How to Build your Resilience Under Pressure

Pressure? What pressure?

We all need a little pressure in our lives, both at work and at home. The right amount motivates us to get things done. But what happens to us if the pressure becomes too great, and we can’t handle it? This is where resilience comes in.

Stress is defined as ‘a situation when the pressure placed upon us exceeds our perceived resources and we feel we can longer cope’. So, we need to be better at managing the everyday pressures – we need to be more resilient.

We can break resilience down into 6 key areas:

A sense of purpose

This is the foundation for all of the other elements. The stronger your sense of purpose, the better equipped you are to handle challenges and obstacles which may spring up. If you can see the target you’re aiming at, you can hit it!  Are you clear about your direction and goals?  You’ve got to believe in something!

A positive mental attitude

How do you stay positive? This is something of a balancing act, between being able to think positively about situations whilst being realistic about what can be achieved.

It is not about naïve optimism, but involves being able to generate positive thoughts and feelings about situations. A positive attitude makes you happier and more resilient, it improves your relationships, and it even increases your chances of success in any endeavour. It also makes you more creative and can help you to make better decisions.

Connecting with others

Sometimes you can’t do it all on your own! Building supportive and caring relationships is essential.  Your interpersonal communication skills can be an important element of your ability to be resilient, based on how you handle difficult situations.

It is also essential to be able to offer appropriate help and support to others and ask for it when needed. Having a support network of colleagues, friends and family is vital – it is easier to bounce back when you know somebody is there for you.


Let’s get things done! How good are you at seeing things through to completion?  When faced with challenges do you adopt a “can do” approach, and take timely and appropriate action?  How well do you finish the tasks that you have started?  Are you able to keep going in the face of adversity rather than giving up?

Taking control

Control comes from how you think and react to situations, your emotional agility. Do you take responsibility for yourself and your actions? Are you able to recognise the challenges or situations which are beyond your control, and let go of these to focus on the things that you can do something about? Make sure you are devoting your time and energy here, and where you can take control, you do. Anything else is a futile waste.

Looking after yourself

If you cannot build your resilience levels you will find it harder to deal with pressure. You will become stressed and you might begin to suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, or all of the above!

Looking after yourself is essential to help you deal with stress. Is your lifestyle a healthy one? Have you identified your ‘coping networks’ which enable you to deal with stressful situations? Are you able to ‘switch off’ and relax sometimes?

For some people, it means going to the gym after work, or hobbies and other pastimes, or taking the dog for a walk in the countryside, or just talking about the stress with a loved one or colleague: ‘You will not believe the day I’ve just had!’ Book yourself some ‘me time’ and stick to it!


If we’re going to be better at handling pressure, we need to work on our resilience levels. Consider the 6 areas above and evaluate your resilience – if you feel you are lacking in any of them, then these are your areas for development. Ask yourself this: When the going gets tough, do you get going?

If you’re interested in learning to manage your stress and build the practical skills of resilience, take a look at our Personal Resilience training or Stress Management courses.




6 Techniques to Influence and Persuade Stakeholders at Work

Are You Under The Influence?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could easily gain the willing cooperation and buy-in of others? We approach them because we need a favour, or some form of action on their part, and they agree to comply happily under our influence, instead of resisting or claiming they’re too busy.

If done correctly, people don’t mind being influenced, mainly because they don’t know it just happened. However, if you try too hard, your influencing endeavours will become obvious, and people might feel manipulated, which will not be well received!

To improve your influencing skills, let’s consider the work of Robert Cialdini, who identified 6 principles of influence:


If you do something for someone, they will feel better about doing something for you in return. The key is to be the first to give and make sure that what you give them is personalised and unexpected.

For example, if you get a tea or coffee for someone, then when they go to get their own, it’s highly likely they will repeat the good deed and get one for you. It’s the classic ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ concept!


People are more interested in things that are difficult to obtain or might run out. Anything that’s in short supply will be highly prized. If you possess and can control a resource that nobody else has, then your ability to influence will be greatly enhanced.

You might be a specialist in your job, which means you have unique skills and knowledge, and people will come to you in need of your expertise. Or you’re the Head of Finance and you control the company’s bank account, so you decide which projects receive funding or not. Advertisers use this principle: these prices must end on Sunday at 4pm! Get here while stocks last!


This principle works on the basis that people will follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. You’re more likely to believe what your doctor, dentist or accountant is telling you because they display their diplomas and other prestigious-looking certificates in their offices. When a police officer in uniform tells you to do something, you obey.

It’s important to establish with others what makes you a credible and knowledgeable expert before attempting to influence, for example ‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and in my experience…’

Commitment & consistency

People respond favourably to those who are consistent in their message and committed to what they believe in. If you remain consistent, the response you get is likely to be consistent also. If you believe in something, then so can they, which makes them easier to influence.


People prefer to say yes to those that they like. If you can build a good relationship with someone, it will be much easier to get them round to your way of thinking. There are 3 important factors to bear in mind: we like people who are similar to us, we like people who pay us compliments, and we like people who cooperate with us towards achieving mutual goals.


This principle (also known as social proof) works on the basis that people will look to the actions and behaviours of others to determine their own. If you can show someone that what you’re asking them to do has already been done many times by many others, then it makes it feel safe and they will feel more comfortable complying,.

For example, ‘You weren’t at the meeting, but when I explained my idea everyone thought it was brilliant and they all agreed’.


We all rely on others for help and assistance, so wouldn’t it be great if we could get people willingly on board, whilst maintaining good relationships? This is where your influencing skills come into play. Cialdini identified 6 principles; you probably already use some of them and the others are at your disposal too. Happy influencing!