Three Strategies to Shift from Resilience to Optimism

Resilience is a word said often right now. Many people are talking about what it takes to build more resilience within the people in organizations.


But what do we actually mean by resilience and what is it that we are looking for?


I think if each one of us is honest we would all say that we are tired. The last  9 months have been incredibly difficult.

For some, companies have been growing and expanding in ways that we didn’t anticipate. For others, growth stayed pretty stagnant and there is a lingering fear that maybe tomorrow the ball will drop. And even for others of us, we’ve gone through rounds of layoffs or are painfully close to filing for bankruptcy.


According to the Oxford dictionary, resilience means being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.


However, right now, we aren’t recovering from a difficult condition.

All of use continue to live through this difficulty.

Pressure, societal unrest, the shecession, virtual working and learning, and organizational challenges continue. They aren’t getting any easier.


We aren’t looking for people to recover from the difficulty right now. We are looking for Core Leaders to be able to continue to withstand the mental, emotional, cognitive, and physical challenges that continue with each day.


Often when it is said, “we want to build a more resilient organization,” what is meant is that we want our leaders to be filled with the same vision and passion and hope that they had for their jobs when 2020 started.


The term resilience now, often refers to is the mental fortitude that we want to be able to get back to where we were.

To get back to being filled with the vision and purpose.

To get back to the intrinsic sense of connection of personal purpose mixed with the work that is being done each day.

We want our leaders to feel a sense of optimism, again.

We want our leaders to dream again.

We want our leaders to be filled with vision and a sense hope that we can achieve that vision.


So, what can we do to create that optimism and vision again?


1 – Practice gratitude daily

Lead your teams and organizations in a daily practice of gratitude that acknowledges the current reality but focuses on what is good.


Try phrasing this as … “Even though ______ is happening, I am thankful that _____.”

Example: Even though I am tired this morning, I am thankful that I get to meet with my team member, Kelly, today.


2 – Surprise your leaders

Many Core Leaders are struggling because of the mundane-ness in leading teams from home. Further, according to a study done by Slack, many are feeling a lack of connection and belonging to their organization.


Try one of the following:

  • Send a handwritten “thank you” card for their work in 2020.
  • Give them an electronic-gift card to a coffee shop near them.
  • Treat your organization to an extra wellness day in November or December to give all employees more time to rest, recover, and do something they love.


3 – Give appreciation often

One of the ways to inspire feelings of connectedness and optimism is by specifically mentioning the great work and wins team members have (regardless of how big or small).


Commit to finding one thing to recognize for each team member, each week. This is something that will benefit entry level employees, C-Suite executives, Core Leaders, and everyone in between.


There are 7 weeks left in 2020. Together we can begin to shift organizational focus from what has been hard, to what is possible in 2021.


About the Author:

Ashley believes that having the confidence to lead with authenticity, kindness, and courage is a key unlock in anyone's career. She doesn't take for granted working for a company that lives its values and is committed to healing the world one relationship at a time. Oh, and she happens to love leadership, coffee, running, and taking on new challenges.