The Importance of Being Resilient in your Career

This article discusses resilience and its importance in meeting career goals. Four strategies for increasing resilience in your life are offered as a good starting point.

If you are a fan of the Rocky movies, you probably know something about resilience. Rocky Balboa sums it up nicely with his famous line:

“It ain’t about how hard you hit, and it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Resilience is the ability to quickly get back into the groove of things after facing a setback or hardship, and it avoids demotivation. This is not a skill you can be born with – it has to be acquired throughout a lifetime.

Resilience is a crucial trait to have if you want to have a long-lasting and successful career. It is impossible to meet your career goals if every minor setback is enough to discourage you from moving forward.

Here are some ways to cultivate resilience in your career and continue to move forward through your career after facing hardships.

Start Small

Often, a hardship or challenge can be so devastating that you don’t even know where to begin. Feeling lost and powerless makes it very difficult to be resilient. When facing massive problems like these, it can be helpful to break the issue down into smaller, more manageable sub-problems, ones that don’t make you feel so powerless.

It is tempting to bite off more than you can chew and try to solve a significant problem all at once. Consider taking the polar opposite approach: start as small as possible.

Though it seems counter-intuitive, ask yourself what a minor thing you can and will do that would begin to solve the problem. You are far more likely to be successful taking this approach than if you were to take on the entire issue at once.

Solving even a tiny portion of the problem will give you a sense of agency and confidence and make it easier to be resilient. Start small and move forward with self-assurance.

A strong support network

A strong support network is an essential step to resilience. Many close friends and family who can be relied on for support and who you feel comfortable asking for help when you need it can prevent you from hitting rock bottom.

However, it can be challenging for many people to ask for help even during their darkest hours. To ask for help requires courage and vulnerability, especially when you will likely be feeling vulnerable already.

Let’s say you need references for a job opportunity you’ve been interviewing for. Your last boss says he wouldn’t give it to you. Someone with no resilience would get frustrated up to a point it would compromise the following steps on getting that job. Resilience wouldn’t let you give up. You would move on to the next colleague and ask for this positive reference.

For this reason, it is vital to stay connected to a robust support system during both the good and bad times.

Then hopefully, when you are slipping and in need of support, you won’t feel hesitant to ask for help, and perhaps your support network will notice without even being asked. Keep your friends and family close to you and move forward together.


Spirituality is often used synonymously with religion, but it doesn’t have to be. Spirituality is a feeling of connection to a power greater than yourself. It certainly can occur in the form of religion, but it could be any shared or deeply held belief.

Spirituality will allow you to put hardships and obstacles into perspective, which is necessary for resilience, and it provides a higher sense of purpose and hope.

This way, when things in your career or other areas of life may not be going according to plan, you will have other, more important goals and aims to look to. Find a level of spirituality that works for you and use it as an aid to be resilient and move forward.

De-stress the right way

You may be tempted to turn to drugs, alcohol, or other vices as a way to keep moving through hardships. Avoid this at all costs. This is not true resilience but rather a way to delay the pain until a later date, and it is not a good long-term strategy.

However, healthy coping mechanisms are a great way to increase resilience. Exercise, reading, movies, music, whatever you enjoy. Find what works for you and use it to de-stress and move forward.

Bottom Line

Hardships are a certainty in life. If you want to meet your career goals, you will need to cultivate resilience and learn how to move forward when these hard times come along.

As time goes on, you will find it becoming more accessible and easier to get up when life knocks you down, and you will be able better to navigate yourself through a meaningful and long-lasting career.

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