Develop Resilience & a Strong Fitness Career

Written by Coryn Littler

March 11, 2020


Author: Kristine Beissner
Fitness Institute’s National Training & Compliance Co-ordinator

We see the word Resilience quite a lot these days….. But what is it exactly?

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and/or toughness. It’s also considered to be the ability to return to original shape after being bent, stretched or pressed – whichever applies to your particular situation I guess…

Being resilient doesn’t stop bad things happening, it’s sort of like how a healthy immune system can’t stop us being infected……it just helps us recover and bounce back faster.

Being an extension of an earlier blog, Where can a Career in Fitness take you?, I initially drew on my own experiences in the fitness industry when I started to write about resilience as to be honest, I didn’t even realise career resilience was a “thing”, until I started researching…

Career Resilience is a term used to describe the ability to accept changes in work structure, embrace solving problems and overcome setbacks, so you’re better equipped to get back up, dust yourself off and move on after being hit with something that knocks you off our feet….

Remember – a career is not the same as a job. By definition, a career is “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life, with opportunities for progress.”

Researching this subject, I found there’s a common thread to developing career resilience which I’ve put into categories (in no particular order), with some links to a range of articles to help explain more:

  • Personal Development – discovering the power of life-long learning, including self-reflection, big picture thinking, personal branding, coping mechanisms as well as your strengths and purpose
  • Professional Development – of whatever skills you need to make a living (now defined as hard and soft skills) as well as your people networks
  • Mindset – specifically the ability to focus, be courageous, take charge, be responsible, persevere, accept change and develop what is described as an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Health – looking after yourself physically, emotionally and mindfully

Why do I believe developing Career Resilience is worth checking into?

In thinking about my own career, I didn’t start out with an intention to develop resilience. I will say though, when I looked at the tips on how to develop it, I found myself saying “yep … yep and oh yeah, that’s so true”.

I realised quite early in my career that my enjoyment of what I was doing was directly related to the ability to learn and achieve things in the role.

For me it was (and still is) a confidence thing…. I found through trial and error that learning how to learn is essential to building self-belief (for those of us not born confident).

And it’s a pathway to accepting opportunities you may otherwise feel unprepared for.

My transition to my current role in compliance, training and assessment followed the same path as how I became a gym and group instructor – a natural extension of what I was already doing (along with the confidence to say, “yes – I’ll give it my best shot.”)

One of my earliest memories of this was when I was working as a receptionist at a fitness centre in the late 80’s. An instructor didn’t show up to teach one day, so I literally jumped in. Was it the best class? I doubt it, but it showed me I could do it.

Ultimately, and with knowledge and experience, I ended up feeling like I could do anything I wanted to do.

By understanding this link between learning and feeling content in my life and career, I’ve been careful to ensure I’m always learning something new in my spare time to guard against boredom and restlessness. I’ve made a hobby out of learning and it’s become something I really enjoy.

My advice, with a few years behind me now….

Before going further, I feel it’s important to say that what works for one person’s set of circumstances will not suit everybody. My experiences and thoughts for example are unique to me and my personal and professional situation. Decisions I’ve made and perspectives I’ve formed, would not work for others.

Which is why personal development is so important.

The first thing I recommend is thinking about what YOU want to do. Develop a set of career guidelines and include your personal values along with a list of what you can and just can’t do….

I’m not saying you should only expect to be paid for work you enjoy doing, because all jobs have a mix of things we like and stuff we’d prefer not to do…. But knowing where you shine (your strengths) and where you don’t, helps to stay focused on where you’ll naturally excel and what you’ll need to work on to ensure certain traits or habits don’t limit you.

Think of the outcome more than the process. Cleaning, maintenance, grooming and paperwork may not the most exciting things to do, but they’re a means to an end if you’re proud of where you work, what you do, leaving a good, lasting impression and providing memorable service experiences…

Consider taking paid or unpaid opportunities that align with your goals or get you excited – either that or spend time preparing as if an opportunity is just around the corner….

Treat what you’re doing as if your success and the success of the task or business are one and the same. Because it is….

Reflect on your successes and misfires (what worked, what didn’t), as well as listen to the experiences of others and try really, really hard to learn from them and take the best away with you…. Asking yourself what you would have done in the same situation can be a really helpful exercise in developing reflective skills and empathy

Accept and enjoy the necessity of setting and achieving targets as well as learning new ways to do things and seeing others look good and succeeding…

Devote time to professional development and update quals so you can be ready for the next opportunity, stay in step with industry requirements and meet the expectations of others who rely on you….

And Ditch the Excuses! 

If you’re keen to learn more about the difference between a reason and an excuse, check out my blog post  – What’s Holding YOU Back – HERE…. 

So in answer to that question: where can a career in fitness take you?

Ummmmm, let’s just say….lots and lots of interesting and rewarding directions….

It won’t be easy and people won’t always want what you’re selling, but if you’ve got a career plan in place and a resilient nature, you’ll be able to withstand lots of pressure, develop endurance and come back from the challenges you’ll face stronger than ever before….

You can see some of my career highlights extending back three decades HERE.

The following links about developing career resilience are not an exhaustive list, but I did find them interesting and they did have me saying, “yep, yep and yeah….so true.” – Enjoy!

Developing Career Resilience while in Career Transition 

Build your Career Resilience 

Key Steps for Career Resilience 

Career Resilience 

interested in becoming