Emotional Resilience: The Secret to Success

Why is emotional resilience important to your success?

Actually, resilience isn’t just important, it’s absolutely necessary for success.

I truly believe that consistent and focused action (in any area in life) will always produce results.

In fact, you could make the argument that taking consistent action is the key to ALL sustainable success.

However, if you peel the onion back another layer, you find that the lack of action usually stems from either fear OR lack of belief.

Both of these emotional obstacles are caused by a lack of emotional resilience.

That’s why you can find success in one area of life, yet struggle with success in other areas.

Your upbringing, your story, and your emotional development have all been customized by your life and every event in your life (good or bad).

This natural development leads to emotional resilience in one area and not in another.

It’s quite common and can be problematic.

But don’t be discouraged. You aren’t hard wired this way.

It’s more like you’ve been programmed by your life and circumstances.

You can override and reprogram your thinking again to build up emotional resilience in any area of your life you want success.

We’ll get into that, but let’s start with a brief foundational understanding of resilience.

What is Resilience? Specifically- Emotional Resilience?

Resilience (or resiliency) is your ability to get back up when everything in your environment is screaming “stay down”.

Emotional resilience is exactly what it sounds like, the ability to bounce back emotionally.
Sounds obvious enough. It’s the foundation of resilience in other areas of your life.

All incredibly successful people have a story of emotional resilience behind their success.

A story or time in their life that was hard, painful, and maybe even traumatic.
A story you wouldn’t wish on anybody, but it became the foundation of their internal resiliency and also their success.

All uber successful people have a powerful story of emotional resilience behind their success. Click To Tweet

Mike Tyson once said “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face”.

That’s a serious quote, even though it’s funny. That’s why I like it.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. -Mike Tyson Click To Tweet

Why is Emotional Resilience Important?

The importance of emotional resilience can best be shown by starting with a story.

This story of Shemeka is powerful to me.
It makes me wonder how many people in her life know her story?

How much could we inspire each other if we were vulnerable enough to share our stories?

I had a friend who fled Vietnam when he was 11 years old with just his younger brother. His parents put them on a ship and wished them luck.

I sometimes try to imagine how bad things must have been now that I have kids of my own. It would have to be really, really bad for me to roll the dice like that.

Anyway, the ship was attacked and raided by pirates (yes, pirates of the sea are real- not Captain Jack Sparrow types, but thieves nonetheless).

He and all the others were left to die on a small island. Luckily, they were found and transported to a Vietnamese refugee camp in Thailand where there were 60,000 other refugees.

He and his brother were separated.
He eventually made it to America where he found success & safety.

The thing is though… I didn’t know any of that story the first 3 years I knew him. It just wasn’t something he brought up and I never thought to ask.

Once I knew his story, I was in awe. I thought about how blessed I was but I also wondered how many other people have stories of overcoming obstacles out of sheer necessity.

I realized that people can be quite resilient when facing seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

Stories are powerful. Resilience is a necessity.

It’s what allows you to bend instead of break.
It allows you to hold on tight to hope.
It can mean the difference between overcoming and just barely surviving. Heck, it can even mean not surviving in some circumstances.

#Resilience is a necessity. It's what allows you to bend instead of break. It's what allows you to tightly clutch the ropes of hope. Click To Tweet

That’s why it’s so important and why it’s vital for you to develop it.

But where do you start?

The Psychology of Resilience

The psychology of resilience is super interesting to me and seems like a good place to start.

Why do some people bend and others break?
Why do some get stronger and others grow weaker?

Just think… Every day, every hour, every minute, and every second has developed your mind and emotions in a way that led you to this exact point in time….
Staring at your screen… reading these words

Maybe you did a search about emotional resilience, maybe you were already on my site and clicked on this article out of curiosity.

Either way, your mind has reacted to your circumstances in such a way as to make you start questioning resilience and it’s impact on your success.

Perhaps you feel like you have little to no resilience, or maybe you just want to be stronger.

Either way, developing your resilience will always increase your success.

