Why Learning This Overlooked Skill Will Make You a Stronger Professional

March 8, 2018

See why Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant are such big believers in resilience.

Each of us go through struggles each day, big and small: unwarranted criticisms, impossible deadlines, personal misfortune. The more resilience you have, the less those struggles will affect you and ultimately the stronger career – and life – you’ll build.

And yet, when’s the last time you’ve consciously worked to build your resilience level?

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and renowned psychologist Adam Grant want to change that. In their new LinkedIn Learning course on resilience, the two detail both why resilience matters and how you can build resilience in your life.

“It’s a skillset that we work on throughout our lives,” Grant said. “It’s something that we can build long before we can face any kind of tragedy or difficulty. It’s really about learning. What does it take for me to find the strength in a tough situation and then being able to apply those skills when they’re most needed.”

Sandberg was motivated to create this course after the unexpected death of her husband, David Goldberg, in 2015. Since, she’s been committed to helping others build up their resilience, after focusing on building her own up first.

“I remember asking Adam, ‘how much resilience do I have, how do I figure it out?’,” Sandberg said. “And he said it was the wrong question. The question is not how much resilience you have because there’s not a fixed amount, you build resilience.”

Here’s an excerpt from their free course:

Three tips from Sheryl and Adam for building resilience

In addition to sharing more about Sheryl’s story of hardship, and how she learned to overcome it, Sandberg and Grant’s new course on LinkedIn Learning features specific tactics for building resilience into your own life. They include:

  • Reject permanence. When we go through a hardship, we have a tendency to think the pain will last forever. That makes the hardship worse. “People overestimate how bad it’s going to be,” Grant said. “Part of moving past permanence is changing all those times where you use ‘always’ and ‘never’ into ‘sometimes’ and ‘lately’.”

  • Tap into your community. Hardships can cause us to retreat into ourselves. Sandberg and Grant’s advice: it’s difficult, but try to do the exact opposite. Reach out, as you aren't alone. “In the really hard times for me, knowing about the resilience of so many others – what they’ve overcome – inspired me and gave me hope,” Sandberg said.

  • Find some good in the hardship. While hardship is never easy, Sandberg advised looking for some good in it. Maybe losing a job means another opportunity elsewhere. Maybe receiving constructive criticism helps you grow stronger. In Sandberg’s case, Goldberg’s death led her to create Option B and this course, which she hopes will help others build their resilience. “If Option B helps anyone, even a little bit, get through a crisis or help someone help a friend, then it becomes part of Dave’s legacy,” Sandberg said. “And it honors the life that he lived.”

The bigger point: all of us endure hardships daily. And, in a environment where the rate of change is accelerating, the uncertainty alone can be overwhelming.

Building your resilience can help. With it, you’ll navigate all of life’s challenges more easily, and ultimately become a stronger professional.

Watch Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s free course on resilience today. Other LinkedIn Learning courses you might be interested in are: