Creating resilience – what does it take?

When President Obama was recently asked how he’s made progress and made changes since taking the helm as the President of the United States, his response pointed to two factors – resilience and persistence.

They’ve done studies of kids growing up in poor neighbourhoods or war-torn regions of the world and [there are] kids that survive it and thrive. It’s not necessarily the smartest kid, it’s the most resilient kid. And I think that’s true in just about every circumstance.

President Obama

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to adapt to change and the ability to keep moving forward despite coming across challenges that could throw you off-course. Often resilience is described as adapting well in the face of adversity and as a way to ‘bounce back’ from difficult situations. At Kona Coaching we’ve developed a model that helps you to ‘bounce forward’, not backwards. The focus is not on just dealing with challenges, but actually using these challenges as an excuse to thrive.

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Creating Resilience


The more confident you are, the more likely you are to deal with challenges effectively and to take bold steps to overcome roadblocks that threaten to throw you off-course. As your confidence builds, you’ll start to thrive and move closer to achieving the goals that are important to you.


Thinking and behaving flexibly gives you an advantage when it comes to dealing with challenges. Understanding you can’t always change the scenario you find yourself in, but you can change your response and how you feel about the situation will encourage you to cope effectively, reduce stress levels and succeed – even in tough situations.


In order to move forward you need an objective understanding of where you are now, so the key is to be realistically optimistic. Even if you’re not naturally a positive or optimistic person, there are ways of enhancing your optimism levels, enabling you to take steps towards improving your performance and happiness in all areas of your life.


Developing the ability to see situations from alternative points of view will enable you to be objective and respond to situations in a way that creates a favourable outcome for you. The power of perspective will encourage you to be open to new ideas, boost your creativity and view challenges as part of normal life.


Honing your skills and mastering your mindset will help you to take control of how you think and behave, improve your performance and reach your potential. As you become an expert at mastery, you’ll feel in control and you’ll cope effectively in difficult circumstances.


Increasing your stamina will enable you to build the momentum required to ‘bounce forward’ when you hit a roadblock. Understanding and accepting you will get knocked off-course along your journey and that your stamina is the key to keeping you moving, will help you to achieve more despite facing challenges.

Who benefits from creating resilience?

A common misconception is that only those that are stressed, not coping well or feeling anxious will benefit from boosting their resilience. The truth is, most people benefit from being more resilient. Resilience is about so much more than coping with circumstances or getting back on track, although it can certainly help in these situations. A resilient mindset is often the missing link in enhancing your performance and achieving more. Even if you’re currently performing at a reasonable level in any area of your life, being more resilient can help you to move from surviving to thriving.

Quick tips

Focus on your strengths – what are your natural talents and abilities? Are you clear about what you’re good at and do you focus on these qualities? By playing to your strengths, you’ll boost your performance in areas that are important to you.

Be flexible in how you see situations – adopting an adaptable mindset and seeing other perspectives when you come across challenging situations will help you to cope more effectively in stressful situations. Learning how to challenge yourself to see alternative perspectives will give you a more rounded overview of the situation.

Understand what’s in your control – being realistic about what is and isn’t in your control in challenging situations will help you to deal with situations in a way that creates a favourable outcome for you.

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