Working in the professions requires resilience. Marketing and sales roles require resilience. So those who have a business development role in the professions must need a double dose! But what is resilience and how can you be more resilient?


A Harvard Business School report found that there are three fundamental characteristics that set resilient people and organisations apart:

  • A capacity to face reality
  • An ability to find meaning in testing times
  • An ability to improvise

Psychological resilience

Psychological resilience is an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity – whether through bouncing back, not being affected negatively or developing better strategies for the future.

Resilience is a process rather than a personality trait (although scores on psychometric scales for things like anxiety, depression, vulnerability to stress, assertiveness, positive emotion and self-discipline may be indicators of resiliency).

It is a two-dimensional concept spanning both the adversity and the positive attitude/behaviour adaptations. So two judgements are involved – the significance of the risk and the adaptation required.

Most research shows that resilience is the result of individuals being able to interact with their environments and the ways in which they promote well-being or protect themselves against risk factors – whether by themselves or supported by their relationships or policies.

Much historical research into the subject focused on how children adapt to adversity and considered:

  • Good outcomes despite high risk status
  • Constant competence under stress
  • Recovery from trauma
  • Using challenges for growth that make future hardships more tolerable

Developing resilience

There are many ways to develop resilience. The American Psychological Association suggests 10 ways:

  1. Maintain good relationships with family, friends and others
  2. Avoid seeing crises or stressful situations as unbearable events
  3. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed
  4. Develop realistic goals and move towards them
  5. Take decisions or actions in adverse situations
  6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery after a struggle with loss
  7. Develop self-confidence
  8. Keep a long term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook – expect good things
  10. Take care of your mind and body – eat properly, exercise regularly and pay attention to your own needs and feelings

The following is a summary:

  • Harness your thinking and think strategically and objectively rather than being overwhelmed in the moment
  • Cultivate your own self-control through a better understanding of your preferred styles and usual reactions
  • Apply your strength and skills to take some action in challenging situations
  • Nurture your connections and seek reassurance, another view, support and advice when you need to
  • Develop positive habits to put things in perspective, focus on the upside and look after yourself
  • Tap into your inner strength

If stress is a big issue (and prolonged exposure to stress can lead to burn-out), read the review of “Crazy Busy”