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Resilience: A Must For Successful Women - CWON Nigeria

Resilience: A Must For Successful Women


 Amb. Dr. Mrs. Alice Aladi Jonah (JP)



If you want to be successful in life, you must be resilient.


We are often faced with diverse challenges in life especially in the family, when life throws such challenges at us, we are seen running helter skater in search of solution. Sometimes, we wonder aimlessly, tirelessly but expectantly, not minding if we are going about it the right way or not. One thing is sure though, whenever we have a problem, we think of a way out, a possible solution. But after the trying moment lies your reaction, action or inaction. This is where resilience comes into play.

What is resilience?

The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines resilience as “the ability to become strong, happy or successful again after a difficult situation or event. Resilience involves the ability to recover and rebound from challenges and setbacks. Resilience is the mental reservoir of strength that helps people handle stress without falling apart. (Kendra Cherry 2021).

Resilient women dwell upon their strength to cope with hardships, trauma, or challenges and recover fast. It could be health challenges, financial stress, job challenges or even business imbalance, challenge of unstable relationships or family problems. Resilience helps us understand that life is not a bed of roses, but real life situations are surrounded by and embedded in numerous challenges some of which are inevitable. Bearing this in mind therefore, one is prepared body and soul to face these challenges, struggle through them and overcome them victoriously.  

Psychologists think that resilient people seem to have internal locus of control. They believe that the actions people take can affect the outcome of an event eventually. Naturally, some factors such as natural disasters are outside our control, yet we need to exert some level of control over our reactions in such situations somehow and move on.

Resilient people do not see themselves as victims of circumstances but rather look for ways to resolve problems. Hence, resilient women are competent, they are confident, they have the ability to cope with difficult situations, they have absolute control of the situation and eventually become victorious. Although women are more fragile and have poorer health status and are more frail, but are more resilient and have longer life expectancy than men. (Cate Swannel & Med J. Aust, 2020). Women are seen to have more resilient power than men. Kudos to all resilient women out there.

In the opinion of Jennifer Webb (2018), Women are half the educated labour force and earn a large number of today’s advanced degrees, yet outside academia, women are still dismally behind in titles, promotions, and advancements. It is true that women have the ability to be resilient, to bounce back, regroup, and lead and inspire others. They have the ability to take whatever the world throws at them and still focus on staying on top of the game, without being entrenched in negative thinking for too long, but filled with hope that possibilities abound. All we need do is change our mindset and be optimistic about life, choosing how we intend to approach the issues that weigh us down, and how we respond to the insults, sarcasm or derision that come to us in between our struggles.

As women, we must bear in mind that many people will not like us or our ideas, many will deliberately frustrate, offend or annoy us. With resilience, we must not give away our strength but pull ourselves together and forge ahead.

Types of resilience

There are numerous types of resilience, but the common ones include: Physical resilience, emotional resilience, mental resilience, social resilience, and community resilience.

Steps to boost your resiliency

1. Make out time for yourself: Take some time to refurbish, re-organize or re-energize yourself. You sure need some fresh air around you to help you move on. Taking a break off your tight schedule can reduce your stress and strengthen your immune system, giving you stability and zeal to focus on the subject matter.

2. Build your support network: There is need for you to pay apt attention to the cries of people around you, giving them moral, financial, or spiritual support where necessary. The more people you have on your side, the stronger their support for you when sorrow surrounds you, and the easier and faster the solution when things get challenging.

3. Restructure your attitude: The attitude you put up is largely responsible for your successes or failures, you need to convince yourself that internal fortitude can affect your achievements and not the circumstances you find yourself. This self assurance enables you to bounce back to life in no time.

4. Adapt to every situation: To become more resilient, you must learn to adapt to every situation even if it gets ugly. Let it be at the back of your mind that no condition is permanent, therefore you cannot be comfortable at all times. When you find yourself in an uncomfortable environment, do not pretend that all is well, but know that it is only a passing phase of life. Remember, Abraham Lincoln once said “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

5. Always be thankful: Gratitude is a thing of the heart, you must be convinced that God is your ultimate provider in order for you to be grateful to God in every situation. If you take your time to count your blessings, you will see that you have so much to be thankful for.

Who is a resilient woman?

A resilient woman sees everyday as an opportunity to make her life better. She invests in herself rather than materialism. She spends her resources wisely on things that will make her life and that of her family better, she is not in competition with anyone. When the odds add up against her, she is not trapped nor drenched by the predicaments that surround her, she keeps moving until she attains her goal. She is not affected by her adversity but uses her strength and turns her pain into her gain. She does not crumble under pressure rather she comes out even stronger.

A resilient woman perseveres in the toughest of times, she finds strength within herself and supports other women to rise instead of bringing them down. She tries to look past her troubles and worries, and puts her trust and mind in Christ. She always finds peace and comfort in Christ, knowing that her tribulations are temporary but the love of God is eternal. 

Characteristics of a resilient woman

When you see a woman that had gone through real turbulent times, passed through troubled waters and came back stronger and better, such a woman has strong resilience. Resilient women work through hard times, learn from their hard times, grow stronger and even become inspiration to other women. Being resilient is about being able to recover from hard times and spring back sooner than expected. A resilient woman has the following characteristics:

Ability to keep calm under stress: Whenever there is a fuss, the resilient woman takes her time to study the situation and be calm. She does not jump into conclusion or flare up. She approaches the matter with caution and maturity, and makes thoughtful decisions.

