How resilient are you? How well do you respond to the setbacks in life?

I was listening to Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook talk about returning from a tragic loss she experienced. Her husband died of a heart attack while working out on a vacation. She has young children and it has been a challenge to come back from the loss. She has decided to turn the tragedy into something that helps others.

Here is something I have learned about resilience. You don’t muster it when you need it. You develop it to use when called upon.

Sandberg describes resilience as “the speed and strength at which you respond to adversity.”

So, how do you prepare to be resilient?

  • Associate yourself with a supportive network. Who can you lean on for support? Who can you call for advice? Who will help when the lifting gets heavy? You can build your network by being available to support, advise, and lift with others when needed.
  • Commit to learning. The more you know, the more you can call on when tested. Acquiring skills. Gaining knowledge.
  • Faithfully developing competence continually enables you to craft creative strategies when a trial comes. Competence breeds confidence. When you’re confident, you can face challenges with the belief that you will overcome them.
  • Courageous communication. Resilience doesn’t occur in isolation. You must be able to talk about tough issues, make tough admissions, and describe the real issues we face.
  • “Next play” perspective. Setbacks are exactly that – setbacks. Stopping to hurt. Stopping to heal. Stopping to grieve. All those things are real. But resilient people don’t hang there; they get up and move on.

You can start planning on being resilient today. You can respond to adversity with greater speed and greater strength. You just need to prepare for it.