Why?

Because if you’re resilient…
… You’ll get back up.
… You won’t quit.
… You’ll try again.
… You’ll hold on to hope.

Life will knock you down again, and then again… and then again.

If you develop resilience, you’ll get back up. You’ll always get up.

Life will try like a bully to beat the resilience out of you.
If you quit trying… if you submit… if you stay silent… you lose.

Life will try like a bully to beat the resilience out of you. If you quit trying... if you submit... if you stay silent... you lose. Click To Tweet

But you don’t just lose the success you could have had, you lose the person that  you could have become.

If you quit trying and submit to defeat... you lose. You don't just lose the success you could have had, you lose the person you could have become. Click To Tweet

After accepting that resilience is important to success, the next logical question is how do you create that resiliency in yourself and those around you?

How Do You Build Emotional Resilience?

First, let me be clear.

Resilience isn’t a skill. It’s a by-product of perseverance… of continuing on in the face of failure or criticism.

#Resilience isn't a skill. It's a by product of perseverance... of continuing on in the face of failure or criticism. Click To Tweet

The only one way to increase your emotional resilience in anything is to keep going.

Whatever specific area of your life you want to develop resiliency, you’ve got to practice perseverance.

As you practice, your resilience will grow.

Resilience and Mind Muscle Growth

The best way to understand how this works is to think about how a muscle grows.

A muscle grows by being broken down, not built up. When you work out, you’re actually ripping and tearing the muscle tissue at a microscopic levels.

Then the body goes to work to not just fix the muscle, but to make it stronger.

If you take supplements and/or eat the right nutrients, that process is improved.

Resilience works the same way. When you go through something, face failure, or experience criticism and rejection, your emotions and spirit are being damaged.

But then your mind and emotions go to work to fix that damage and the process can actually make you stronger, depending on how you choose to interpret it.

If you take in the right emotional nutrients (i.e. spend time in prayer and in personal development), it will speed up the healing process, allowing you to become more resilient, more quickly.

Here’s the major problem of why people aren’t as resilient as they could be. 

Everyone knows that if you stop working out, you stop growing. The muscles aren’t stressed and muscle growth doesn’t occur.

That’s why people put themselves in the gym everyday even though they might not like it.

Growth follows action, not the other way around. They want the results, so they take the action.

#Growth ALWAYS follows #action, not the other way around. Click To Tweet

We’ve already discussed how developing resilience works the same way.

However, people are more likely to push themselves physically than emotionally.

And therein lies the problem.

Want to get big guns?… Work out every day. (for my overseas readers “guns” are muscles in the arms- haha)
Want to be a better leader?… Be willing to fail.
Want to make more sales?… Call on more people.
Want to grow thicker skin?… Allow yourself to stay in stressful or emotionally charged environments.

You see the difference?

Fear is at the root of one but not the other. Nobody really fears going to the gym.

Building up resilience requires that you stay in an uncomfortable situation long enough for growth to occur.

That’s why people who go through hell as children are some of the most resilent people in the universe.

As a kid, you can’t just remove yourself from a situation just because it’s bad.

Even if you could, you might not know how or may be too afraid to take action.  So you learn instead to be a master at surviving.

Surviving builds resilience.

Unfortunately, those horrible situations sometimes break people.

Oh,… but if it doesn’t… if it didn’t… watch out!

Those who bend instead of break are the people who can show up in life like a locomotive and change the world. Click To Tweet

They’re practically unstoppable.

Like they say, “whatever doesn’t break you makes you stronger.”

False Positives

A false positive is defined as “a test result which incorrectly indicates that a particular condition or attribute is present.”

It’s when something appears to be true, but really isn’t.

The environments and situations that build resilience also affect the mind of the person who goes through those situations.

So while it builds resilience inside a person, that resilience is sometime hidden by an incorrect belief by the individual that they are weak, damaged, or broken.

I wasn’t planning on going in this direction with this post, but I feel like somebody reading this might need to hear it.

Maybe that person is you.

