Time and again I see employers asking for the skill of resilience in job descriptions and advertisements. While the term resilience can seem to be an amorphous attribute, Kathryn Jackson, career specialist and author of the new coaching-style workbook Resilience at Work, has five keys that help us understand the importance of this vital skill, and how we can harness it more effectively in our lives.

1.Resilience is always personal "Our need for resilience is largely driven by our perception of the increased stress and pressure in our life, and in our work," Jackson believes.

"Stress can lead to genuine sickness, contributing to around $1.5 billion/yr lost due to absence and stress" (Wellness in the Workplace Survey Report, 2017). However , if you were to ask 100 people in the street what causes this stress and pressure, you would likely get 100 different answers. What causes pressure for one person will be a positive driver for another.

"As a result, growing resilience in people requires a more personalised approach than simply jumping on the latest resilience-related trend," Jackson says.

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2.Building resilience starts in your head

Our perceived need for resilience is linked to our internal response to external stressors, so taking the time to get to know our thoughts is critical to becoming more resilient. "What we believe to be true about things that happen around us has a very real impact on the neurochemical response in our bodies — leading to helpful or unhelpful physical states".

3.Resilience can be successfully developed

Jacksons' research has found resilient attributes can be developed at any time. "By exploring the four foundations for resilience — Emotional Honesty (developing emotional literacy and tending to our emotional well-being), Self-Care (prioritising the recharge of spiritual and physical well-being), Connecting (choosing our tribe wisely and staying connected for real) and Learning (the skill of learning and growing stronger), you can check in with yourself to ensure you are operating from a place of optimal strength".

4.Resilience is often misunderstood

As a relatively new area of research, resilience is gathering exciting momentum. "Much more than simply gritting your teeth, bouncing back or being happy all the time, to be at your most resilient you must remind yourself how you best nurture all parts of your emotional, spiritual, physical, social and intellectual well-being".

5.The skill of resilience is sought out by employers

"Look up resilience as a general concept and you'll quickly find it's everywhere right now; cultural resilience, economic resilience and community resilience. The great news is that it is an attribute that's widely perceived as positive in the employment world".

The world of work is not going to stop changing, and the things that cause us pressure in our work are unlikely to disappear. Therefore, having the knowledge and skills to self-manage your own resilience means you are more likely to thrive, instead of just survive.

Contact Tom O'Neil and the team at CV.CO.NZ for a free CV or LinkedIn assessment or to be your personal career coach. Visit www.cv.co.nz or www.CareerCoach.nz to find out more.