Getting Up vs. Giving Up: The Four Pillars of Resilience


“What do you speak about?” was one of the pre-qualifying messages I recently received from a potential suitor on Bumble, a popular dating app.

“I speak on resilience, change, mindfulness...those kinds of things.”

Instead of immediately accelerating the conversation with the oh-so-romantic “Send me a pic” text, he refreshingly writes, “Tell me about resilience.”

What makes people bounce back from adversity to shine even brighter? Why does someone get up instead of staying down after a nasty, metaphorical face-plant at work, at home or on the field?

After sitting quietly for a moment, these four nuggets of awesome appeared in my consciousness, and eventually in my response: “Get quiet every day. Stop caring about what other people think. Make friends with fear. Toughen up mentally to be comfortable with discomfort.”

If I ever get a chance to actually meet Mr. Maybe, here is what I would say if he wanted to learn more:

  1. Get quiet every day. When we shut down our cranial computers (or at least put them in Sleep mode) by sitting in silence for a few minutes every day, we gain greater perspectives on challenging situations. With every inhale, with every exhale, with every passing thought, with every moment, we clear out the noise of distraction that can paralyze us from recognizing real opportunities and taking true inspired action that will catapult us into success. Mindfulness and meditation are rapidly becoming hot topics in the world of C-suite leadership and beyond; top performers recognize that the clearer the mind, the better the performance.

  2. Stop caring about what other people think. When we get so wrapped up in what other people think of us, we hesitate when called upon. We’ll sheepishly look around the conference room table when a request for contribution is made. We’ll hold back sharing what we really think because we are afraid how our real opinions will “play” with the room. We’ll be Ramen Noodles instead of Panang Red Curry. However, when we finally, truly, deeply accept that some people in the room (literally or in the digital world) will never dig us or our ideas, a freedom is unleashed. We can start being ourselves no matter what any chucklehead may think or secretly wish he would have thought of first. We’ll step up to say yes even after colossally whiffing it in previous attempts, because we simply don’t care what John from Marketing or our 1100 Facebook friends think.

  3. Make friends with fear. Get to know your greatest allies – your unabashed panic, worry and doubt. Become intimately familiar with the scent of your own fear, the feeling she evokes within you, and her symptoms when she is present (yes, I have identified my fear as feminine). When you notice fear being triggered either at work or at home, you can use it as a signal mechanism to indicate where there is intense energy surrounding a situation or topic. In business, when there is great energy present, it usually means you have landed on something important or resonant with others. Now is the time to bury the outdated, old-school programs that you may have been taught which reinforced how big boys (or girls) shouldn’t be afraid. It’s an impossible ideal, and you are doing yourself, your loved ones, and your team a disservice by not connecting to your emotional self. It is a natural, fabulous tool to identify what areas of focus are needed. Remember, just because we feel fear doesn’t mean we must succumb to it.

  4. Toughen up mentally to be comfortable with discomfort. We can train our brains to accept that sometimes things will totally, completely suck, and that suckiness is a necessary step toward innovation and transformation. We can start to change our circumstances from sucky to sensational by consciously sitting with our states of confusion until clarity appears. Allow the uncomfortable space of “I have no idea what to do” to be present until your quiet mind discovers the better approach. Too often in business we immediately leap toward the next strategy, project or initiative in order to gain market share and increase revenue without leaning into the discomfort of the changing industry and organizational landscapes. Creativity lives in discomfort. Embrace it.

What other things can we do to shake off the failures of our past, encourage our risk-receptivity, and get back into the game when it would be a lot easier to give up? What makes you get up instead of giving up? Where have you shown resilience in the face of great challenge, and how did you do it?

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Theresa Rose is a business and motivational speaker, award-winning author and expert on resilience, change and mindfulness, helping organizations to create more innovative, adaptive cultures and happier, more productive workforces. Connect with Theresa at TheresaRose.com.

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