Friday, April 7, 2017

Learning Bursts Part Three: Resilience

We all know someone who we would describe as resilient. A family member who has overcome a challenge, a friend who consistently pushes through difficult situations, or that coworker who always seems to focus on the positives. Although resilience is easy to recognize, it’s not always easy to put into practice. In the third Learning Burst in our four-part series at Peirce College, Beneficial Bank, we discussed exactly that: how to be resilient in the workplace.

Career Development Services Lesson on Staying Resilient
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Finding practical and effective ways to “bounce back” from stressful situations is critical to your professional success and your overall health. So how do you do it?

To help Beneficial employees build their resiliency muscle, Peirce College brought in expert facilitators Cathy Littlefield, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services.

Littlefield began by defining resiliency as the ability to deal with adverse situations in positive and creative ways. She emphasized the importance of transforming challenges into opportunities and absorbing the reality of a setback with minimal mental and physical cost to yourself.

According to Littlefield, each time a stressor arises you can use “The Resilience Pump” as a tool to get you through.

The Resilience P.U.M.P.
  • P = Pause (detachment breaks)
  • U = Understand (remain fact-based)
  • M = Manage (emotional and mental agility)
  • P = Perspective (think big picture; cultivate compassion)
The more you utilize the techniques above, the more natural these responses will become and the stronger your resiliency muscle will be.

To help illustrate this point, Thompsonowak asked the participants to put these tools to work. Through group activities, personal stories and honest discussions, the attendees discovered the practical uses of these methods and the positive effect they can have on their overall work experience.

Thompsonowak ended by explaining the dangers of deflating thoughts and how they can negatively impact our ability to be resilient. The five most common deflating thoughts that can derail our resiliency are highlighted below.

Deflating Thoughts
  • Focus on Self – “It’s all my fault”
  • Focus on Others – “It’s all his/her fault”
  • Inadequacy – “I’m a terrible, inferior person”
  • Catastrophizing – “It the end of the world. I can’t handle this.”
  • Helplessness – “This is going to ruin my whole life.”
Avoiding the deflating thoughts above gives us the opportunity to be resilient and move past situations in positive, healthy ways.

Littlefield and Thompsonowak will conclude their Learning Burst series next month with a session on Positive Outlook.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008. Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at