Photo by SHaHraM Anhari on Unsplash

This message is excerpted from the book Life Coaching for Successful Women: Powerful Questions, Practical Answers by Valorie Burton.

Research shows that resilient people think differently. They have a set of skills – sometimes learned, other times innate – that allow them to persevere, manage stress, and triumph in the face of challenges. In the midst of your current challenges, which of the five traits of resilient people is it time to lean on?

1. They are authentic.
Resilient people are at peace with their humanity. Perhaps it is because their mistakes along the way have humbled them, or life experiences have helped them accept their own vulnerability, but resilient people don’t let imperfections hinder them. They don’t think failing makes them a failure. They learn as they go, making course corrections that lead them to positive outcomes.

As a leader, your ability to navigate challenges and lead effectively in an uncertain environment can set you apart and positively influence those you lead. Your team looks to you for clues about how to respond in these ever-changing times. Organizations that thrive with change are those who have high psychological capital – a workforce that has the resilience to see the big picture, embrace a new vision, and work together to persevere towards it.

2. They are flexible thinkers.
Even if they initially struggle with negative thoughts, resilient people are self-aware enough to notice when their thinking is counterproductive. They don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Instead, they gather the facts they need to move around obstacles and face challenges head-on. If something isn’t working, they make adjustments. They find aspects of the challenge that are within their control, and they exercise that control.

3. They are (mostly) optimistic.
It’s hard to bounce back from setbacks when you see every obstacle as the end of the world. Research shows that optimists live as much as nine years longer than pessimists. But it isn’t just about positive thinking. Resilient people see risks and take precautions to prevent problems. When faced with a challenge, they are more likely to say, “I can get through this.”

4. They reach out.
Resilient people don’t go it alone. They have close friends and are not too proud to ask for help when they need it, talk out problems, or help others in need. When faced with a stressful situation, just knowing you have support can alleviate the pressure.

5. They use their strengths.
Everyone has innate talents and strengths. When faced with a challenge, there is power in tapping into those strengths – the things that come naturally to you. It takes less energy to use your strengths – and, in fact, you are energized by them. Know what your strengths are and use them.

Coach Yourself

Of the five key resilient traits, which do you possess in abundance? What is an example of a time when you used this trait?

In your biggest current challenge, how could you apply at least these resilience traits to alleviate some of your stress and better navigate the challenge?

I can’t wait to join John Maxwell and other incredible leaders on October 8th for Live2Lead. This is just a preview of what I can’t wait to share with you that day. This is something you and your team need to invest in. A day full of leadership, personal, entrepreneurial, and cultural growth.

Click here to join me live in Atlanta, Ga. Or click here to join me virtually.

I can’t wait to see you there!

Valorie Burton is founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute, bestselling author of 13 books on personal development, and is the Coaching Mentor for the John Maxwell Team. Follow her on FB, IG and Twitter @valorieburton and subscribe to her weekly column online at

1 Comment

  1. John Maxwell on September 21, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Thank you, Valorie, for adding value to this blog! I appreciate you and am so looking forward to sharing the stage with you again in October!

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