8 ways to master micro-resilience.

Hillary Clinton SheThrives.png

When Hillary Clinton addressed the sell-out crowd at Sydney’s International Convention Centre Theatre last week, her story was one of resilience and perseverance. The one-time F.L.O.T.U.S., who experienced an unprecedented and unexpected loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election is in many ways the epitome of resilience and grace under pressure, and in this sense, a role model for all women.

In closing her speech, Clinton left the audience with a single quote that embodies her resilient approach to life:

“Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in.

And, when you stumble, keep faith.

And, when you're knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on."

Typically, when we consider the term resilience, we think about a person’s ability to bounce back after a major life trauma. There are many inspiring examples of humans who have rebounded after tragedy, major illness, divorce and natural disaster. When we think of resilient people, they tend to be the ones who have recovered from significant life set-backs.

But Hillary Clinton’s career, spanning over 40 years, and her quote above, are representations of resilience on a different scale. Clinton’s resilience is evidenced not only by one massive demonstration of bouncing-back following adversity, but rather in hundreds, or possibly thousands of micro-resilience experiences over her career. 

Clinton’s ability to gracefully get back up after her small and her big stumbles shows us the importance and value of daily micro-resilience experiences. as we seek to achieve our own personal and professional fulfilment.

We unpack the concept of Return-to-Work Resilience in our 8-week Career Comeback Program, where we highlight the value of resilience in dealing with the inevitable bumps and bruises you sustain as a mother seeking to return to work after a career break. And whilst we view resilience through the lens of a return to work mother in our program, the 8 perspectives we offer as the foundation for micro-resilience building, hold value to all women (and men for that matter).

If you’re seeking to develop your career resilience muscle, shifting to a daily, or even hourly resilience-building focus might be just what you need to get started. Here are 8 perspectives to consider as you develop your own resilience roadmap:

1.      Appreciate that setbacks are inevitable.

Expect that you won’t get called back for every job that you apply for, expect that some days you will absolutely stuff the whole working mother thing up, most importantly, expect that you will find the resources to deal with these setbacks as they happen.

2.   Resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed.

Science has shown us that resilience can be learned and cultivated, so we all have the resources within us and around us to strengthen our resilience.

3.    Think flexibly.

Keeping a flexible mindset helps you to bounce-back more easily. When you’re faced with absorbing an unexpected event, having a flexible approach to how you move forward will help build self confidence and hope.

4.    Keep it real.

By keeping your expectations real (albeit ambitious!), you’ll avoid blind optimism, which can be a lovely way to get started on a project, but not so useful when you encounter a setback.

5.    Focus on your wins.

When you suffer a setback and you’re ready to recover your energy, turning your attention towards what you have succeeded at can be very energising and can bolster your motivation to carry on. 

6.    You’re never alone.

Connecting with others is an energising strategy that will help you to recover from the emotional bumps and bruises you might sustain along the way. Engage with like-minded people and support each other through the twists and turns.

7.     Practice self-compassion.

Typically, when faced with a disappointment, a mistake or a rejection, our inner-critic greets us with a bunch of self-critical thoughts. One antidote to self-critical thinking is self-compassionate behaviour. Self-compassion refers to treating ourselves with the tenderness that we would a close friend who has just suffered a setback.

8.    Invest in your physical and mental wellbeing

Your ability to build resilience, will always be supported by the building blocks of physical and mental health such as sleep, nutrition, mindfulness and exercise.

Image credit: rebelgirls.co