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A little more than a year ago I wrote a blog entry about The Need for Stamina and Resilience.

Given the seemingly never ending bad news these day I thought that the topic of resilience was topical enough to give a little more focus.

Last year I talked about these two qualities in the context of the workforce and how one of the tools we use through the hiring process at Eagle looks at these qualities.

Today I thought I would focus in on the how we can all improve our resilience, but perhaps more importantly why we need to do that.

One of the big news stories in Ottawa this week was the “bid rigging scandal” which saw the Competition Bureau laying charges against 7 companies and 14 individuals in relation to some government contracts. These companies operate in the same space that I do, and I know some of the individuals very well. So far charges have been laid, but of course that does not mean they are guilty. I talked to a couple of the people I know about how they were doing and the very common message was that the stress levels are through the roof.

The collapse in the stock market and subsequent impact on economies around the world has seen many individuals wealth wiped out, and for those lucky enough to have a portfolio left it has been hammered and could take years to recover. News stories are surfacing about Boomers now choosing to “put off” retirement while their investments recover. Companies have gone bankrupt, unemployment levels are climbing rapidly … do you think there is some stress involved?

The causes of stress are all around us, and probably accelerating for many of us. The more common “stressors” such as changing job, moving home, marital issues, new babies etc. are still there, along with the impact of the economy … business owners wondering if they will remain in business, people wondering if they have a job, retirees wondering if they can survive!

It is a fact that these times will pass … that the world will get back on an even keel, and its a fair bet that most people will be able to rebuild their “nest eggs”, to build back wealth, to rejuvenate their companies etc. There will also be some new opportunities come from this crisis and some companies just won’t make it.

At an individual level we all have our different ways to “cope” with stress … but resilience is an attribute that comes into its own at a time like this. The people with that ability to “get back up” when they take a hit, the people who can keep things in perspective … are those who will survive and thrive the best.

At the root of resilience is your attitude to adversity … are you able to rationalize your way through the “noise” of an issue?

– Can you “change the things within your control and ignore the things you can’t control?”
– Can you recognize that in every situation there are positives … things could always be worse?
– Can you take a deep breath or two when confronted with a stressful situation?
– Can you step back and find answers to your problems?

Faced with major stress, it is important to keep things in perspective.

– You need to look after yourself physically as best you can. get a physical, stop drinking, eat healthy, get some moderate exercise, keep active mentally and physically.
– You need to focus on the positive things in your life as much as possible.
– You need strategies to deal with your issues and an action plan that navigates you through to a positive end.
– You need to lean on your friends … but only the positive ones, keep away from the “doom and gloom” crowd (you know who they are)!

People have an amazing capacity to deal with hardship, both physical and mental … there is an old saying, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. Don’t let stress kill you!