What’s the ‘magic’ ingredient for Career Resilience?

by Jul 15, 2017

Are there shortcuts we can take to develop career resilience?

Career resilience is the ability to, not just survive but to bounce back from setbacks, to be comfortable with change and remain engaged with the challenges that work, and life, throw at us. Is becoming resilient at work just another thing on our every growing ‘to do’ list, or are there some shortcuts we can take to develop this innate strength?


Let’s take a look at role models, for me, JK Rowling springs to mind. This year is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter. Rowling was turned down by at least 12 publishers and even Bloomsbury when they took her on weren’t convinced her books would sell! To keep going in the face of such rejection must have required more than just a wave of a magic wand, and there is much we can learn from her experience. You may not be aiming to write a novel but to develop career self reliance and achieve the success you want for yourself you will need resilience.

5 Top Tips to build resilience

Own your career and run it like a business

Rowling was clear about what she wanted, and she was the only person who could get that for herself. Don’t rely on others to shape your career – your boss and HR are too busy running their own careers to pay much attention to what you want. Be clear about where you want to be in your career, boost your self-belief and stay engaged with that goal.

Read: Five things that successful small-business owners have in common

Be prepared to absorb knocks

There will always be challenges and some will go your way and some won’t. Don’t take setbacks personally, choose to reframe them and look at what you can learn from the experience – ask yourself ‘What would I do differently next time?’

Step out of your comfort zone

Rowling, who has defined herself as an introvert, had to push herself to out of her comfort zone to promote her books in the early days – doing talks and promotional events. Look for opportunities to learn a new skill or get a new experience. Say ‘yes’ to things, gather feedback and build in time to reflect and absorb your learning.

Read: Discomfort creates breakthrough thinking in coaching

Be comfortable with change

Change is all around us and, while our natural instinct may be to resist it and retain the status quo, it’s important to embrace it and use our energy positively. Recognise what within the change you can control and influence that, but don’t waste energy raging against what you cannot control.

Sprinkle a little magic

If you’re helping others, clients, customers or colleagues to be resilient by sprinkling a little positivity and optimism around, not only will it help them feel good, you will feel good too. Harry Potter has brought so much pleasure to children and adults, we’re all glad JK Rowling persevered through the tough times, bounced back from all the rejections and kept believing she could do it.



Sarah Archer Contributor
Author of Developing your Inner Coach, Fellow C.I.P.D.with an MSC in Career Coaching, Sarah specialises in career change coaching. A regular media contributor delivering expert Q&A webinars, specifically around interviews, CVs, and career change.
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