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How Resilient People Stand Back Up When Life Knocks Them Down

By Gwen Moran

While we all expect setbacks and challenges in work and life, sometimes they’re beyond epic. Perhaps you lost your job a year ago or you’re about to run out of money. Maybe you flunked your certification exam for the third time and everyone knows about it. Or it could be that your angry rant went viral, and now all of your coworkers are either whispering about you or shunning you entirely.

An occasional disaster does happen for most of us, either in our professional or personal lives. And while it’s not helpful for someone to say, “Well, at least you didn’t [insert something worse],” many people have been through unimaginable hardships.

The skills required to bounce back from a major professional trauma are remarkably similar to those necessary for resilience in virtually any other area of life. Here’s what highly resilient people do in the face of adversity:


1. They Shed Shame

At first, it’s not unusual to feel embarrassed and ashamed. But, “shame is a toxic form of fear,” says Scott C. Hammond, a clinical professor of management at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Get rid of it. It will only make it harder for you to find your way out. He points to some of the people in his research who were so ashamed of being lost that they hid, making it harder for others to find them and actually putting themselves at more risk.

Realize that people make mistakes and bad decisions, he says. When you catch yourself wallowing in shame, work on changing your thoughts to what you can do about the situation to make it better and take action.

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