What Does Resilience Mean to You?
Resilience means knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, or barriers, or limited resources.
Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and
able, to overcome obstacles to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength. For instance,
how many cold calls can you make in a row that all turn out to be “no thank you?”
Remember Abraham Lincoln? You wouldn’t, if he had given up. In 1832, he was defeated for
the state legislature. Then he was elected to it in 1834. In 1838, he was defeated for speaker of
the state house. In 1840, he was defeated for elector. Lincoln ran for Congress in 1843 and
guess what — he was defeated. He was elected to Congress in 1846 and then lost for re-election
in 1849. He ran for U.S. Senate in 1855 and — was defeated. In 1856, he was defeated for
Vice-President. He ran again for the U.S. Senate in 1858 and lost. And in 1860, Abraham
Lincoln was elected President of the United States — one of the best ones we have ever had —
but only after eight major setbacks. That is resilience!
Live to fight another day — come back and win!
Your challenge to stay resilient may not be quite the size of Abe Lincoln’s. You might be
working on making a sales quota when 90% of your prospects say “no.” You might be pushing
for a change in a local zoning ordinance and you have to fight city hall. You might be trying to
get your co-workers to recycle paper in order to save money and trees. When you are up against
obstacles, you can either maintain your resilience — or cave in to defeat.
We are all pretty resilient when we are little. We fall down and pick ourselves up again. The
tent we make with sheets and cardboard gets blown apart by the wind and we put it back
together again. Someone says we cannot go to the park ’cause it is raining, and we find
something else to do. However, somewhere along the way, we start to develop a rigidity toward
the unexpected, and then toward change in general. We lose our ability to shift course or to try
something else. We lose our resilience.