Civil Service: Resilience, the true ingredient to success

Civil Service: Resilience, the true ingredient to success

Monday, 28th of January

What does ‘resilience’ actually mean? We hear the word often and tend to see it as just a way of being able to cope with stress - it soon becomes a boring, white-noise word. But what if we instead saw it as a tool for achieving real success and growth?

The Google definition of resilience is: ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties’.

But, how does one actually apply this to daily situations to better manage setbacks we face, especially when dealing with unexpected exam results or job application rejections?

Here are some tips that have helped me in these situations, which can hopefully help you too!

1. Let go of things that are outside of your area of influence.

A simple one but one we easily forget – for example, waiting for your exam/assignment results. We all know that brings nerves and overthinking! It is more helpful to remember that this is now outside of our influence as we have done our part of completing the exam. Now it is just a matter of awaiting the result, but whether you stress about it or not the outcome won’t change – instead remind yourself of your efforts and you have done what you can.

2. You are in control of how you RESPOND to a setback.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes we can control an outcome and sometimes we can’t – but either way, we can control our perspective on a setback or disappointment. When you realise you are in control of your reaction, you can achieve a sense of empowerment through that. You have the power to rise above a setback – you can see if you are able to find a silver lining in a dark cloud.

3. You are allowed to make mistakes.

I think this one applies to a lot of young people, especially students  - it isn’t the end of  the world if you suffer a setback. (Being raised in a BAME Household however you may, like myself, have grown believing the opposite! Coming from that background though, no matter how disadvantaged, I think that expectation to do well has made me personally more resilient to setbacks!). We have become very accustomed to getting results quickly; fast food, instant messaging, mobile banking, next day deliveries etc. Young people today especially have become used to instant gratification; when things go wrong can be impatient and stress too much over these small things.  Setbacks are lessons for us to learn and grow and can even lead to new opportunities. You still have plenty of time to turn it around and use those lessons on your journey to success. Success is always valued more when truly worked for.

4. Become better than you were yesterday.

We have a tendency to look at others and compare ourselves to them, especially if we think they are doing ‘better’ than us.  You must remember everyone has their success at different times – Morgan Freeman had to wait until he was in his 50s! I strongly believe if you strive to become better than the person you were yesterday, then you are on the right path to really achieve your own success.

5.  What will be will be

This principle is rather spiritual but has personally helped me a great deal to deal with any setbacks just by knowing if it didn’t go my way it simply wasn’t meant to be, and I can learn from this. With persistence, I will find a better opportunity – it’s all about a positive perspective. Perhaps you weren’t successful in getting that internship or graduate scheme you wanted - maybe this is because something better is waiting a little further down the line, you just don’t know it yet. Lastly, you may have noticed the word ‘failure’ wasn’t mentioned once above.  The advice above is to help change how you view setbacks, and rather than letting it put you down, you’ll see it as a way of building your resilience and strength for your journey to success. Setbacks don’t mean you have failed!

The Civil Service values the role wellbeing plays in our daily lives, especially in times of disappointment or setbacks. Check out our resources here to learn more: https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/tag/wellbeing/

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