Self control: A resilient woman has self control over a stressful situation. She does not panic for long but asks for God’s intervention and direction. Even if she knows that people have conspired against her, she pushes them behind and moves on.

Being aware of the situation: Resilient women are often aware of their situations, coupled with their emotions in relation to such situations. The awareness helps them maintain control of the situation while they proffer lasting solutions.

She is optimistic: When an obstacle is on the way, a resilient woman first and foremost thinks about the way out rather than ask why it happened? With a very strong will, she pushes through the dangerous wind, with a positive mind and a positive energy to overcome the situation.

“The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved, women who live bravely, both tender and fierce, women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney


Although the society we find ourselves has tagged women weak and brittle, but we are unbreakable, strong and elastic. We may be broken but we speedily make amends, pull ourselves up and move on with life’s struggles, as if nothing ever happened to us. We must never give up but keep up the struggle until we reach our full potential.

Every resilient woman is a go-getter. Our value is not dependent on what people think or the derogatory things they say about us, even when they treat us like we are worthless, we stand tall and tell them that we are still strong and no one can compel us to think otherwise. Our value in the society is inestimable and that is our stand. A woman is like a circle, working round the clock, using her power and the fire she’s got in her to produce, provide care and nurture someone into a worthy being.“Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” - Maya Angelou

All you need is self-confidence in your abilities, with equitable zeal and inner conviction that you are unbreakable. Know that any obstacle you meet on your way to success is an opportunity to learn something new, it is time to turn those obstacles to bricks that you build to get to the top of your potentials. Even if someone is the obstacle, ignore all the thorns he/she places before you and move on. They are actually not obstacles but necessary steps to help you move up. Do not get angry at them, but thank them for being used as the stepping stones that will help you move on, because without such people on the way, the road would be slippery. “You may think you have crushed me, but the strength in me keeps me standing strong” – Alice Aladi Jonah 

Against all odds, women hold all the aces. We are born with a strong will, endowed with impetus that enables us to go through toughest of times and come out resilient. Women have been hysterically molested sexually by their close associates, bosses, or raped by unknown men, in spite of the trauma, they struggled out of the pain and have moved on and are waxing stronger. That is resilience.

The people who have grossly harassed women are the weak ones, they have the greater pain and bear the worse burden as they will live with the guilt and pain of their ungodly act forever. The woman you try to pull down through acts of conspiracy, jealousy or deliberate acts, is greater than you, that is the reason you conspired to attack her the way you did. Bear it in mind that your pain is worse than hers because she will come out strong but you are the pathetic loser.

I stumbled on the E R=O: formula by Jennifer Webb (2018) which makes a lot of sense to me. It simply means that any Event we have no control over, plus our Response, which we have every control over, has everything to do with the Outcome. Your response is all that matters in every situation you find yourself. Resilience enables women to cope with every situation, rebuild themselves and model the attributes of leadership, wherever they are within an organization. 

When the world turns against you, remember the woman you are made of, rekindle your confidence, ignite the fire in you and move past your worse situation to the height of your potentials. You are a strong and resilient woman. Tell yourself that you can overcome and you have come to conquer and not to be conquered.

When the world stands up against you:

Be strong enough to stand alone, confident to face the world, courageous to fight the battle, optimistic to win the battle. Do not allow anyone define you, define yourself, let your words and actions clearly define that strong woman that you are. Michelle Obama once said, “Don’t let anyone speak for you, and don’t rely on others to fight for you.”  

Like the tea bag that you are, when you are in hot water (trouble, tribulation) show your true colour, your strength, your might and power to resonate your true self, a resilient woman. When you are knocked down, rise up, stand strong and move on.

I love Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ song, particularly the verse that says:

So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong, and you’ll finally see the truth, that the hero lies in you.

A resilient woman is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. (Proverbs 31:25) because she is fearfully and wonderfully made by her creator. You have been assured in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When people strike you or pull you down, stand on your feet, overcome and move on, praising God, who is your shield, provider, and protector. Your persecutors will look at you and wonder how you are able to overcome your trials and still serve God. Above all be cheerful, in all circumstances, the evil plotters will be afraid of you because you serve a God who answereth by fire. As a faithful child of God, you share in the divinity and triumph of Christ. It is very difficult to completely beat a person who never gives up, in the end, you end up hurting yourself for even attempting to hurt a resilient woman, she will definitely disappoint you. Like Robbert Scheller said: tough times never last, but tough people do”.

To be resilient, women must learn to focus on Jesus who is the source and goal of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2-3). Do not be anxious about anything, instead in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell God your problems. (Philippians 4:6).


Cate Swannel & Med J. Aust, (2020). “Women more frail but more resilient than men.” Sourced from www.mja.com.au

Jennifer Webb (2018). “The Power of Resilience: A Must for Successful Women” in AMA, American Management Association Journal online. Sourced from www.amanet.org 

Kendra Cherry (2021). “What is Resilience?” sourced from www.verywellmind.com

Psychology Discussion: (2021). “Locus of Control: Meaning, Types and Influence/Psychology.” Sourced from www.psychologydiscussion.net 

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