Resilience is having confidence in who you are and what you do so that you can create, build and take opportunities, bounce back, and find a way through uncertainty change and even crisis.

Just as success leaves clues, resilient behaviour can be examined and common characteristics or traits extracted and explained, enabling people to become more resilient. Below are just a sample of the behaviours exhibited in resilient people, with ideas of how you can develop or enhance it in your life.


The ability to recognise when you are going from pressure to stress and what action you need to take in order to rebalance. Then it’s about taking action and more importantly creating habits to embed these healthy strategies for rebalance into daily life. Confidence sits at the heart of resilience and resilient people have great awareness of their strengths and the qualities that they possess that will allow them to thrive under pressure.


Continuing despite setbacks or major challenges instead of giving up when things get tough. This is often what people see as resilience. And it may be the characteristic that does need the most work, but the other side of the coin is finding a balance and learning when to say no.

Balance or Rebalance

Building recovery into your day and creating time for relaxation, quietening the mind or doing exercise and getting quality sleep. You can’t spend your entire life at top speed. The other side of resilience is rebalancing and understanding what you need to get back to equilibrium after stressful or challenging events. This is a characteristic often missed and probably the most important one.

Emotional regulation

Keeping emotions under control and not letting them take over. Emotions are life. They are often an early warning system to show you what is or isn’t working for you. But they shouldn’t rule the roost. Being able to regulate your emotions and to sidestep them when they are not helpful is a key skill that is exhibited in resilient people.

Positive self-talk

Using constructive self-talk to motivate and empower, not destructive self-talk that demotivates. Everyone has self-talk. Developing supportive self-talk encourages self-confidence and even perspective which stands you in good stead to deal with any manner of crisis.

Problem-solving skills

Identifying what is causing the stress and coming up with strategies to deal with it. You don’t need to have a strategic brain to know that problems need to be solved but you do need to develop your problem-solving skills to deal with them and move on. Resilient people have this nailed down and they’re great a collaborating with diverse perspectives who will see problems from a different angle and together they arrive at the most effective solution.

Active coping strategies

Finding strategies that work for you personally, for one person it might be managing negative emotion with deep breathing relaxation techniques, for another exercise might be their stress reliever. Also, resilient people take action, instead of passive coping such as blocking out the stress, denial or avoidance, they use their experience and problem-solving skills to find solutions and make plans to move forward.

Cognitive flexibility

Thinking “outside the box” and not getting stuck in one way of thinking. This is key – resilience requires different approaches, that requires the ability and willingness to change tack mid-flow.

Resilient relationships

Having a strong network of people around you, who you trust and who you can reach out to is a great source of resilience and can help protect you from the detrimental effects of stress. Resilient people know that to get through the next adversity they need their extended team, so they work hard at building and reinforcing relationships and they have different people that they can turn to in different scenarios.

Developing these characteristics will help you build your personal resiliency framework so you can be prepared for anything life throws at you!

What to do next?

How self-aware are you? Would you be able to articulate which of the characteristics described above you have and how you use them? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

At Beyond the Barriers, we know that resilience starts with the individual that’s why we work with you using our recommended tools like the Resilient Leaders Development Programme to assess your current level of resilience in relation to 12 key facets of resilience. Importantly, this lets you see immediately what you need to work on to build your resilience.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you today!

More on resilience

Want to know more? Keep reading about resilience

  1. How to build resilience
  2. Characteristics of resilience
  3. Developing resilience strategies
  4. Building resilient organisations
  5. Developing resilience skills – as a team or individual
  6. Psychological resilience
  7. Resilience in management
  8. Resilience training