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Overcoming Adversity: How to be Resilient

By Simon Choi - July 09, 2020


Going through difficult times is a fact of human life. But the ability to be resilient through adversity is an admirable and useful quality for anyone to possess. 


Being resilient in the face of adversity allows you to bounce back from difficult times, it allows you to make courageous choices, connect with others and develop your creativity.


In this blog, I’ll break down what exactly resilience is and how you can become more resilient in your daily life and in business! 

Let’s start with the basics...

What is resilience?

Psychology Today defines resilience as:


“... the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”


In short, it’s how a person bounces back from difficult times in their life.


I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you we’re living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought adversity to people in all walks and ways of life through health difficulty, mourning and death, job losses and business closures and the threat of an upcoming recession. 


It’s in times like this that resilience in the face of adversity is an undeniable advantage when it comes to navigating the current world. 


But how do you put resilience into action? Well… 


Considered to be the building blocks of resilience, the 7 Cs model, created by pediatrician Dr Kenneth Ginsberg, breaks down the qualities and characteristics that make a person resilient. I’ve adapted them slightly below to fit with adult lives. 


The 7 Cs resilience model:

·        Control

You won’t be able to control everything in life. But being able to identify what you can take control of, and taking action in those areas is often the first step in building resilience in the face of adversity.  


·        Competence

Feeling and being competent is also a massive part of being resilient. Linked with also being in control, being competent helps you take action over the things in life that you can control and become more resilient against the things you can’t.


·        Coping

We all have different coping styles in life. It’s important to recognize your coping strategies, ensure they are healthy and then acknowledge when and how you will use them to get through difficult times of adversity. 


·        Confidence

Build your confidence by taking difficult tasks and journeys one step at a time and don’t forget to pause and celebrate the small achievements as you go. Attributing good things in your life to chance happenings or good luck doesn’t help you feel in control or help to build your confidence - and building your confidence is a vital part of building your resilience. 


·        Connection

This isn’t a step that is entirely within your control as it involves other people, but developing and fostering meaningful connections with people is essential when dealing with times of adversity in an emotionally healthy way. This doesn’t mean you are entirely reliant on a single person, but rather that you have access to emotional support and understanding in order to work through the difficult times with resilience. 


·        Character

People often think your character is something set in stone by the time you’re an adult but that’s simply not true. You can always work to develop and strengthen your character by exploring and building on the values you hold. Having a strong sense of character will help you stay centered, focused and resilient during times of adversity.


·        Contribution

This links back to our first point about identifying what you can and can’t control in life. By focusing on what you can control and making valued contributions to that aspect of your life, you will help you add positivity and success into your day regardless of the difficulties you are facing. And being able to appreciate the small wins in life and build upon them is a key factor in being resilient.  


The 7Cs model explains the different qualities a resilient person possesses. But the model isn’t just applicable when you’re facing adversity in your personal life. 


The outbreak of COVID-19 this year has been catastrophic for people, countries and businesses around the world. 


It’s highlighted the importance of building personal resilience and building your business to be resilient in difficult times. The same goes with governments and other large organizations.


Of course, no one saw an outbreak as destructive as COVID-19 coming, but some business leaders dealt with the difficulties better than others

Do you need to do strategic planning, but you've move

So what does it take to be resilient in business?


5 ways to be resilient: 


1. Be informed. 

You can’t lead your team, family, social groups or business through difficult situations if you aren’t informed or aware of what is going on. The saying that “ignorance is bliss” does not apply to business - especially when you’re trying to be resilient in the face of adversity. 


Be informed about what has happened, what is currently happening and what the future possibilities are. You’ll never know everything, but having the ability to make an informed choice is better than taking an uneducated guess. 


2. Be decisive.

Use all your research and information to make the best choices you can at the time. Sure, you might regret certain decisions in life and in business later on, but during times of adversity, you’re better to make informed decisions than wasting time being indecisive and inactive. 


3. Be flexible.

You might think being flexible directly contradicts the advice to be decisive but that’s not the case. Being flexible doesn’t mean you never make a decision; it means you decide to operate flexibly and plan accordingly.


In operating flexibly, you’ll establish different streams of income and have different options when it comes to growing as a person or in your business. COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses in a lot of businesses and other organizations have including those who had become too reliant on one form of income for example or in operating in one way. Flexibility is key when it comes to building resilience.


4. Be supportive.

Times of adversity have a habit of exposing the true nature of a person and business. If you want to have the reputation of being a resilient person and a strong business or organization, then you need to be supportive in times of difficulty. 


This could mean being supportive to your staff, family, your customers, your wider community or your whole industry.


5. Be a leader.

Finally, to be resilient you need to be a leader for everyone around you.


People look for strong leaders in difficult times and if you are informed, decisive, flexible and supportive in the face of adversity, you will prove that you are reliable and resilient. 


2020 has shown that adversity can come without any warning and while it’s impossible to be prepared for everything life might throw at you, you can put the foundations in place to be able to face difficult times with resilience. 


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