What is resilience? 10 traits you can (and should) develop

The main characteristics of those who can easily adapt to change.


If you look up resilience in the dictionary, you’ll find several definitions, such as physical, psychological, administrative and even ecological.  

Figuratively, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from changes, either positive or negative.

Regardless of your profession, knowing how to adapt is critical, especially if we consider professions that are susceptible to market and technological changes.

Do you want to know if you’re resilient?

Check out below the 10 characteristics of professionals who easily adapt to change.

  1. They accept criticism
  2. They are flexible
  3. They know how to work in a team
  4. They believe in themselves
  5. They always stay up-to-date
  6. They don’t stay inside their comfort zone
  7. They are empathetic
  8. They focus on the macro goal
  9. They maintain good relationships
  10. They are persistent
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1. They accept criticism

We know that receiving criticism isn’t always easy, especially if it’s negative and about what you do.

However, in order to grow in your career, you need to understand that the criticism received isn’t about who you are. 

When you learn to separate personal from professional opinions, it becomes easier to receive feedback and try to improve your work routine.

And don’t think that criticism is always negative. Resilient professionals also know how to receive compliments and don’t allow this to put them inside a comfort zone from where they never leave (we’ll talk more about this later in this article).

2. They are flexible

In order to be resilient, you need to be sufficiently flexible so as not to become too attached to a project, since it can change rapidly or you might be relocated to another initiative even before the previous one is concluded.

We’ll give you an example to make this point clearer.

Let’s suppose that you’re a copywriter working on a sales campaign to sell tickets for the annual event held by the company you work for.

You have created the entire strategy for the sending of emails and have all of this campaign’s actions put in place.

But, three months before the event, your manager decides that it’s time for you to participate in a completely new campaign and therefore, you are no longer involved with the previous campaign.

Professionals who aren’t resilient would probably get upset with this decision. After all, they created everything and won’t see the final results of their work.

Resilient professionals, on the other hand, accept the new challenge and face it as an opportunity to demonstrate their excellent performance in something different that they’re used to.

And flexibility goes beyond merely change the focus of your work. It can also be seen when there’s a need to change teams in your company, which we’ll show in the next topic.

3. They know how to work in a team

Teamwork comes naturally for human beings, but it can be hard; after all, people are very different regarding their mood, work pace and even opposing convictions.

However, we have been seeing an increasing need for the exchange of knowledge among company employees. 

Not to mention that, in larger projects, it is quite likely that you’ll have to work with people from different areas, which might be a problem for those unaccustomed to change.

If you wish to develop your ability to adapt further, start within your own team. 

Listen more to what people have to say and take the opinion of others into consideration. You will gradually realize that building solutions together with your co-workers is much better than attempting to solve all problems on your own.

4. They believe in themselves

Believing in yourself might seem a little self-centered, but believe me it’s not.

We’re not telling you to become conceited and boastful. However, you have probably spent many years studying to work in your profession. In other words, you are qualified for this position.

Don’t be shy about showing your good results and never doubt what you do all the time.

Self-confidence helps not only ourselves, but also makes other people see us as true points of reference in what we do.

5. They always stay up to date

In order to adapt, you need to learn. Therefore, in order to be resilient, you need to be always up to date.

The market is constantly changing, especially regarding the digital market. There’s always a new tool or solution you don’t know about, and that can be exactly what you company needs at that moment.

To keep from falling behind, you need to keep reading, studying and recycling your knowledge. Thus, in addition to helping you find the best solutions for your company’s challenges, you will also be prepared if you need to make changes in your work. 

6. They don’t stay inside their comfort zone

In this post’s first topic, we talked about how resilience means accepting criticism and not staying inside your comfort zone when they are only positive.

When we work in a profession, we tend to get used to what we do and never want to change. 

This might be what you want, but in order to be versatile, learn how to get out of your comfort zone and take chances.

Do you remember that the previous tip was staying up to date? 

This characteristic will help you get outside your comfort zone. After all, the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to adapt to something new. 

7. They are empathetic

Being empathetic means being able to understand with emotions and feelings what others feel.

And what does this have to do with resilience?

One way of being able to adapt to something new is by understanding the experience other people have and learn from it. 

But empathy isn’t only important for this. As we said earlier, you need to work as a team. And in order to interact with other people as best as possible, it is necessary to understand others because only by doing so, will you truly be able to help someone.

8. They focus on the macro goal

Resilient professionals’ main focus is on the company’s growth, which is a macro goal. This is exactly why they aren’t afraid to change, whether their team or project.

Of course, they have specific and personal goals. But do you remember the example we gave in topic 2 of this post?

The initial goal might’ve been to sell all tickets for the event, but after the professional was assigned to another project, the specific goal changed and the final objective was still the same; the company’s growth.

9. They maintain good relationships

Someone open to change needs to have a good relationship with everyone. Just imagine that you need to change teams in the company where you work and for some personal reason, you don’t get along with someone on the new team.

It will certainly be hard to work alongside that person every day and you’ll probably become frustrated at the workplace, which might be a negative aspect for your delivery and performance.

Of course, we all think in different and diverging manners. Therefore, topic 7 of this post is very important. 

When you are empathetic, you’re able to understand people even while disagreeing with their opinion. And this helps you maintain good relationships with everyone around you.   

10. They are persistent

Finally, in order to be resilient, you need to be persistent.

Changes won’t always be what you expected and at first, they might even seem bad.

However, if you persist, you might surprise yourself and find that new challenges are exactly what you needed.

And even if you find out that what you have been assigned to isn’t exactly what you want, by being resilient, you’ll end up learning something good from this experience.

Resilience is merely one of the characteristics of professionals of the future. People prepared to deal with everything new that is happening around us.

You still don’t know who these people are or what type of jobs require characteristics such as those presented in this article?

Check out our article with the 25 jobs of the future that are trending now.

Barbara Santos

Barbara Santos

Copywriter in love with all kinds of genres, graduated as Portuguese teacher and is a violinist in her free time.

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