This article, written by Anne, originally appeared on

June 2, 2019

Three Keys to Become More Resilient

Research finds that resilient people excel in problem solving, positive communication, emotional intelligence, and emotional regulation. They are also more hopeful and optimistic, and have higher levels of self-esteem. These are all characteristics we associate with successful realtors.

Having a positive outlook and emotional intelligence helps you weather rough spots when generating new leads and negotiating contracts. You are looking to keep things moving forward, offer solutions, and smooth the way to a successful closing. And whether you own your own firm or are employed as part of a team, defining priorities and finding ways to recharge are critical to your performance and success.

The key to doing this? Resilience.

Resilience is our ability to recover quickly from setbacks, but it is also much more. Resilience allows you to tap into your strength and courage so you can persevere when things don’t go as you had planned. It allows you to remain positive and focused in the face of negativity and distractions.

While there are many ways to grow resilience, I want to focus on three areas where you can cultivate skills and habits to build resilience proactively, so that you have it when you need it most: Mindset, skillset, and the ability to reset.

Mindset includes our habits, emotional intelligence, and beliefs. Your mindset is the story you tell yourself about yourself, including those that keep you stuck.

In 1942, scientists in Michigan conducted an experiment with a walleyed pike. The carnivorous fish was placed in a large tank filled with minnows and, as expected, it ate them. New minnows were then placed into the tank inside a glass cylinder. The pike kept ramming its head into the glass trying to get to the minnows. After several hours it finally settled on the bottom of the tank and gave up. Scientists then removed the glass cylinder so the minnows could swim freely. Can you guess what happened next? The pike continued to lie on the bottom of the tank and eventually starved to death. This has become known as “The Pike Syndrome”.

Like that glass cylinder, our fear and self-limiting beliefs create imaginary barriers that we are convinced we cannot break through. Think about areas where you feel stuck. What limiting beliefs are holding you back? What would you do if they weren’t? Our beliefs drive our behavior. And fortunately, we can change our beliefs.

Skillset includes our ability to cultivate gratitude, optimism, and other positive emotions; to manage stress; to mitigate negative self-talk; and to engage in activities that are good for us like humor, social connection, mindfulness, and self-care. Think of your skillset as the tools you need to manage stress so you can bounce back from setbacks.

When we are under stress, the emotional center of our brain lights up, shooting the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline through our brain and body. This was pretty helpful for our prehistoric ancestors facing saber-toothed tigers, but physiologically it’s not so great for us dealing with the demands of 21st century life. Chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death.

When you identify how you respond to stress, though, you can begin to proactively manage it. Some of the most effective tools in your skillset include:

  • Gratitude, which is proven to be the single best predictor of well-being and a strong determinant of resilience. People who practice gratitude have improved sleep, mood, decision-making, relationships, lower blood pressure, fewer aches and pains, fewer bouts of depression, and the benefits are almost immediate. You don’t even have to find anything to be grateful for. The simple act of looking releases the feel-good neurochemicals serotonin and dopamine and lowers the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.
  • Optimism also lowers cortisol and increases dopamine and serotonin. People who practice optimism have fewer aches and pains, along with better physical and mental health. It has also been linked with higher income and more successful relationships.
  • Mindfulness, which means paying attention on purpose – and you don’t have to sit in a full lotus position to do it. Mindfulness is simply being where you are when you’re there. Mindfulness trains your mind to focus on the moment instead of worrying about what occurred in the past or what might happen in the future. This makes you less likely to hit the panic button, and reverses stress-related changes in the brain.
  • Laughter, which is good for your soul and your brain. Studies show a genuine smile (one that involves facial muscles around the eyes) sparks a change in brain activity related to a good mood. Laugher cools your heart and calms your nervous system.
  • Social connection, which is the greatest predictor of longevity. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, celebrate, and laugh with you. Surround yourself with people who embrace you and your imperfections.

Reset is what you do to help you focus on what is truly important to you. Think of it as a lighthouse to guide you across rough waters. What are you aiming for? What is your purpose and passion? Take time to define what success looks like for you. Your resume and eulogy should not be the same thing. Many of us think, “I’ll know it when I see it,” but that’s not how the brain works. You have to declare it and your brain will work to fill in the blanks.

Identify your lighthouse. What will you aim toward? What is your purpose and passion? Once you have a lighthouse you can work on scheduling priorities.

We’ve gotten really good at prioritizing our schedules when we should be scheduling our priorities. What do you wish you had more time for? Where is it scheduled in your calendar? If you tracked your time would it be representative of what you say is most important to you? Do your actions match your intentions? Take the time to reset so you can stay focused on what brings you joy and fulfillment in your life and work.


Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.