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As the world continues to struggle with lockdowns in some of the world’s largest cities, millions of people have also had to deal with the pandemic’s impact on their professional lives. For most of us, a sea of changes swept up our work lives. Familiar methods and processes have been upended. During times like these, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But even though the times are uncertain, time itself doesn’t stop. To continue to work towards our personal and professional goals, against the backdrop of such uncertainty, requires resilience. Thankfully, resilience is a trait we can build that will help us to cope with any of life’s setbacks, even if they relate to our careers, while still striving towards our goals.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is a crucial skill when it comes to pursuing our personal or professional goals. This is because on the path to achieving these goals, we are often met with unexpected challenges and setbacks and how we cope – our resilience – is critical.

Resilience is defined as the capacity of an individual to cope with change, and bounce back after misfortune, stress, trauma, and hardship. Building Resilience means having the mental and emotional muscle and flexibility, to be able to adapt to the change and face difficulties. Challenges and obstacles are part of life and our ability to cope in a positive capacity to these, is an important part of fulfilment and joy in life.

Resilience & Adaptability for Career Success

Much like in our personal lives, our professional lives also bring their own challenges, difficulties, and obstacles. We have all had to deal with complex emotions, circumstances, and situations at work. We have lost jobs, been overlooked for promotions, among others. The ability to deal with these changes and challenges in a positive capacity in our careers, is what we refer to as career resilience.

Therefore, considered another way – career resilience implies individuals taking control of their own careers and their career destinies. Career blunders, sudden changes, and disappointments can all leave us feeling lost, or paralysed. Resilience allows us to continue to strive to reach our career goals, despite these inevitable setbacks.

Why Career Resilience is crucial in 2021 & Beyond

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a fundamental change in our work, and the circumstances surrounding our work. As the pace of change propels faster and faster, we are all having to part and find our feet in a very tumultuous and uncertain situation. Indeed, with the far-reaching and all-encompassing nature of the change, we are experiencing career resilience and it is now crucial to individual career success, and organisational success at large.

An equally important aspect of career resilience relates to an individual’s preparedness for market shifts, and the ability to respond positively to job market shifts and demands, a crucial skill as COVD-19 gives rise to a host of new opportunities and roles. COVID-19 has undoubtedly tested both our personal and professional resilience and adaptability. By extension, businesses now demand that their employees exhibit career-resilience. In other words, employees are not only dedicated to continuous learning but have been responsible for upskilling, retooling, and updating their abilities to stay-up-to-date with the market changes.

Here are three (3) ways that you can build your career resilience to make you more adaptable to change.

  1. Define your personal and professional goals

A goal is a great tool. It gives you direction. For individuals, especially in the face of uncertainty, it can also keep us motivated. Whenever we face strong challenges and obstacles, it is our goals that help us to reflect. This gives us the necessary wind in our sails to carry on. Setting clear personal, and professional goals is a great way to build resilience.  To make sure that your goals are effective, it is vital to set clear and achievable professional goals. Don’t downplay your abilities here. Be honest, but challenge yourself. It is also important to hold yourself accountable to these goals. Make them tangible by setting deadlines, and being clear on what success or achieving these goals would look like.

     2. Build strong networks

Strong personal and professional networks are crucial to career resilience. Building strong support networks, with people who you can turn to, is a great way to boost resilience. This network is a fantastic resource for support when you have to deal with tough decisions at work, a rejection, or any other career setbacks. It is important to identify and cultivate these relationships. Don’t focus only on your benefits. These relationships should always strive to be reciprocal. Look for people who you admire, and trust, and build mutually beneficial relationships with them. Learn from them. Building strong connections at work is important when it comes to dealing with the changes that often occur in our careers. The sudden torrents and challenges can be handled when one has professional networks, to support them through it all.

    3. Practice Reflection

In addition, it is important to practice reflection in every area of our lives – including our professional lives. Taking time out to reflect on yourself – your unique strengths and weaknesses is an important skill for anyone looking to build resilience. Having a clear understanding of what motivates you, your values and beliefs, your feelings, stress triggers, allows you to better regulate yourself and better understand and respond to others. It also allows you to do more of what you do like and less of what you don’t. With regards to this, we must put time aside to take stock of ourselves, our goals, our skills, our organisation and what other employers are looking for in our industry, then identify the skills needed to update and stay relevant.

To conclude, taking some time to work on these activities can strengthen our career resilience and make sure that despite the headwinds we face in our careers, we dare to keep forging a path.

Irene Asare

About the Writer:

Irene Asare is a Human Capital Expert, an Executive Coach and Founder/CEO – CarvinClay People Development, a Human Resource consultancy focused on proving world-class HR solutions for businesses and their people.

Email: hello@ireneasare.com

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