How to Build Resilience


Resilience is the key factor to achieving many of our goals: inspiring leadership, a thriving business model, and top teams all require resilience, yet it isn’t often at the forefront of our thoughts in business. It is precisely these qualities we rarely train for, or perceive as being either a given or too touchy feely to be a critical factor in determining success. So, for today’s exercise, we are going to consider how resilient we are.

The exercise.

This is going to take some imagination, so close your eyes and picture this scenario:

You are on a mountain skiing and decide to enjoy a little race. You are zipping down the slope, feeling the wind whipping your face and feeling at the top of your game. Suddenly, your ski catches, you lose balance, and you are tumbling. When you come to a stop, what do you do?

Consider these options:

  • Stare at the sky and wonder why you still do these things at your age.
  • Take a few deep breaths, stand up and brush yourself off, then head down a little slower, more careful than before.
  • Jump up, take a moment to recenter and head down again as fast as you can, thinking to yourself that you can do this.

Your answers tell you a lot about where your resilience level is. It’s not about whether or not you get up and finish (in this situation there isn’t really an option to not get down the hill) it’s about how fast you get up, how fast you accept, learn, and bounce forward after a hit.

Now, think about some hits you have taken as a business leader. Did your reaction to these challenges match the one in your imaginary ski race? What is slowing you down from jumping into action when you hit a bump at work?

The first thing you need to do is focus on solutions. Positive thinking isn’t just a platitude: it’s what helps top performing businesses see opportunities when others might see daunting challenges.

Figure out what recharges you to shift your energy and attitude faster and more easily.

When your energy is low, scattered or discouraged, your ability to get up again and find your way forward is greatly reduced.  Low energy reduces our creativity and effectiveness. It is important for you to figure out what recharges your energy,  especially when you find yourself more inclined to lie on the mountain and stare at the sky. Then again, if staring at the sky is what gives you the energy to make it to the bottom, do that. The lesson is figuring out how you can move on faster and stronger.

Further reading: 

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing by Adam Grant (The New York Times) 


Francesca Giulia Mereu coaching corner

Francesca Giulia Mereu

Genesis Leadership Consultant

An executive coach with more than 20 years’ experience, Francesca Giulia Mereu is also author of the book, Recharge Your Batteries. She regularly works with Frontline Humanitarian Negotiators (CCHN) and at IMD with senior leaders of global organizations. She is a Genesis Leadership Consultant specializing in leadership transitions and development and an expert in energy management. 


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