On a business trip with my colleague, Andrew Hazelton, we got talking about the attributes of successful leaders. One of those attributes was the ability to be resilient in the face of difficult circumstances. The fact is, during the course of your career you will undoubtedly encounter periods of unwanted pressure, major changes or even devastating failures. Ask anyone who has achieved any amount of success, and they will tell you success was born out of failure.

But failures shouldn’t define you or your career; what matters is how quickly you rebound and show resilience. Resilience is your psychological mechanism that will enable you to persevere. Fail faster, learn more and you will rise higher.

Here are my thoughts on resilience:

  • Resilience is a rare attribute that is partially wired in our DNA but is primarily learned, cultivated and perfected with time, so be patient.
  • Embrace failure early, and quickly learn from your mistakes. 
  • Resilience takes practice, and with practice you’ll improve. Think “muscle memory.”
  • It is best to have a strong network and a good mentor; resilient people know how and when to ask for advice — it’s powerful stuff.
  • Always have a sense of purpose with everything you do, regardless of how meaningless the task may feel at the outset.
  • Resilient people don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • A sense of humor goes a long way.
  • Resilient leaders tend to be optimists by nature but keep their confidence in check.
  • Be flexible. Many times, you will inevitably be forced to make a change; don’t hold on to outdated ways of doing business. Move on gracefully to become the change-agent the next time around. Think Steve Jobs.