Thinking about Resilience: Are you Languishing or Flourishing? #MyNextSteps

For this week’s #MyNextSteps career workshop, we are talking about resilience in your career (and life)! In this blog, Danny Wilkey, Senior Career Consultant at Kings Business School, shares some thoughts about building resilience.

Pink umbrella in the rain
Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Languishing or flourishing?

OK, to be honest, I move between these two myself. Sometimes it’s a positive movement and feeling that life is good. In these times, gratitude comes easily and when misfortune strikes I dust myself down and I walk on. Sometimes. Other times I can slide into the slightly murkier pond of languishing – I can see it coming but I find it difficult to resist its pull.

A quick few tips as you begin reading this blog, to help you set a good mindset around resilience and self-reflection. My first tip is, be honest with yourself. Next, Be Kind. Be Kind to yourself. Be Kind to others.

And lastly, trust.

Trust me: the time it takes for you to read this blog will give you some small tools. And then trust yourself: allow yourself to see the positive evidence that some of these suggestions might accumulate.


Steps to build resilience

We are all living through extraordinary times. It can feel like some grand global resilience test. Health systems, economics systems, societal systems and our own systems are all being tested. Our individual ways of living, working, studying, and loving have all been impacted. Flourishing can feel like a minority sport in the face of such difficulty. So much so that Adam Grant an organizational psychologist at Wharton penned the article There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s called Languishing. He describes languishing as “a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021”. Thanks, Adam! No really thanks, Adam, it’s good to name it – but it’s also good not to shame it.

To all the King’s students – don’t waste time feeling bad about feeling bad. The bad feeling doesn’t need company. But you might. We have all being separated from friends and family, students from teachers, career staff from students, the list goes on.

I invite you to reflect for a moment – who is in your support network? Where do you go if your internship application is rejected multiple times, your love interest is sadly not interested, or you are not meeting your or others’ expectations for your life? In other words, who have you invited to take a positive role in your life? These could be significant figures like mentors, friends, colleagues or could be the sum of random connections with strangers who just lift your spirits.  Be quick to see what works for you, what nourishes you. It’s a great idea to get a support network and offer the same to others. Do not deprive yourself of sharing someone else’s joy or the satisfaction of helping a friend in need.


On the path to flourishing

You might be asking, how can one move from languishing to flourishing? Well, moving is a very good start. A walk in nature and exercise, in general, has been shown to shift our perspective and our ability to cope. Once we are able to cope we start to feel better and our ‘alive’ creative selves return.

My final thought, would be that it’s a good idea to regularly check-in in with yourself and others. Take your own resilience or wellbeing pulse. Abandon words like “should” and embrace yourself with a positive enquiry – How am I doing?  How are we doing? At King’s Careers, we have lots of resources and information to support you – but start where you are – use what you find useful at this time. Remember: if you are doing great, be generous. If you are not, gently remind yourself of what worked last time, because chances are, it will work again.

Ssmall deposits regularly made become a tidy nest egg of wellbeing and its sibling, resilience. I call this the compound interest of wellbeing.