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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cristina DiPietropolo

Resilience in Overcoming Failure

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Have you ever thought about what differentiates those people who, when knocked down by life, can come back stronger than ever and those who are never able to recover from adversity? Some people can find a way to rise from the ashes in situations that many others would let failure overcome them. One trait is strongly associated with this ability – Resilience - and the good news is that you can improve your resilience levels by focusing on specific areas.

Building Signature Strengths

To build your signature strengths, you need to highlight what they are first. You can do this by asking yourself these questions:

  • What strengths have you developed throughout your career?

  • How do your strengths contribute to your goals?

  • Which part of your strengths needs more development?

Now think of one of your identified strengths and a time when you used that strength in a challenging situation at home or in the workplace. This will help you identify your "strength in challenges" and reflect on the areas that need work to build resilience in the workplace.

You can also ask some people you have worked with and who you trust will tell you the truth, characteristics they admire the most about you. Make a list of the five bullet points that were the most frequent in their feedback. These represent your strongest perceived strengths. You can remember those when under pressure or severe stress. This will also help you endure the challenges you are faced with.

Building Resilience

Even if you aren't inherently resilient, you can learn to develop a robust mindset and attitude. Consider integrating the following into your daily schedule to build resilience:

  • Learn to relax. You'll be better able to deal with difficulties in your life if you take care of your mind and body. Develop a regular sleep schedule, try a new workout, or adopt physical relaxation techniques such as deep breathing to improve your emotional resilience.

  • Change your outlook on life. To change how you perceive negative situations, you can practice cognitive restructuring, which involves understanding unhappy feelings and moods and reframing negative thinking.

  • Practice becoming mindful of your thoughts. Negative thoughts do not disrupt resilient people's efforts. Instead, they make a deliberate choice to think more positively in difficult situations. When things go wrong, pay attention to how you talk to yourself and change your thinking if you're falling down the rabbit hole of negativity.

  • Keep things in perspective. Resilient people recognize that, while a situation or crisis may appear overwhelming at the time, it may not have a significant long-term effect. Try not to exaggerate the significance of these events.

  • Build solid connections with others. People who have good work relationships are less stressed and more satisfied in their jobs. This also applies to your personal life. The more genuine friendships you form, the more resilient you'll be because you'll have a strong support system to fall back on during your most challenging times.[1]

  • Choose how you respond to situations. You must realize that we all have bad days and go through our fair share of problems. However, we choose how we respond. We can react with fear and negativity or remain calm and rational in our search for a solution. It's up to you to decide which path you will take.

Final Thoughts

Enhancing mental toughness, identifying and honing your strengths, and cultivating good relationships are essential skills for every successful leader.[2] Instead of the negative, you can focus on the positive and turn pessimism into optimism.

Consider the lives of individuals who have demonstrated tremendous resilience in the face of adversity whom you admire. Their inspiring story makes us reflect on our own lives, asking if we have the resilience to overcome our obstacles. Or do we let our setbacks derail our ambitions? What could we achieve if we had the determination not to give up?

Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, an executive consulting firm focused on organizational effectiveness. Extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a Visiting Professor of Management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.

________________________________________________________________________ [1] Cross, R., Dillon, K., & Greenberg, D. (2021, January). The Secret to Building Resilience. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from [2] Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Building Resilience. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 111, 2021, from

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