Qualities Of Highly Resilient People

By: Julie-Lewis

Why do some individuals have the ability to thrive during turbulent times and bounce back from tough times, to be stronger than before? Why do some people seem able to spot the silver lining in any cloud? Why are some people better at coping with life than others?

The answer is resilience, and the good news is that it’s a package of skills and behaviors that can be learnt and developed to ensure you can bolster your capacity to thrive during change whatever your age, circumstance or experience.



The Business case for Resilience

In today’s rapidly changing world resilience is a vital success skill.

Major trends, transitions and shifts are impacting every industry and more than ever, individuals, teams and organizations need to be able to adapt to change and challenges swiftly.

The more resilient a person is, and as a consequence their organization is, the higher the ability to succeed. Add to this the increase in creativity, productivity, and performance that have been linked to resilience it is easy to see why this essential leadership skill is a must.

Whether it’s in business, sports or life, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. As an entrepreneur, adventurer and wife to a stage four cancer patient (who is thankfully in remission) I can hold my hand on my heart and say that resilience is one of the key factors that has kept me sane and standing strong-emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.


Definitions of Resilience

Here are a few:

• The ability to bounce back after setbacks, disappointments and failure

• The ability to adapt swiftly to change and grow following adversity

• The ability to persevere and see the silver lining in every cloud

•The ability to brush failure to one side and continue towards your goal with a new mindset

• IQ & EQ + X the ability to thrive during a challenging change and environment. (x being resilience)


One of my favorite quotes by Lau Tzu is “Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water’. It’s a great metaphor for resilience. It’s a gift to be able to stand strong like a mountain through the storms yet also know that at times, it’s better to let go and go with the flow, to weave around obstacles like water and respond to what’s going on around you.


I’ve had a lifetime of experiences that have helped to build my current level of resilience. Leaving home at11years old to attend a private boarding school, working in the Middle East, being held at gun point in the desert during the Iraq invasion , widowed, blown off mountains , pulled out from the English channel , slumps in business , death of a loved one and more recently supporting my husband through a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. I’ve also had lots of great experiences traveling the world, leading teams on over 60 expeditions, climbed several high-altitude mountains, published a book and enjoy an active social and family life.


The fact of the matter is the more experiences you have the more resilient you become. The more resilient you become the more able you are to adapt swiftly to change, remain optimistic, manage stress and anxiety and stay calm even when the going gets tough.


Stop reading for a moment and write down 3 experiences that you have had (be they good ones or not so good) that, on reflection, really shaped you and built your resilience. What new experiences are you planning in your business, sports or life to take your resilience to the next level?

Characteristics of Resilient People


Back in 2015 I studied with Nicholson McBride, a group of Business Psychologists in the UK who, through science-based research, identified 5 elements and 5 dimensions of resilience and resilient leadership.


The Five Elements of Resilience


  • Optimism

  • Solution Orientation

  • Individual Accountability

  • Openness & Flexibility

  • Managing Stress & Anxiety

The Five Dimensions of Resilient Leadership


  • Vision

  • Effectiveness

  • Empowerment

  • Responsiveness

  • Supportiveness


Which of these 10 characteristics do you resonate with the most? Which ones do you feel you need to work on? How do they influence the way you live your life, run your business, compete in a sport? How can you utilize them to impact your business, life, family and community?


I’ll close this article with one of my favorite quotes from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:


“Everything will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright it’s not the end”

How about that for optimism!




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© 2018 by Evolve Magazine