Building on past setbacks. How to develop your resilience…

People often refer to how Thomas Edison persevered over others’ scepticism of his diversity. There are others, such as James Dyson, who likewise fought through challenges. Taking 15yrs, 5100+ attempts creating a bagless vacuum.

Resilience is the ability to get back up when knocked down or not going to plan. So why is it so important?

People comment on how I overcame throat cancer diagnosed in Feb 2008. I use this as an example for most wouldn’t even know I suffered with it or the hard work it took to be able to eat the simplest of meals but this is another form of resilience. I would not be beaten, so now enjoy a wide variety of foods that otherwise I would not have had if not for resilience.

In business/life, it is critical that we neither dwell upon nor wallow on how things appear unfair. Resilient people acknowledge and learn from mistakes or situations, using this as ammunition or stepping blocks to forge forward.

Resilience is as much about the mindset and self-talk as it is about viewing the glass as half full, not empty (or as some have said, “Neil, your damn glass is overflowing”!). It is about how you perceive life and situations. We will always be subjected to knock-backs but it is how we deal with these that our strength of character and persistence originates. Here are some areas that I noticed the aforementioned people used:

GOAL SETTING: Obviously, as a business coach, I believe this to be one of the most important areas. You can set SMART goals and make sure they align with your beliefs as well as values to insure a higher chance of success.

PERSPECTIVE: put things into perspective. They may seem overwhelming but assess what affect this may have long-term. Incorporate these areas into your goals and know how to break them into manageable or relevant parts.

POSITIVE THINKING: Consider how you talk to yourself or mind-chatter when something goes wrong! Do you focus on the negative or look at it as a lesson to be learned? Convert to the positive, eg “That didn’t work” to “knowing that, how can I…”. Reframing the way you talk externally and internally changes the mindset.

SELF-CONFIDENCE: Believe in yourself and work from the success you have achieved including those at school, college, University and the workplace. Self-confident people will also learn to take risks (as did Dyson). Confidence encourages taking these necessary risks from as early as taking the stabilisers off our bikes for the first time!

LEARN: Mistakes can be painful. The first fall once the stabilisers have been removed, but we move forward by getting back on (excuse the puns) and learning from the experience. Never stop learning and always find ways to improve from reading, watching experts, observing others and taking risks.

FLEXIBILITY: Kodak, Encyclopaedia Britannica and Woolworths ignored how the world was changing. Sticking by the old format and failed spectacularly. Constantly refer back to your objectives/goals making sure they can bend to accommodate new elements for development. It is important to work to a plan, however, constantly review and change where necessary.

RELATIONSHIPS: A great asset to have in building your resilience is a strong network of friends, family and colleagues. Stephen R.Covey wrote about ‘Interdependence’ emphasising the importance on building strength through experts around us who support us in areas of uncertainty or needing help.

REACTION: Bad news or negative actions can have a devastating effect on how we respond. For example, going back to the cancer, the news was not only shocking but impacted on the future. Treatment options were considered and chosen, developing a positive plan.

SLEEP & EXERCISE: As much as releasing endorphins, which stimulate positive thoughts, exercise helps stress-management. Being in a sedentary job, I go out walking at least 5 miles per day, helping clear the mind and giving focus when I return to work. Whether it be the gym, walking, cycling, a sport or, as is my other love, martial arts, find an exercise you enjoy and insure you get quality sleep to rest your body and mind too.

This is an area Coaching to Success are well versed in so if you or members within your team are finding Resilience to be out of reach or slipping through your grasp, then contact Neil to discuss how he can help by emailing or 07761 187238.

And why not get a feel for the person by checking out our short ‘interview’ video at