Resilience Response Checklist



By Gail Wagnild

Time to read:  3 minutes

As a resilience researcher of many years, I’ve learned that there is a misunderstanding between being resilient and responding with resilience. Resilience is a capability each of us has that is invisible. When we are up against a serious challenge, our resilience or lack of resilience becomes visible through our responses. That’s why we may not know how resilient we are because it’s hard to see unless we are being challenged. When life is routine and predictable, we may wonder if we are very resilient. Have you ever wondered how resilient you are?

But once there is a crisis or chronic stress in our life, we begin to recognize if our responses are healthy, adaptive, and positive or maybe not. So our responses are indicators of how strong our resilience core is. Resilient people tend to respond to life’s ups and downs in similar ways. For instance, they are less likely to blow things out of proportion, throw their hands up in surrender, and run in circles. We all want to give up from time to time but occasional failure isn’t as likely to be a permanent state when we respond from a strong resilience core.

So how do you know if you are responding to life’s ups and downs as a very resilient person does? What does their usual response pattern look like?

Take a look at the statements below for resilience responses to life’s troubles.  

Resilience Response Checklist

  1. I know that over time, I will be able to recover from a painful event.
  2. I rarely if ever dwell on the worst case scenario.
  3. I am able to focus on my goal regardless of what is going on around me.
  4. I keep moving forward even if it’s tough.
  5. I am confident in my ability to get through hard times.
  6. I can usually adapt as circumstances change; I’m flexible.
  7. My beliefs and values guide me every step of the way.
  8. I can usually stay optimistic and positive.

Think of a difficult time that you might be going through right now or maybe one that you have experienced recently. What is your typical response? If you find that none of the above is true for you (and no one scores perfectly on these all of the time), you might look at your resilience core. The strength of our resilience core will reliably predict our resilience response.

Sometimes we can’t see how resilient our response is until after events have passed and we can see that we have recovered and managed to get through them. When I’m going through hard times in my life, I remind myself of the responses that resilient people make. I know those responses have their foundation in a strong resilience core that comprises living authentically, having a balanced outlook, persistence and courage. Resilient people rarely lose sight of why they do what they do and this determines how they respond to whatever life brings.   

You can measure your resilience core by completing the Brief Resilience Scale on this website for a quick assessment. I would love to hear from you.