Resilience. Is it the same as Tough?

We hear a lot about resilience these days in the business world. But what is it?

work place mentally strong

For many, the work place has never been so demanding, fast-moving or uncertain.

It’s hard to handle the pace of change ourselves; it can, understandably, lead to various forms of stress.

And it’s doubly hard if we’re also having to lead others through uncertain times. We’re helping others to cope… when we need some help ourselves!

And business suffers. How could it not?

According to the latest HSE figures for 2019/20, 17.9 million working days were lost due to stress, anxiety or depression.

Those are harsh figures…almost a scream.

I remember when a commitment to mental wellbeing in companies was called ‘the soft stuff’.

Perhaps with these statistics in mind, it’s time to call it what it is: ‘the hard stuff’…part of the core curriculum for business today.

To this end, we hear much about ‘resilience’. It is a word come of age, almost a buzz word.

In uncertain and changing times, it’s something employers are looking for in their staff.

‘We need resilience!’

But what does it mean?

Some people imagine ‘resilient’ is the same as ‘tough’.

We’ll be familiar with this line:

‘Hard times? Then tough it out, grow a pair, hang in there – and who knows, things might get better?!’

But ‘tough’ is brittle; it’s a hard protective shell we put around us – but a shell that can crack in a moment.

‘Tough’ is also isolated – so busy with its own survival, it has no time and energy for anyone else – other than barked commands or moody withdrawal.

Resilience, however, is different.

Resilience is ‘strong’ rather than ‘tough’, with deeper roots.

It is also a great deal more social, more team-centred.

People who are resilient tend to be aware of themselves, of their strengths and weaknesses, of their tipping points – and their places of recovery.

They’re people who can accept the reality of their situation rather than running away from it; and who can find meaning in their lives through both the good times and the difficult.

It’s difficult to over-emphasise the dangers that arise from a loss of meaning.

And so the resilient tend to be inventive in adversity rather than crushed by it; they have a can-do attitude; and they’ll possess, or be growing into, equanimity – the gift of being even-minded even when the world is falling in around you…as it does sometimes.

Who wouldn’t want such resilience in themselves and their staff?

If you’re interested in developing such resilience in your company our Resilience Now workshop may be for you.