Resilience - Dust Yourself Off And Try Again


Helen Keller, famously proclaimed, “although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it”. Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree at Radcliff College of Harvard University in 1904 and someone who knew a little bit about resilience. It’s not just the domain of those battling against massive injustices, we all need to be resilient in this “dog-eat-dog” world. Project Managers for example, we are always working in the negative space, somewhere between managing risk, tight budgets, scheduling conflicts and every other way a project can potentially be derailed. So how do we keep getting up and coming to work with a fresh new smile and embracing the challenges of the new day? It’s not always easy, but it can strengthen you and force you to not take the little leniencies for granted.

Managing customer expectations and dealing with setbacks can make the spriteliest of Project Managers sour, but there is a way to manage this stress, so it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on you. Because seriously, we spend so much time at work, no one wants to spend their days a bucket of nerves!


Resilience is a term used to describe one’s ability to overcome and move through challenging situations. Webster’s Dictionary describes resilience as “the power or ability to recover quickly from a setback, depression, illness, overwork or other adversity.”

Being resilient is an important “soft” skill for Project Managers because they deal with different challenges in all aspects of a project. Below are some examples of how we apply resilience in project management.

  1. Bounce: Getting Through It

Overcoming a difficult event, disappointment or work situation without it crushing your spirit, like a meteor from space, is no easy feat. But when dusting yourself off and starting again is all you can do, then do it and gently move through the process. Thinking positively, with optimism and practicing gratitude, are all ways to combat the negativity which inevitably comes as a part of the ebbs and flows of life. Suffering, difficulties or bad decisions are all part of being human. You’re not alone and everyone experiences adversity at some point. Be prepared for a new direction which may have just opened up for you. Roll with it to start with, embrace it and have faith it will all work out. At Insentra, we have “Pebble in the Shoe” conversations with colleagues when someone or something upsets us, by raising our concern with the person directly. This provides the opportunity to help get through the difficult time, before it gets out of hand.

  1. Believe: Be Kind to Yourself

When life hands us a crappy situation, it is particularly important to be kind to ourselves. Understanding we all experience highs and lows throughout our life, it is important not to take it personally. Take a break if something is too much to bear. Understand the importance of sleep, exercise and relaxation as well as good nutrition. Sometimes a game of golf, pedicure or a walk in the bush can really help ease the stress of a situation. When you’re going through a tough time, know it won’t last forever. Life is ever moving, and ever changing. At Insentra we ask at the start of each meeting, ‘how are you?’, each attendee shares two scores out of ten; how we are personally and how we are professionally. It is a great way to understand how a person is travelling and an opportunity to help out a colleague in need.

  1. Engage: Spend Time with Friends

The company we keep can give or take from us, so ensure you spend time with people who celebrate you and are a positive influence in your life. We are social beings and need a sense of belonging, when times are tough reach out to your network of friends (or family) and lean on them. They will be there, just as you will be when they experience a difficult situation.

  1. Gratitude: Be Thankful

Focusing on the barriers and obstacles which have caused us to stumble can inhibit how we rebound after a setback. Being grateful for all the awesome things in our lives shifts the focus from the negative to the positive. For example, I am super grateful for the fabulous coffee we have at work! I do not want to trivialise suffering; I am merely saying the practice of gratitude can start small. Being thankful for spring, family, freedom or really good coffee, it all works! Gratitude is a powerful technique to change your life. I find journaling helpful when working through the transition to a more positive state. It’s also really nice to turn gratitude outwards, to your co-workers, friends, the bus driver or whoever else lights up your day, I promise it will put a smile on their face… and yours too! Ronnie, our CEO, encourages gratitude and at Insentra people are celebrated as much as their wins and achievements are. In fact, celebration is one of our core values.

  1. Perspective: Learn, Accept and Move On

Failure is part of the human condition and as we move through life it is a given that at some point, we will experience it, so accept it. To maximise and benefit from our failures we need to see what it has taught us. Jason, my manager, believes to overcome and move forward we need to ‘fail better’, reflecting on the situation to see how we can do things differently and what we have learned, then move on. This is so true with managing projects. We need to frame setbacks as areas to learn and grow, so we turn a negative into a positive.

At Insentra, our vision is to be the number one channel services company on the planet. We do this by being the best version of ourselves, creating an outstanding environment for our team, loving the work we do and amazing each other, our partners and their clients in every way. We know what happens in businesses, not every part is going to be firing at the same time, there will be highs and lows. Being resilient helps us recover quickly from the adversity, move on and achieve a successful outcome in the end.

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