Thriving in Adversity

In my years in HR, I have seen many being challenged by the constant organizational transformation that changes people’s outlook on the company forever. This is particularly worse if you had high hopes or had invested a lot of effort in building your career towards a certain direction, and then one day, the organization/department moves in a different direction that could potentially leave you feeling resentful.  When this happens, more often than not, we witness colleagues falling apart due to a host of reasons and in the midst of all, they have difficulties of coping with state of affairs. Whether provoked by bad decisions, eminent retrenchments, and difficult relationships with bosses or even worse, being targeted towards a negative outcome for whatever reasons, which all bring with stress and depression, I say practice resilience.

The good news is that although some people seem to be born with more resilience than others, those whose resilience is lower can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough, this is according two management consultants who wrote the book titled “resilience at work: how to succeed no matter what life throws at you”.

Whenever I see people struggle with change at work because they fear the unknown and start making premature assumptions about the outcome, I can actually relate. Because I know, these feelings of anxiety are perhaps brought on by experiences of knowing exactly how things may turn out.  Over time I learned some coping techniques that also talks to one’s resilience and ability to cope in an ever changing environment.  Personally, I have been faced with challenges throughout my career and I can perhaps share how I managed to survive tough work changes and remained within the margins of considerations.

  1. Have ‘strategic patience’: Allow events to transpire. Exercise the capacity and restraint to take the pain with an extended view into the future. In any circumstance, humble yourself and stay grounded. Sometimes there is also strength in doing nothing.
  • Check yourself:  I know it’s difficult and easy to feel betrayed and used, however don’t make unexpected moves without a strong back up plan, or say ‘inappropriate’ things out of frustration.  It’s easy to become trapped and despondent, however, emotional intelligence is important to overcome professional adversity.
  • Remain open-minded: Do not fall into the trap of emotional strongholds. – Don’t hate people who you were dependent on, like your leaders, because you think they failed you. Everyone is there to carry out a responsibility and sometimes whether for personal or professional reasons, they will make decisions about you that will affect you negatively and change the course of your life forever.  Perhaps see it as a forced change needed in your life.
  • Don’t compromise your values: Always do a quick check-in on your value drivers. –These will guide your actions and ultimately, your best course of action.
  • Quantify your opportunities: Out of fear and possibly distress of not having a job, the possibility to go for anything is high, so rather consider your next step carefully. Once you get shaken by an almost event, trust me, it does something to your outlook and perspective on things and life itself. Spend some time thinking deeply about what’s next for you and why. Perhaps also start working or putting that Plan B in motion.
  • Find a parking spot: If there’s nothing of immediate interest to you, find a place to breathe whilst you look and move on when the time presents itself, but don’t get comfortable and think that’s where you belong. Else, you will find yourself doing the dance all over again. It’s just a spot and take it for what it is.

Before beating yourself up when encountering problems that are somehow inescapable, take a moment, pause, breath and think, then you can act. Make sure you are not guided by emotions.


  • Posted November 5, 2020 by Keitumetse 0Likes

    An article to be revised often especially in the midst we are in of the “new normal/world”. Great points to note

  • Posted November 11, 2020 by Pearl 0Likes

    Resilience and patience are critical in any workplace (employee or self employed)

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