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How to be resilient

In the pharmaceutical industry, resilience isn’t just important: it’s critical.

On average it takes ten years to bring a new drug to market. Often, that timeframe is significantly longer. And along the way we face setbacks, uncertainties, challenges, and many times, failures.

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Whoever you are, whatever your role or industry, you can probably identify with this in some way. Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and demands upon them. In the current COVID-19 crisis, the need for it has been highlighted. However, it is not a trait that you are born with like a gift for music or natural athleticism: it’s an active process, defined by psychologists as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity.

Throughout our careers, we all require resilience in order to effectively do our jobs, be productive, and stretch ourselves to develop and progress. So, as a process rather than a trait, can you learn to be resilient? And how would building your resilience help you to achieve more?

At Pfizer we place great emphasis on resilience not just because it is so integral to the work that we do, but because we see it as a skill that brings every one of our values (Courage, Excellence, Equity, and Joy) to life. Without resilience, we would never progress – as a business, or as individuals.

But how do you build your resilience? Here are three tips to help:


1. Find the positives

First, know that nothing is perfect. You will always face challenges, and once you accept that you will give yourself permission not to get discouraged when this happens. To think positively, remind yourself of your motivation – the goals that you are working towards, and why they matter. Assess the situation in that context and you will likely feel capable of finding a solution, but also determined to do so.


2. Be agile

Sometimes obstacles feel insurmountable. You might need to see things from a different perspective or approach them in a different manner to find a way through. Resilience means having that adaptability. And if you can’t see things from an alternative angle, ask someone else what they think. An external and fresh opinion can give you that clarity. It’s a positive reflection of your own resilience to know when you require that input.


3. Have compassion

Equity is one of our values at Pfizer because we know the power of inclusiveness. An inclusive culture means identifying the different needs and feelings of others – your colleagues, but also yourself. So, show compassion for yourself and try not to become frustrated when you are struggling. Extend that compassion to those around you, because a culture of inclusiveness will help to foster a culture of resilience.


As a final note, take a moment to consider any of your greatest achievements in life. In every instance there were no doubt challenges that you faced. Never forget that you can find a way – and you will.