What’s your story? Did you go through something unspeakable?

Do you feel like it changed you?… It did.
Do you feel like it altered your thinking?… It did
Do you feel like it broke you?… well, it didn’t.

Under the surface of your limiting belief is a person who has been hardened by that situation or event.

You are now stronger than those around you.
You are emotionally superior to those who did not experience what you experienced.
You have been underestimating your own strength.

Somewhere along the line, maybe you gave up.

Maybe you accepted ideas or beliefs about yourself that were not only wrong, but exactly the opposite of what is true.

You’re one decision away from stepping into your power and transforming yourself into a force to be reckoned with.

You are one decision away from stepping into your power and transforming yourself into a force to be reckoned with. Click To Tweet

A force of nature, like a CAT 5 hurricane or tornado that can’t be stopped.

When you emotionally, spiritually, and mentally accept that truth, you will have the resilience to do what others can’t, because you’ve been through what others have not.

You’re a survivor.

You have the resilience to do what others can't, because you've been through what others have not. You're a survivor. Click To Tweet

Regardless of whether that is you or not, I want to end with some practical strategies that anybody can use to build up their emotional resilience.

Strategies for Building Emotional Resilience

1) Get More Sleep

The average adult needs 7-9  hours of sleep according to WebMD.

Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body and mind. All sorts of problems can be connected to a lack of adequate sleep including an increased risk of:
– Weight gain
– Depression
– Diabetes
-Loss of memory function
– High blood pressure
– Lowering of sex drive
– Weakness of immune system
– and much more.

Most importantly for this discussion, is that sleep deprivation can lower your emotional resilience. Lack of sleep can sap your energy, determination, and desire.

Sleep more and make sure you have a good bed and pillow so that you sleep well. If you can’t afford a new bed yet, you’d be surprised how much a good pillow (affiliate link) can make a difference.

The pillow below has been rated almost 15,000 times on amazon and still has an almost perfect 5-star review.

Limit your caffeine intake for at least 6-8 hours before going to bed and stop staring at a screen an hour before you lay down.

It will help you rest better so you can get as much out of your sleep as possible. This is perhaps the easiest strategy to implement for building resilience.

2) Practice Mindfulness (Think About Your Thinking)

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day. Getting stuff done, running errands, cleaning, doing odd jobs around the house, picking up the kids, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

These are all distractions. Start to develop the habit of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the art of metacognition, which is just a fancy word meaning thinking about your own thinking.

It simply means that instead of allowing your mind to go wherever it wants and draw any conclusions it wants, you slow down and question your own thinking.

Why do you think what you’re thinking?
Where did the thought come from?
Is it accurate?
Is it true?
Is it beneficial?

It takes some practice if you’ve never done it before, but it’s a great exercise to make a habit.

Often we accept our own thinking as reality simply because we thought it.

Just because you think it… doesn’t make it true.

Often we accept our own thinking as reality, simply because we thought it. Just because you think it... doesn't make it true. Click To Tweet

If you’re interested in developing your mind and mindset, then head over and can check out my article of the best books I’ve read over the years.

3) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone (Challenge Yourself)

I already covered the fact that resilience is the by-product of perseverance. To grow your resiliency, you must put yourself in situations that stretch you.

For emotional resiliency I obviously suggest putting yourself in situations where you are constantly facing rejection.

Getting involved in the network marketing industry is a great option because income is tied almost exclusively to two factors.

First, the amount of action you take.
Secondly, your resiliency. Do you continue to take action or do you cave to the haters.

The reason this industry is so phenomenal for building more resilience is because there’s a stigma attached to it in some circles, which means you will face some rejection, no matter who you are.

In addition, as you focus on resiliency, you’ll find that the more resilient you become, the more action you take.

The more action you take, the more income you make.

The more resilient you become, the more action you take. The more action you take, the more income you make. Click To Tweet

Even if you get sidetracked and start to focus on the income, your resiliency will develop whether you’re trying to focus on it or not.

