Over the course of my career in Training and Organization Development, I have experienced more than my share of restructuring. As a result, I have often jokingly referred to myself as the Poster Child for Downsizing.

But one of the lessons I've learned from my experience is that "it's all good," as my sons might say.

And that attitude is one ingredient that I would point to in a recipe for resilience.

First a definition. According to Webster's dictionary, resilience is "the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress." Also, resilience is "an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change."

In other words, resilience is the ability to bounce back after hitting a brick wall.

So what goes into a recipe for resilience, especially in this difficult economic downturn? Here are six points that have worked for me.

1. Attitude - As I mentioned above, everything depends on how you look at life. An "aint it awful" outlook is good for a Pity Party, but not good at all for an effective job search campaign. Adopt a positive outlook. You'll find that others notice it.

2. Support - Don't go it alone. Don't bottle it up inside. Lean on your supports for strength. Their love for you will help you get back on your feet.

3. Moving On - You've got to let go. Let go of the past. Let go of the anger about what happened to you.

4. Moving Ahead - You've got to set your sights on the future. On possibilities. So, set goals. Make plans to move ahead. Then get going.

5. Helping - There are many people out of work right now, searching for opportunity. See what you can do to help others that are in similar straits as your own. By helping others, you will help yourself.

6. Learning - As someone once said, Experience is the best teacher. Experience is also a very tough teacher sometimes. Ask yourself: What lesson is this downsizing teaching me? Learning the lesson won't necessarily prevent such an occurence in the future, but you'll be that much more resilient if it does.

Keep in mind the olde maxim that says, "What does not kill me makes me stronger." If you are still standing when the smoke clears and dust settles, you've got what it takes to bounce back better than ever.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 18, 2009


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