From the EMBA Digital Leadership class with lecturer Guido Leu, a report by Claire Murigande

Resilience – a word that is part of virtually any discussion these days. I really liked Guido’s introduction on being resilient when facing a crisis; so I wrote down this note to remember: “keep cool and assess what you can do step by step”. It does sound easy, yet it remains a challenge for many people. We continue to see it with the COVID-19 pandemic all of us are confronted with. However, the good news is: everyone can develop and practice resilience.

Although this ability is determined, to some extent, by each individual’s personality, there are several ways to foster resilience. For example: maintain stable social relationships, cultivate optimism, consciously break spirals of dark thoughts, get enough sleep; or even turn off the news (non-stop reports about problems in the world). Therefore, it is important to focus on one’s strengths to become more resistent to stress and live a successful life.

Strengths for resilience

Strengths energise! They make whatever you undertake feel effortless. In other words, when you need to put in a great deal of energy, you are not relying on a strength. A set of 24 character strengths were identified as scientific measurement of what makes the best about human personality. These strengths fall into 6 categories of universal virtues: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. With the values in action test, you can determine your own profile. Once completed, consider the first five on the list. These are your signature strengths.

How can one benefit from focusing on their strengths? People who rely on their strengths at work, for instance, experience less stress, achieve their goals, demonstrate higher performance, higher satisfaction levels or more engagement.

Positive emotions

These benefits are tied with positive emotions. Emotions like joy, pride, gratitude or hope which are at the core of the PERMA model. This five element model was developed by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology.

1. Positive Emotions: feeling good and remaining optimistic

2. Engagement: finding flow when fully immersed into the current moment

3. Relationship: authentic connections that help us feel safe and valued

4. Meaning: purposeful existence for something greater than oneself

5. Achievement: a sense of accomplishment to thrive and flourish

In short, the PERMA model describes the path towards a fulfilled, resilient life. What else is there to wish for? I would argue nothing else. Especially during times of uncertainty or change, and to lead by example in such periods.