4) Invest in Personal Development

This helps put your mind where it needs to be. If you’re constantly learning, constantly improving, and constantly growing you begin to see progress.

As you gain momentum and your knowledge grows, your determination grows.
Your belief grows.
Your skillset grows.
You become harder to knock down.

I can’t stress this enough!

Read good books. Listen to podcasts. Go to events. Do research. Watch informative YouTube videos.

Learn as much as you can and then implement it.

We live in an amazing time period. Not only can you learn from books, you can learn straight from the mouths of the great mentors themselves.

Often times for free. Take advantage of it.

5) Focus on the Positive (Attitude of Gratitude)

Emotional resilience isn’t just an emotional issue. It’s also a mindset issue.

When you don’t have the strength to try again, to get back, to keep going… take a look at your mindset.

Are you focused on just the negative parts of your life?

I predict you probably are, or at least you’re spending more time dwelling on the negative instead of the positive.

The best way to combat this is to develop the practice and habit of gratitude. Take a moment every day to be thankful for the blessings you do have in your life.

It may be difficult at first because when you’re in a funk, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing positive.

I know. I’ve been there.

But if you’re reading this, there’s still some fight left in ya’… Otherwise, you wouldn’t be looking for answers.

If you can’t think of anything positive, just take some time to think of how it could be worse… then say “At least I’m not… ”

Here are some examples:

If you’re marriage is on the rocks: “At least I’m not divorced” – Feel Thankful
Kids out of control?: “At least they’re healthy”. – Be Grateful
Kids have health issues?: “At least I have kids to love”  – Be Thankful
Job sucks? : “At least I have a job” -Be Very Thankful

We could go on all day.

Just make a list of the things you have to be grateful for.

If you’re in a really bad place, write this list down and add to it every day. Over time, you’ll see that you’re feeling better and that you have a good list going.

You’ll realize you have more to be happy about than you thought.

Shifting your mindset in this one area will automatically give you more energy to persevere in spite of what you’re facing.

6) Spend Time in Prayer

The Bible instructs us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (Thessalonians 5:16-18).

You don’t have to believe what I do. That’s up to you.

However, there are plenty of scientific studies recognizing that something happens in your physiology and psychology when you pray.

You can chalk it up to whatever you want, but I’m telling you from personal experience it’s because science hasn’t figured it all out yet. That’s for a different discussion though.

You may be tempted to substitute meditation for prayer. That’s not what I’m saying.

Meditation is good. It can help bring more peace and hope to your mental state. It can recharge you.

But I’m talking here about laying it all out before God.
The Creator of the Universe.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Living God.

So pray.

Give it to the #LivingGod. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Creator of the Universe. #Pray Click To Tweet

The Bible says that the “prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Something happens when you pray. Unseen forces are set in motion.

God isn’t a genie in a bottle. I’m not suggesting God will give you everything you ask for.

Trust me, I’ve been told ‘”no” and “not now”often enough.

But I am suggesting that when you engage in prayer with God, he sees your heart and he responds. Heck, he sees your heart no matter whether you pray or not.

Gods’ like the best coach/trainer in the world. You pray for perseverance, he’ll probably grant it to you. But it will be by developing it in you… which is an entirely different process than a genie granting wishes.

Gods the best trainer ever. You pray for perseverance, he'll give it to you. But it will be by developing it in you... an entirely different process than a genie granting wishes. #God #pray Click To Tweet

7) Build Relationships

The older I get, the more I realize that relationships are the point of it all.

Relationships are the glue that gives life meaning.
Relationships are what matters when everything else goes to crap.
Relationships are what gives you meaning and purpose.

If you build strong relationships with positive people, you will have more perseverance because you’ll have somebody in your corner rooting for you.

It’s much easier to get back up when life knocks us down if we have somebody along side us helping us up or at least by our side giving support.

If you have no solid relationships in your life and family, you need to build them.

You can do this by getting involved in your church, a local community organization, or volunteering to a worthy cause.

Do something where you work along side somebody to bring about a common vision.

