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Four Key Components of Resiliency

Four Key Components of Resiliency


“If there’s a word people in the top ranks of human capital are buzzing about these days, it’s resilience. I get asked all the time what it means—followed by questions about how to get more of it” writes Jan Bruce in the Forbes article “How To Know If You’re Truly Resilient”.

So why is Resilience so hot right now? Although stress is nothing new, because of the advancements in technology, people are constantly connected and working more hours than ever before.

Did you know:

  • Using data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950.1
  • Harris Interactive Inc.’s 2013 Work Stress Survey showed that 83 percent of Americans polled were stressed at work, a marked increase from 73 percent in 2012.2
  • High levels of stress are likely to be precursors to depression, which can hit both the employer and employee’s pocketbook.  John Weaver, PsyD, a psychologist and owner of Psychology for Business, places the direct cost of depression to the workplace at $79 billion.3
  • Stress is the #1 cause of health problems – mentally and physically.1

The ability to handle the stresses of balancing work life and a healthy home life is a highly sought after trait. The ability to be resilient is crucial in the world that we live in.

So what does it mean to be resilient? Resiliency isn’t just about bouncing back in times of adversity, but bouncing forward. Research shows that highly resilient people respond to challenges with flexibility, and even find opportunities within workplace challenges.

TRACOM’s Resilient Mindset Model has 9 core elements which address three dimensions: Filter – which is how you filter information and interpret the world, Act – how you handle changes, and Interact – how you communicate and connect with others. According to Jan Bruce there are four key components that contribute to resilience. I am going to relate her four components to TRACOM’s Resilient Mindset Model.

1. You believe in yourself – This relates to the elements of Personal Responsibility and Self Assurance. Personal responsibility refers to the extent to which individuals believe that their success at work is determined by their talents and motivation as opposed to external factors such as luck or good timing. Self-assurance is when the extent to which individuals believe in their ability to successfully perform work-related tasks or behaviors.

2. You have the ability to see what is possible, while also seeing what is – this refers to TRACOM’s Realistic Optimism, which is an individuals’ tendency to see the world in a positive way, but also remain grounded in reality. Bruce says, “Blind optimism is a liability, but tempered with clear vision, an optimistic outlook is an asset, and I’m far more likely to trust someone with a sense of realistic optimism than someone who refuses to take into account the downsides in the “spirit of positivity.” The most resilient people assess their surroundings as well as their own strengths and weaknesses in context, and know where they will excel—and where they will fall short. At the same time, they have a positive bias—they expect good things from the world and from other people. It’s this kind of outlook that allows them to do what’s also critical: To see the world for what it is.”

3. You have control over your impulses and feelings – This relates to Self-Composure, the extent to which individuals can manage their stress and remain calm under pressure. Resilient people are typically high in Behavioral EQ, and have appropriate responses to big or little situations. Bruce writes “The most resilient people I know aren’t hotheads; they don’t combust over little (or big) things. They’re able to take everything into account before they respond so that they don’t make mistakes, rash decisions, or other actions they may regret. Unchecked emotions and impulses not only contribute to those actions, but can cost them some self-preservation, as they’re big contributors to stress. This takes a lot of practice, no question! We’ll spend our lives learning to be better. But it is a skill that can be learned and honed, and the most resilient among us know that.”

4. You aim high and reach out – this relates to TRACOM’s Goal Orientation which is when individuals set appropriate goals and monitor their progress on those goals.  In order to achieve goals we must set SMART goals. This means goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. It is important to set goals to reach a desired outcome, rather than focusing solely on the end-goal. For example, if we say we want to lose 20 pounds, we aren’t as likely to reach that end goal as if we said I am going to work-out for at least  25 minutes every day. One interesting thing about the brain is that it has a great deal of difficulty distinguishing between what we want and what we have. When we set a goal, we feel as though we’ve already accomplished it, but if we fail to meet the desired outcome, we feel as though we have lost a valued possession, even a part of ourselves. That is why goals are such important drivers for behavior.


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