Resilience Is The Ability To Bounce Back

14th January 2016

Gavin Preston

Be Inspired


Have you had setbacks in your business/your life?

Maybe a sales campaign didn’t yield the results you wanted; you didn’t win that ‘must win’ account; you lost a major account; a key member of your team left to work with the competition; a strategically important supplier increased their prices or your cashflow took a big hit? Whether it is one of these issues or others, they can ruin your day, your week or even longer.

Some people bounce back quickly from setbacks like these but for others they can have a significant effect upon their confidence, drive and sense of well-being.

Our ability to bounce back after a setback is also known as our resilience. The good news is we can increase our resilience and sense of well-being.

Research by the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania has shown there are things we can do to improve our resilience. They have developed a model called PERMA.

Theory of Well Being

Resilience is the ability to bounce back.

Martin Seligman’s 2011 book Flourish explains each of the components of the model and therefore how we can increase each element in our own lives:

Positive Emotions

Positive emotions are an essential part of our well-being. Happy people look back on the past with gratitude and happiness. They have an optimistic view of the future and look to find the enjoyment in the present.

There are many that do the opposite; negative people remember the bad times, worry about the future and are anxious about the present, only noticing what isn’t right.

Action: When you wake up in the morning, pause during your day and before you go to sleep at night, ask yourself: What am I grateful for? What are the things that I can be happy about in the past, (space needed here) present and the future?

Allow yourself to feel that gratitude and happiness.


We increase our well-being by building strong relationships. When we share that sense of well-being with others in those relationships it in turn builds their sense of well-being.

Building strong relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours increases our sense of well-being.

We are tribal creatures. One of the basic human needs is the need to belong, to feel like we belong to something whether that be a family unit, a group of friends, a sporting team, a club etc.

Action: Do something each week to deepen your relationships inside and outside of your business/work.


Daniel Pink’s research into motivation in his book Drive has shown that we are most motivated by the intrinsic nature of a challenge. Setting a goal or a challenge that we are excited about not only motivates us, it can be like finding the power button to switch someone back on again. Then when we succeed, it gives a great sense of achievement. As Seligman says ‘To achieve well-being and happiness, we must be able to look back on our lives with a sense of accomplishment: I did it and I did it well.’

Action: Write down your wins each day and each week. Even the smallest of wins such as an enjoyable conversation with your friend can provide a sense of accomplishment, as can securing the big deal. Start to notice all the things you are accomplishing right now.

You will find this will make you feel better about yourself and fuels you for the next goals / challenges.


When we do what we love and are totally immersed in it, we can lose all sense of time. We are completely present, with all of our attention in the present moment, focussed on what we are doing. Athletes call this being ‘in the zone’. This is a state of being in flow.

Too many people are not fully present in what they are doing.

When they are at home with their families, they are thinking about work/their business and vice versa. One of the greatest gifts we can all give to other people is the gift of our presence. We also increase our productivity and effectiveness by being totally present in the moment with the activity we are doing.

Action: When you are engaged in a task in your business, purposefully choose to totally focus on what you are doing; 100% there in the moment in mind and body. Switch off all distractions. Enjoy the improved quality of your output and the increased connection in your relationships.


We will do more for other people than we will do for ourselves. For example we do more for our children than we will do for ourselves. All too often people get wrapped up in their own lives and don’t look beyond themselves. Yet when we give some of our time and energy to helping others (whether that is family members, friends, charitable causes or playing your part in achieving a worthwhile goal) we get a greater sense of fulfilment. Building a legacy and having a clear purpose of who your business or your life is serving brings out the best in us. We are more insightful, creative and fulfilled.

Action:  Whether through your business or your social time, find out what worthy causes you can contribute to or give your time to.  Even if it’s only in a small way, go out there and make a difference and notice how good it makes you feel.

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