If you throw yourself into that, the relationships will develop naturally.

8) Learn to Laugh

Want to persevere in anything longer? Then you’ve got to laugh and have fun. It’s healthy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I like to tell my team “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong”.

That doesn’t just apply to our industry. It applies to every industry out there except maybe something like hostage negotiations.

But I would even argue that if a hostage negotiator doesn’t find his or her job fun and exciting to some degree, they should probably find a  different occupation.

So whatever you do, have fun doing it and you’ll have more perseverance. It’s too easy to quite something if we are bored and hate doing it.

Often times though, it’s not the task. It’s the way we interpret the task or how we do the task that makes it not fun.

9) Eat Right

This is a great way to exercise the mental muscle needed for perseverance.

I don’t know about you but I like to eat. Scratch that.

I love it, to an extent.

My weakness is deli-style sandwiches and potato salad. Just writing about it creates the urges.

I bring it up for two reasons.

  1. Limiting yourself to a healthy diet is one of the best ways to exercise your mental self-discipline muscles.
  2. It’s also a sure fire way to increase your levels of sustainable energy.

Self Discipline

Self-discipline is at the heart of perseverance. It takes discipline to keep going in anything.

Controlling what you eat (and when you eat) allows you to exercise self-discipline and also allows you to learn how to start over.

If you’re like me, you’ll eventually fall off the horse and eat something you shouldn’t, it’s just a matter of time.

Then you have the opportunity to get back up and try again.

Over time, as that self-discipline muscle strengthens, you’ll be more disciplined. Then you’ll be able to apply that self-discipline to other areas of your life.

Sustaining Energy Levels

Overcoming obstacles is draining. That’s why so many people don’t have the emotional fortitude to keep going.

When you eat right, your body and mind can operate at peak levels. When you’re eating junk all day, you’re lethargic and it’s difficult to have any kind of mental, emotional, or physical stamina.

Top athletes train hard and are very regimented in their diet.

You must be too if you want to be emotionally healthy and have the tenacity to conquer the challenges life throws your way.

10) Do Something That Scares You

This is almost like #3 (Get out of your comfort zone).

The difference is, this isn’t just out of your comfort zone. This is something that’s way past your comfort zone.

For example, if you’re afraid of heights, go bungee jumping or skydiving.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, sign up for a public speaking course or program like Toastmasters where you’ll need to speak publicly as part of the learning process.

You may be wondering what this has to do with perseverance.

Well, we already established that much of perseverance has to do with your mindset.

Your mindset decides what you are and are not capable of.

Do you realize that?

If you decide you can’t do something, before you even attempt it (like, really attempt it), then you can’t and won’t do it because you already made up your mind.

Overcoming a fear is exhilarating. It’s the one fastest path to believing (not just thinking) that you are capable of anything.

Overcoming a fear is exhilarating. It's the one fastest paths to truly believing (not just thinking) that you're capable of anything. Click To Tweet

It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Let’s say you’re deathly afraid of skydiving. The idea makes you sick to the stomach as the fear wells up inside you.

If you force yourself to do it… you may not enjoy it and you may freak out a little. Once you’re back on the ground, you’ll probably never want to do it again if it’s not your thing.

But, even if you never-ever-ever even think about doing it again, your belief in yourself will skyrocket.

That’s because the only person who really knew how scared you were, is you.

You felt it, you personally knew the courage you had to muster up to jump… and you did it.

That will give you the courage to do whatever you want in life and the belief in  your inner warrior.

The downside? I don’t know you. I don’t know how much courage you actually have.

Maybe you come face to face with your fear and you back off. Maybe you don’t have the guts to overcome it… that’s the risk.

If that happens, if you back away from your fear and it defeats you, it will actually lower your belief in yourself.

It doesn’t change the fact that if you face your greatest fear and muster up the courage to overcome it, it is indeed the fastest way to building your belief in yourself and in your own abilities.

11) Accept Responsibility

You are responsible for where you are in life.

Yes, I know some things are out of your control, but how you respond to them is always up to you.

