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Neil Seligman

The Conscious Professional


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Top 10 Characteristics of Resilient Professionals


In this article, Neil Seligman, Founder of The Conscious Professional shares his experience of teaching resilience to corporate clients:

There are many aspects of life that fall outside of our control. Our daily experience delivers the unexpected, the unwanted, the fun, the challenging and the joyful.

Attempting to control the world is always going to be futile. Yet there is one common factor within the ever-changing Universe that you can rely upon. You.

You are always at choice as to how you respond to any situation, event or person. It is a skill that can be taught, practiced and learnt. That skill is Professional Resilience.

Here at The Conscious Professional we teach Professional Resilience to top UK law firms such as Pinsent Masons LLP and we think the top ten characteristics of resilient professionals are these:

1          CONFIDENT

Resilient professionals feel comfortable in their own skin and give themselves permission to take appropriate risks.  They are able to receive compliments and praise as well as welcome constructive criticism and learn from it.  Whilst they are generally ‘can do’ in their nature, they are able to say no very clearly when appropriate.  They have also mastered balancing their own needs with the needs of others and speak and act assertively when necessary.

2          ADAPTABLE

Resilient professionals are mentally and emotionally flexible and are comfortable with contradictory personality qualities in themselves and others. They can be both strong and gentle, sensitive and tough, logical and intuitive, calm and emotional, serious and playful etc. They can also think in negative ways to reach positive outcomes. "What could go wrong, so it can be avoided?"


Resilient professionals have an authentic relationship with their emotions.  They do not let their emotions control their behaviour, they use appropriate means and language when expressing emotion.  Above all, they are responsive rather than reactive.

4          SOCIAL

Unsurprisingly research shows that people working in tough jobs are more stress-resistant and less likely to get sick when they have a loving family and good friendships. Talking with friends and family regularly diminishes the impact of difficulties and increases feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.

5          OPTIMISTIC

Resilient professional will find a way of seeing that the glass is half full as they know that the biggest setbacks often bring the greatest breakthroughs and learning opportunities.  They don’t enjoy hardship but they find wisdom in the experience.

6          PLAYFUL
Resilient professionals seek the fun in all tasks even when menial or repetitive.  They ask questions, experiment with new ways of working, are not afraid of making mistakes, can laugh at themselves, fall down often and get back up with a smile on their face.

7          INTUITIVE

Resilient professionals trust their gut feeling and go with what feels most true and authentic in situations.  In other words, they honour both the rational and the intuitive.


Resilient professionals have spent time increasing their capacity for empathic listening and compassionate response.  They are able to sense feelings in others and respond appropriately in different situations.  They skillfully navigate between issues and personalities and practice self-compassion when it comes to their own flaws.

9          MINDFUL

Deep resilience comes from having a strong sense of self, nurtured through a practice of mindfulness.  Finding time to engage in contemplation exercises or mindfulness meditation for short periods each day takes resilience to the next level.  Mindfulness will soon be seen as the antidote to employee overwhelm.

10       KAIZEN

Kaizen, denotes a commitment to continuous improvement so that day-by-day you look for ways to increase your wellbeing, happiness, productivity, efficiency and capacity for excellence.  In following this principle resilient professionals can rapidly assimilate new and unexpected experiences.  They reflect on their own performance by asking what they could have done better, what they missed and what they gained.

For a free pdf on our Professional Resilience Course or to contact Neil Seligman about Conscious Executive Coaching please email your request through this link or visit our website:

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Neil Seligman


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