Do You Want More Resilience? Five Easy Top Tips

Resilience is something we all have, even if we don’t know it. The ability to deal with difficult times is within us all. We sometimes feel we have unlimited resilience reserves. At other times we feel vulnerable and wonder how we are going to get through. I want to provide you with five tips that will help when you have that wobble.

Sock it to Me


Like any three year old, my Daughter swings between fierce independence and fierce non-independence.

She wanted to take her socks off so I encouraged her to take them off herself – something she had not done before.

In hindsight it would have been better to show her what to do, but I decided to explain instead.

So there I was, explaining that she needed to get a couple of her fingers down the back of the sock.

She managed this bit and the sock became stuck at the heel. Try as she might, she could not get the bunched sock over the heel. I could sense her frustration was starting to build.

‘So, what you need to do now is pull the sock out and back a little bit. This will help get the sock over the heel.’

She huffed and puffed but after a few seconds she gave up.

‘I can’t do it Daddy, you do it.’

This became the pattern for several weeks, convinced she would never be able to take her socks off.

A Moment of Magic


A couple of nights ago we were both sat on the sofa, watching the TV.

I hardly noticed but, as we watched, she took both her socks off and threw them in my face.

For a moment it did not register what had happened and then I thought back to the struggle of the weeks previous.

‘You took your socks off! You did it all by yourself!’

She looked at me, matter of fact, unimpressed at my excitement and praise. ‘Daddy, sometimes things are hard to start with, but then they get easy.’

I smiled and gave her a hug. It was one of the smartest things I’d heard anyone say in a long time.

It was simple, to the point and true and often we forget important lessons like this.

Building Resilience


Here five things you can do today, or in the future, when dealing with tough and difficult times.


Think of Success as an Arc


Rarely do you hit the ground running and achieve instant success. It can be difficult, it can be frustrating and you may want to give up. Don’t.

Think about your current job and when you first started. You went through the training and thought ‘How will I ever know everything I need to know?’ Often, you don’t need to know everything. Also, you learn on the job as you go.

Success is an arc and making a mistake is integral in moving across the arc. 


Set Mini Goals


You don’t have to hit the end of the arc by Friday of the first week.

If you are learning something new, or setting a goal, then take challenging, but small, steps.

Mini goals will help you move along the arc and provide time to reflect and adjust. Some examples of mini goals:

Read a particular topic or article and apply this to the job (mini goal).

Spend time shadowing someone who does the job already (mini goal).

Visit other Dept. to understand how you affect their bottom line (mini goal).

Aim to drink 8 glasses of water per day (mini goal).

Aim to walk for 20 mins per day (mini goal).

Start small and it will grow big, I promise (TJ if you are reading this, stop laughing).


Have a Mentor, Guide or Sherpa


You will wobble and convince yourself you are going to fail, that everyone is looking at you.

A mentor/guide/Sherpa (whatever) will help to navigate the rough sea.

A great mentor/guide/Sherpa will often do nothing more than listen.

Sometimes a good venting session is enough for you to gain some perspective and move on.

If this is not doing the trick then they will use their experience to make suggestions.

Why not ask them about a time they started something new. If they messed up (they did), then it must be OK for you to do the same. Stop being so hard on yourself.


Step Off the Ledge


We often hang on to the ledge, fearful of making a decision or taking action.

Making no decision, or inaction, is one of the worse things that can happen.

Even when you think you might be wrong, do it anyway. You will be surprised by how many times you are right. 

Think of stepping off the ledge as an opportunity to learn and grow. Someday, you might well be the mentor/guide/sherpa. Take action.


Be Better Than Yesterday


This links back to the arc and setting mini goals. When I have led people and teams, the biggest fear is applying the training in the real world.

In the first few weeks I will drum home the same message.

‘Be better than yesterday.’

Think of it this way. If you can finish work and know today has been better than yesterday, you are moving in the right direction.

It might be one tiny thing you feel better about. Acknowledge it, be grateful and recognise it as success.

The next morning the aim is the same – be better than the previous day.

Having this mindset over many days, will turn it into weeks. Before long you are feeling confident, more relaxed and happy in what you are doing. 


This list could have ran on and on, but the above five are some of my tried and trusted. 

I would love to hear about any hints or tips you have, especially when starting out with something new.

Thanks for reading.

Believe and take action.

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Ian Ruane

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