Working Transitions

It's not coming home....the role of personal resilience in the face of defeat

Last night the nation’s World Cup dream was shattered when England was beaten 2-1 by Croatia in extra time.

There were times during the heady last few weeks when it looked like Gareth Southgate’s young team could have gone all the way.  But, alas, it is not, after all, coming home.


To get this far is a huge achievement- and the team have got further then many predicted they would.  Only the third World Cup semi-final in 68 years for the England team but still, both the team and their many fans will be feeling regret and bitter disappointment this morning.

Despite this, the team are displaying a remarkable level of resilience.  Looking to the future, they tweeted ‘To everyone who dared to dream, to everyone who knows that this is only the beginning, thank you – we hope we made you proud’. 

Personal Resilience is the ability to respond to, and capacity to recover quickly from, difficult times, challenges and adversity. A resilient person is not only able to handle difficulties effectively at the time, they also have the ability to ‘bounce back’ quickly and effectively after the event.

So how do people remain calm and cope under pressure? Whether it’s one big blow, a series of knockbacks, a hugely anticipated job interview or a period of relentless workloads and impossible deadlines, the following tips will help you increase your resilience levels and ‘roll with the punches’ to reduce stress and increase success in both your career and your personal life.


We’re not all comfortable talking about our strengths but understanding our natural strengths and our capacity to cope creates a certainty that, whatever challenges we encounter, we can cope. Help build levels of confidence by:

  • Envisaging future challenges and thinking about how you would deal with them
  • Visualising and planning for success and working continually on developing your self-awareness
  • Working on becoming more optimistic and positive in your thinking
  • Being comfortable with yourself – simply being you
  • Celebrating successes and really listening to praise when it is offered. This will help to maintain both self-esteem and self-confidence


Research shows that those who have supportive social networks have more active coping strategies when dealing with stressful situations. An active coping strategy means that you can manage your reactions to the to challenges you face. A good social support network also gives you access to advice, input and practical help.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and support
  • Develop a clear understanding of who is in your support network – and who you can rely on for good advice
  • Actively build new relationships in areas you feel you need support or where a different perspective would be useful
  • Use the support to help you move forward – not just to let off steam


Being adaptable is important when coping with ambiguity, dealing with uncertainty and change. It allows us to adjust to different situations and think through consequences in a logical way, rather than subjecting ourselves to the negative impact of ‘fight or flight’ which occurs when change is perceived as a threat rather than an opportunity. Increase your levels of adaptability by:

  • Treating every experience as a learning opportunity – never stop learning
  • Revisiting past adverse experiences to discover useful lessons to help in the future
  • Keeping things in perspective!
  • Embracing discomfort as part of the change process
  • Avoiding thinking traps – blame, erroneous assumptions and tunnel vision are all unhelpful
  • Being open, flexible and responsive to people and situations


Creating a focus and a sense of purpose in life is vital for resilience – it helps to put things in perspective when difficulties arise. Day to day, it is important to find a sense of purpose at work and to identify with the goals and objectives of our job. Work on:

  • Spending time considering your goals and priorities for life
  • Reminding yourself of the core purpose of your actions when faced with frustrations or a setback
  • Refocusing on your end goal if you meet a block
  • Being more decisive and, if you get it wrong, know when to cut your losses
  • Keeping healthy! Physical health and mental health are closely linked – eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise. Be sure to take time out to re-energise and relax!

We all have the ability to ramp up our levels of resilience, either by ourselves or with a career coach or counsellor. To find out how Working Transitions can support your Organisation visit


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Working Transitions
12 July 2018
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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