The Virtual CISO with Brandy Harris

Leadership & Executive Communication , Professional Certifications & Continuous Training , Training & Security Leadership

Embracing Resilience, Grit and Adaptability in the Workplace

What to Do When a Sudden Change or Loss Challenges These Qualities
Embracing Resilience, Grit and Adaptability in the Workplace
Steve King, managing director,

This blog post is dedicated to Steve King, managing director of, who died on June 27, 2024.

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In the professional world, we see resilience, grit and adaptability as key traits for success. But what happens when these qualities are put to the test? Unexpected events can shake us to our core and in those moments, our ability to persevere and adapt becomes most crucial. Here's how to navigate such challenges, honoring the lessons from those who've guided us along the way.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

When faced with sudden changes or losses, it's important to allow yourself to feel. Suppressing emotions can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Recognize the impact the event has on you and your team. Take a moment to reflect on what you're feeling and understand that it’s a natural response. Create a space for open dialogue within your team. Holding a brief meeting to share thoughts and emotions can foster a supportive environment and help everyone feel connected and understood.

Draw on Inner Strength

Resilience isn't about being unaffected by adversity; it's about bouncing back from it. Reflect on past challenges you've overcome and the strengths you drew upon. This self-awareness can be a powerful tool in navigating current difficulties. Keep a journal of past successes and the strategies you used to achieve them. Reviewing these can boost your confidence and remind you of your capability to handle tough situations.

Cultivate Grit

Grit is having passion and perseverance for long-term goals, especially when they are hard. It's about staying committed even when the journey gets tough. Focus on the bigger picture and the purpose behind your work. This can help you maintain motivation and drive, even when immediate circumstances are challenging. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Celebrate small victories along the way to keep morale high and sustain momentum.

Learn to Adapt

The ability to adapt is essential in an ever-changing workplace. Flexibility in approach and openness to new solutions can turn obstacles into opportunities. Embrace change as a chance to innovate and grow. Encourage a mindset of continuous learning within your team. Offer training sessions or workshops that focus on developing new skills and exploring different ways of thinking.

Lean on Your Support Network

No one should have to face adversity alone. Whether it's made up of colleagues, friends or mentors, a support network can provide invaluable assistance and perspective. Don't hesitate to ask others for advice or to simply talk things through. Foster a culture of collaboration and support in your workplace. Having regular team check-ins and social activities can strengthen bonds and create a sense of community. You don't have to be the leader of the team to show leadership in building community in the face of adversarial circumstances.

Interact with Empathy and Authenticity

In times of difficulty, authentic and empathetic interactions can make a significant difference to your team members. Showing genuine care and concern for your team builds trust and encourages resilience within the group. Practice active listening. Make a point to understand your team's concerns and respond thoughtfully. This not only addresses immediate issues but also strengthens long-term relationships.

Honor the Past as You Build the Future

While we look forward and adapt to new challenges, it's important to honor the legacy of those who have guided us. Their teachings and values can serve as a foundation upon which we build our resilience and adaptability. Subtly integrating their influence into your approach pays homage to their mentorship and also reinforces the strength and continuity of the team.

Resilience, grit and adaptability are not just buzzwords; they are essential traits that help us navigate the unpredictability of life, both personal and professional. By cultivating and embracing these qualities, we honor those who have shaped our journey and continue to inspire our path forward.

To Steve King, a mentor and friend: Thank you for your time and what you taught me, Steve. Honor and on up.

About the Author

Brandy Harris

Brandy Harris

Director, Learning And Organizational Development,

Harris has more than 20 years of experience in education and is dedicated to evolving the cybersecurity workforce. She develops and evaluates cybersecurity programs. Harris promotes diversity and inclusion in cybersecurity by fostering collaboration between industry and academia, aiming to bridge the talent gap and drive positive change. She previously served as assistant dean and faculty member in the graduate cybersecurity program at Grand Canyon University.

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