Tag Archives: careers

“R” is for Resilience

“Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.”

The world is filled with obstacles and situations that cause us stress. How is it that some people are felled by criticism, failure, or change and others seem to take a deep breath, dust themselves off and keep right on going? One word: RESILIENCE

Resilience is the ability to rebound from a crisis or any situation that threatens to pull you off course. While fear and resistance to change may hold some back, resilience can help you rebound. Back in the day, it was believed that you either had it or your didn’t. The good news is that it is not innate. Resilience can be learned!

How? Here are four strategies research supports in terms of becoming more resilient:

  • Get connected. Resilient people use social support (not necessarily social media) to help them through the rough times. They open up to family or friends and allow others to help them get through the tough times life can serve up. Who can you tell your troubles to without fearing judgment? Do you have a “person”? And whose “person” are you?


  • Practice optimism. Numerous research studies show how negative thinking can become a habit. What spin do you put on your experiences? When your thoughts turn negative, challenge yourself to re-frame the situation in more positive terms.

Resilient people challenge themselves to re-frame situations. One  could say they look for the silver lining. But don’t think they’re “Pollyanna”. They don’t deny the gravity of a situation; they  acknowledge the reality of what’s happening and then seek another way to look at the situation.


  • Stay healthy. Often when things get tough we’re tempted to turn to “too much”. Too much food, too much alcohol, too much sleep, too much work. People with higher levels of resilience turn to exercise, healthy foods, plenty of water, and 7-8 hours of sleep. They know that every situation is more tolerable and you can think more clearly when you feel healthy and are rested.

  • Explore the spiritual. Spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean religion. It can mean a sense of “we are all in this together.” It can be opening yourself to the wonders of nature, the calm of meditation, or the peace of silence.

Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties. At a certain age we realize that life isn’t fair, bad things happen to good people, and each of us will eventually have to dance with adversity. Resilience gives you a hand getting up when life knocks you down.

Don’t wait until the next time life deals you bad cards. Start beefing up your resilience now by answering the following questions.

  • How can you better connect with someone at work?
  • Who can you turn to for support when things get dark?
  • How can you re-frame a bad situation? Look back at an old crisis. From the safety of time, can you determine another way to see the situation?
  • What is one healthy habit you can commit to?


Jerilyn Willin is a career strategies coach, workshop facilitator, and professional speaker. She works with individuals in transition in their careers and from their careers to the next stage of life. http://www.jerilynwillin.com

“G” is for Gap Analysis (Your own)

There is an old saying that goes something like this: “The shoemaker’s children go without shoes.” What does it mean? Usually it refers to the fact that what we do for our company we often do not do for ourselves. For example, my dad was a professional photographer yet photos of me as a child are few and far between. What does the shoemaker story have to do with career strategies? I propose that few of us take advantage of the tools we use in our work to keep our careers on track. For example, have you ever conducted a gap analysis on your career?

gap Gap analysis is a formal study of business performance in terms how the business is doing compared to expectations/potential. The difference between expectations and current performance is the gap. Once identified, the company can take steps to close the gap by better use of its resources, capital and technology. A good gap analysis makes a company look more closely at their current situation, where they want to be (or should already be), and how they got there. Knowing where it needs to be to stay competitive and be successful helps the company focus on steps to get there and examine what has prevented it from getting there to begin with.

Gap analysis can help us do the very same for our careers. Yet we seldom use this diagnostic tool to make sure our careers are on track as the years slide by.

It is usually when something “big” happens (lay-offs, down-sizing, promotion pass-over) that we make the time to step back and say, “Am I using my resources to their best advantage? When was the last time I invested in myself in terms of development? Is my current position positioning me for where I want to be and when I want to be there?”decision

Right now, as you continue to read this article, grab a pen and paper and jot down some thoughts or questions to use as you begin your career gap analysis. Remember this is a gap analysis; you only have to act on it if you want to. What is important here is awareness of where you are right now in your career and if this is where you want to be at this point.

Step 1: Identify Expectations: Take a candid look at your current situation. Is this where you expected to be in your career at your current age and level of experience? What were your expectations of you when you looked down the road 10 years ago or when you graduated from school?

exploreStep 2: Gather Data: If Step 1 revealed a scenario different from current reality, what road did you take to get to where you currently are? What decisions did you make? How did you make those decisions? Be honest. Were you going for the money and if so, why? Were you going for the low hanging fruit in a tough job market? Did your “dream job” present itself and you grabbed the golden ring? How did you get where you currently are in your career?

Ask  yourself if you were to enter the job market right now, how does your experience compare to what is expected in your next level position or in the position you currently hold? This kind of data is rarely gathered until we find ourselves in a job search. Gather data now. What are open positions in other companies looking for? I am not advocating a job search…I am simply recommending that you gather some data. A job exploration, if you will. There is plenty of data out there. Visit the career sites of companies you’d want to work for if you were in a job search. See what’s out there. Visit the SHRM career center, Monster, Career Builder. Do you have what they are looking for?

Step 3: Explore the Causes of Deviation: Are you ahead of the curve or beginning to fall behind? In our current 24/7 workplace it is easy to be so focused on delivering great results thatgather data our own vision of what we want for our career is lost. Just as your company stays on top of what is happening in the marketplace for its products/services, so should you keep an eye on what is happening in your career marketplace. If you see you have fallen behind, examine the causes. Awareness of where you might be behind the curve can help you strategically plot your course to catch up.

 Step 4: Take Steps to Close the Gaps You May Find: You may be shocked to see what recruiters are looking for in your current position or those at the next level. By doing this gap analysis, you can begin to take steps to close your gaps using resources that behindwill also help you in your current job. Does your current position motivate you? Are you learning new things? Are your annual goals tapping into your potential and making you stretch? If not, now is the time to make a strategic plan to get broader experience within your company. What kind of broader experience? Well, what is the marketplace asking for? See how that works?

Whatever you decide to learn more about or ask to be a part of is ultimately going to help you in your current position as well as set you up better for your next even if your next position is within your current company.

So, where do you think you are right now in terms of your own career expectations? Use a personal career gap analysis to become more aware of and informed about your career journey so far, and organize, plan and stay competitive as you move forward.