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Resilience – what it means, how to build it, and why it matters – has been a popular topic of discussion among thought leaders and educators the last several years.

Right now, resilience is not just a hot topic: We need it more than ever.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, resilience is defined as “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise.”

This has never been truer of how we manage our careers, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred both the new work-from-home mandate and record-breaking unemployment claims. So many people around the world are asking: “What do I do now?”

As situations change by the day and ambiguity abounds, we can either rise to the challenge…or decide it’s an impossible one. As you may have guessed, my vote is to find opportunities to build up your resilience, both personally and professionally.

Here are 10 ways you can build your resilience now – and strengthen your career for the future.  

  1. Remember this is temporary. While that can be easier said than done, remind yourself that the coronavirus crisis won’t last forever.
  2. Enlist support. It’s important to stay connected as we are social distancing. Asking others for their help can be exactly what you need to get through the loss of a job, a tough day, or the challenges of finding new employment.
  3. Spend time developing your personal brand. Being your own advocate will help you build resilience. Now is a great time to reflect on your brand and shape how you want others to see you.
  4. Invite others to connect. Often we expect others to reach out and connect with us. What if you introduced yourself instead? A great way to do this is on LinkedIn: reaching out and asking others to connect with you. Make the first move, and build your community.  
  5. Look to people who have a positive mental mindset. They might be personal friends, an influencer you follow on social media, or a thought leader who inspires you. Their outlook is one you want to be around and listen to in tough times like these.
  6. Identify your goals. Setting even small goals, like sticking to a daily routine, can be empowering and deliver greater results. Pick something that you can achieve over the next 30 days. This is a building block to setting bigger, S.M.A.R.T. career goals when you are ready.
  7. Evaluate your marketing tools. Let’s face it, you probably have the time. Dig up your resume, find your bio (if you have one), look at what’s missing in your LinkedIn profile. Even if you are not job searching, take this time to freshen up your marketing tools and ensure they are an accurate reflection of you and your accomplishments.
  8. Network, network, network. Now is a great time to personalize your approach to networking. Even simply asking “How are you?” is quite powerful today – because people really mean it. Initiate a virtual coffee, an informational interview, or just a check in with someone you have been meaning to reach out to. Doing so can strengthen your networking skills and deepen these connections.
  9. Collect information. Knowledge is power. Read about or follow organizations you are interested in, source articles on employment and hiring trends by experts, and learn what is happening in your industry. This information will bring clarity to your future career decisions.
  10. Expect it will get better. Like Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Choose to think things will get better, and if it helps, start reading from the top again.

Resilience is about acquiring mental toughness, deciding to meet a challenge rather than shrink from it.

Find small ways to build up your resilience now. You’ll increase your capacity for handling tough times throughout your career—and walk away from this stressful time much, MUCH stronger.

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