Workplace Trends

Is Personal Resilience Part of Your DNA?

By James Greenway on August 16, 2012

What does it mean to have “personal resilience” in today’s workplace? It’s the capacity for an individual to remain both flexible and strong in the midst of ambiguity and change. Personal resilience ensures you are able to cope effectively with uncertainty, persevere through periods of elevated stress, absorb high levels of change, adapt to disruptions and still remain effective and productive.

Here are five tips to build personal resilience:

  • Exercise. Maintain your physical stamina through strength-building and aerobic exercises (try biking, walking, running and/or swimming). Exercise will “detoxify” both your body and mind.
  • Eat well. Give your body the fuel it needs to combat stress hormones and boost your overall mood. Some good choices include lots of fresh fruit and leafy vegetables, whole grains (oatmeal, popped corn, wild rice), salmon and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, blueberries, dark chocolate, walnuts and sunflower seeds, green tea, and lean protein.
  • Stay connected. Take time to sustain positive relationships and access resources within your organization and community. These relationships will act as a safety net during periods of ambiguity and give you the opportunity to verbalize your concerns and solicit constructive feedback.
  • Reset expectations. Establish short- and long-term goals based on the changing workplace environment. What you had in mind five years ago may no longer be feasible so adjust your goals accordingly.
  • Look for opportunities. Change always presents opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by. Follow trends and activities closely to determine how to align your career goals with the changing needs of the marketplace and/or your organization.

Change and stress, intrinsic in today’s world, are often outside your control. Your response to both, however, is within your control. Take a personal inventory to see if you have the resilience necessary to stay focused and positively contribute to the success of your organization in the midst of change.

6 Responses to “Is Personal Resilience Part of Your DNA?”

  1. Sigmund

    Great points! I would add the idea of looking forward. Don’t focus on what you used to do – focus on what you are going to do going forward. Your next opportunity is in the future, not the past.

    • Jim G

      Thanks for your comment Sigmund and excellent point. As Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Change is constant and there’s no way to recapture the past, opportunity only exists in the present.

  2. Cynthia D

    I like some advice I heard recently – when you find yourself in a situation of great change, focus on what is stable (remains the same) not on what is changing

  3. Sigmund

    Cynthia – interesting! My advice would be more to figure out where the change is headed and focus on helping it get there. Be a part of directing the change towards a positive outcome.

    • Cynthia D

      I like that! To paraphrase an old story – don’t just pray to win the Lottery, go out and buy a ticket!

  4. Michael

    It is not only what is in a person’s DNA that will help them be resilient, but also their willingness to use resources that their Employers make availalbe. If a company provides Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Wellness solutions, take advantage of them. They can be especially beneficial as we face the ever changing challenges of life.


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