn out and then you will be unable to help anyone.

So building resilience means pacing yourself, carving out some time each week to get involved in activities and hobbies you enjoy.  Take regular exercise, get plenty of sleep and eat a well-balanced diet.

Set goals – even tiny ones

If at the end of every day you can look back and see that you have done something you set out to achieve – even just walking round the park in your lunch break, or making one phone call about a course you are interested in – then you will have the reward of a sense of accomplishment.

By all means have bigger goals too in relation to your new career, but break these down into small, achievable steps so that you can have that sense of making regular progress.

Goals or small action steps help keep you focussed on the future and checking them off as you complete them, builds your self confidence, feeds your optimism and helps you in building resilience.

Accept that change happens

Like it or not, everything is in constant flux and the only certainty in life (other than death and taxes) is that the ground will shift under your feet.

So you need to develop a flexible attitude.

If you try to create artificial stability (like assuming that your job is secure) you are setting yourself up for stress and anxiety when change happens or when your best laid plans don’t work out as you had intended.  Expecting change, anticipating the need to adjust your course constantly as you go along will make it easier to adapt to, and even welcome, the unexpected.

Take life lightly

This might seem glib if you are stuck in an incredibly stressful job or are facing lay off, or maybe your application for a new job has just failed.  But being willing and able to see the lighter and even the funny side in every situation can be a great stress reliever.  If you really can’t find a funny side, then watch a funny movie or TV show.  Laughter is a brilliant stress management tool.

Take action

Yes, it’s that one again.  If you do nothing, then nothing will change.  Don’t just wish your problems would go away or try to ignore them. Chances are, they won’t disappear on their own. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan to do it, and then take action to resolve your problems.

If you adopt these strategies, then you will find that you are building resilience naturally as you go along and this will sustain you as you travel on your career change journey.

What do you think?

  • What tips and strategies do you use in building resilience?
  • How has resilience helped you bounce back in the past?
  • Which of the above will you take on board and apply in your life from now on?

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About the author

Amy Thomas

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