When the Going gets Tough...

Posted In Resilience  | Posted On 7 January 2019 | Posted By Anna Tan

How resilient are you? When the going gets tough, do you crumple and stress-out, take medical leave and resign yourself to bed? Or do you face your fears and meet the challenge with gusto?


Changes in our lives can throw us off-balance… job changes or retrenchment, divorce, death of a loved one, move of home, serious personal injury… these are facts of life that at some point or another, affect us all.


The question is not “Why does this happen to me? but instead, “How can we develop our own resilience as well as help those we love - our family, children, friends and colleagues - overcome personal challenges and thrive in a world that is constantly changing?”. Seeing change as a threat leads to panic. Some people fall into depression due to inaction. On the flip side, successful people embrace change as an opportunity, and as a result witness some of the biggest growth leaps in their businesses and personal life.

Get it right and the challenge can be a blessing in disguise, it can propel you to new career paths, new opportunities and new life adventures.

Here are my top tips to building resilience – P.R.E.P.A.R.E.


Be aware of what is going on around you. If at work you are not performing to target, you will either need to do something to improve or change roles before you are asked to leave. Ignorance is not an option; Pre-empt and take action, have an A, B and C plan rather than be taken by surprise.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Alexander Graham Bell​.


Realise and accept the situation when it happens, don’t ignore and deny it as it’s not going to change for the better on its own. Instead, develop a strategy to move forward.  Even better, action the A, B or C plan which you have already prepared in Step 1. The sooner you can move through the grief and anger stages, the quicker you can recover and take action. Flexibility is the key to success… the more options you have, the greater chance you have of achieving one of them. Don’t limit your choices.

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden


The US Army teaches the Navy SEAL (Special Forces) meditation and mindfulness exercises to help them create and maintain calmness instead of panic during combat. Remember, emotions are infectious to those closest to you. Do you want to affect others with your fears and make them panic, or do you want to support them to stay calm and make rational decisions?

“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”  

James Allen


It is essential that you are super-confident in your ability to survive and overcome the challenge! Remind yourself of how you previously overcame other tough situations. See yourself a superhero and really believe you can do it. Use positive music, inspiring quotes and read self-development books to shift your beliefs so that your beliefs are empowering rather than limiting.  You become what you think you are.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.”

Willie Nelson


Take action and stay busy with things you care about. Don’t allow yourself to dwell and mope. Move towards your goal of something better. Take baby steps and congratulate yourself for each one you accomplish.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Lao Tzu


Get helpful and positive support from your family and friends. They will boost your confidence and ability to stay the course. Avoid like the plague those who are pessimistic and try to drag you down with them.

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

Henry Ford


Hindsight would have shown you how previous challenges you went through brought wisdom, transformation and meaning. Likewise, focus on the teaching the change brings. Inject humour or fun and see the situation as a game - and play to win.

“No matter when or where, always bring your 'A' game, because you never know when it will open doors for you.”

Simon Sinek

You don’t have to go through tough times alone. Consider working with a Life or Executive Coach to get enlightening perspectives as well as boost your resilience capabilities. You can also give your staff workshops on how to build their resilience as this will not only benefit them company but also their lives outside work.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Anna Tan

Asia's Leading Change Management & Leadership Development Consultant. 

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