I know somebody who is a professional victim, let’s call her Nancy.

This person (Nancy) has a victim story about everything.

Everything that happens or doesn’t happen, everything that gets done or doesn’t get done, she has a story about it all. The story is always the same… it’s not her fault, this happened, that happened, yada yada yada.

She is an eternal victim.

Everything happens to her and it’s out of her control.
Even things that are her responsibility.
If she fails to fulfill any of her responsibilities, she has an excuse (which she thinks is a justifiable reason) as to why she couldn’t do it.

Don’t be a Nancy.

Accept responsibility for your life. Take to hear the old phrase “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”.

Nobody else is going to hold your hand, pamper, and baby you to success.

That’s your responsibility and yours alone.

Own your problems, stop blaming others, and put to rest the notion that this world owes you anything at all.

Once you do that, you’ll be unstuck.

Own your problems, stop blaming others, and put to rest the notion that this world owes you anything at all. Once you do that, you'll be unstuck. Click To Tweet

12) Never Give Up… But Know When to Give Up

Never Give Up... But Know When to Give Up Click To Tweet

Two contradictory ideas in the same phrase?

Yes. You can handle it.

You’re an adult (probably- if you’re not and you’re reading this post then please reach out to me, you’re going to have an incredible life and make and incredible impact).

Perseverance and resilience are closely related.

But perseverance is a funny thing. It’s good until it’s not good.

It’s like the old song says “Ya’ gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em”.

It’s not just a cute line in a song. It’s also quite insightful.

Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.

There are times when you should be willing to walk away.

I know, not something you think you’d be reading on an article about resilience but there’s always two sides to any conversation.

I’m about to give an example here that many won’t agree with, but hear me out.

I don’t believe in having any more debt than absolutely necessary (none if possible).

Some very visible people in some circles say you should use debt as leverage. I think that’s a bad idea in most instances.

It worked great for Dave Ramsey, until it stopped working. The more leverage you have, the hard it comes crashing down if things shift.

Just like perseverance- it’s good… until it’s not good.

That being said. If you’re trying to do something and it’s causing you to go further and further in debt, that would be a key indicator that maybe you should change direction or consider quitting what you’re doing.

More importantly, you have to know why you’re choosing to quit.

Do you really need to quit or do you just need to make a course correction?

Is what you’re doing something that would be beneficial to quit (i.e. partying, gambling, or some kind of addiction)?

In general, I would advise against quitting on you commitments. Most people never make any real commitments to anything and far too many quit things too soon.

The flip side though is that when it comes to unhealthy activity or poor choices, most people have perseverance as a super power.

Continuing to go down a road that is dangerous, regardless of the potential emotional or financial payoff, is a bad idea.

People confuse perseverance with resilience sometimes. They’re different.

Perseverance is something you do in spite of obstacles, in order to keep going in the same direction.

Resiliency is when you choose not to give up on something, but you may change directions.

You can be resilient without persevering.

Let’s suppose you have a business that goes bankrupt and you’re left with nothing.

You can’t persevere. It’s over. But you can exhibit and practice emotional resilience by picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and starting over.

Maybe you start something different.
The key is, you don’t give up.

So remember. Never quit… unless it’s time to quit.

Never give up on your dreams. Change vehicles if you must, but continue toward your dream destination.

Never give up on your dreams. Change vehicles if you must, but continue toward your dream destination. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

In this article I’ve unpacked just about everything I can think of in regard to emotional resilience such as:

  • What resilience is and why emotional resiliency is necessary for success
  • The psychology of reslience
  • How to strengthen your resiliency mind muscles
  • 12 surefire ways to build emotional resilience.

I hope you found value in this post and learned at least one thing you can start doing today to be more resilient.

If you’re life has been a lesson in resilience and you’re now stronger because of it, I’d love to hear your story.

If you’re already resilient and would like to apply that thick skin to building a massive income stream, consider becoming a part of our growing team.

Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. -Nelson Mandela Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

Jason and Daniele

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