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If 2020 taught us anything, it is that emotional intelligence and personal resilience are skills we need to continue to develop.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of and control one’s emotions, and handle business and interpersonal relationships with empathy and professionalism. Resilience is the ability to continue being productive in different and challenging situations.

Both emotional intelligence and resilience are obvious health and wellness skills we need to implement more actively in our lives. But they are also exactly what is needed to improve the bottom line of the organizations where we work, as well as protecting our jobs and boosting the economy.

Author John Dabell indicates resilient workers demonstrate seven skills: Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping and Control. “Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis [or a pandemic] to spur renewal and innovative thinking,” according to Dabell.

What he is describing is how to improve our ability to stay productive and interact with others in a professional way despite circumstances out of our control. So how do we more confidently demonstrate competence and stay productive despite unexpected situations?

Each morning as I drop my kids off for school, I ask “How can you make it a great day?” They know that the only answer to my question is, “Attitude and effort, Dad.” My reply is, “Correct. Smile and work hard.”

If you show up on time with a smile and work hard, good things happen, and you’ll make great strides in strengthening your resilience. All aspects of resilience can be improved or more deeply developed with a good attitude and lots of hard work.

I started a new job in April 2020, and while COVID-19 had already disrupted normal life, I had no idea that the entire year would turn out how it did. 2020 has certainly changed the lens of how we view and approach the world. While I cannot see the future, one thing I know, we are not going backwards. Forward together towards a bright future—one that we determine through hard work, staying united and being more resilient.

Even while facing the challenges of 2020, and perhaps because of them, we are now better prepared to forge ahead with courageous optimism and determination to face 2021 with purpose. But that can be harder if you don’t have a plan. That is why my organization updated our Strategic Plan, titled 2021TEAM, which focuses on our commitment to serving our members by enhancing tools, education, advocacy and member services to move forward to remain relevant in the marketplace.

I know that a renewed focus on our company mission and 2021TEAM, staying united and showing up to work with a smile and working hard that there is nothing that we cannot do. With a renewed determination to be resilient and exercise emotional intelligence, we will succeed.

Let’s do this.