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Hardiness Blog

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

  • Anonymous

Lemons into Lemonade

har·di·ness       /ˈhärdēnəs/


  1. the ability to endure difficult conditions.

The clinical definition today for hardiness is – a personality trait that is associated with a person’s ability to manage and respond to stressful life events with coping strategies that turn potentially unfortunate circumstances into learning opportunities.

Hardiness is characterized by a tendency to be deeply involved, a need to be in control, and a desire to learn from life’s events regardless of the outcomes.  Generally, three characteristics further define a person with hardiness.

Commitment – the ability to believe in the truth, importance, and interest value of who you are and what you are doing—which results in a tendency to be fully involve in the many aspects of life, including work, family, and interpersonal relationships.

Control – the propensity to believe and act as if you can influence the course of events in your life. This involves the possession of a coping repertoire that enables you to work effectively on your own.  A person in control can interpret and incorporate various life experiences and transform them into something manageable and beneficial.

Challenge – the belief that change, rather than sameness or predictability, is the norm. These people are more likely to thrive under the circumstances of a new challenge or opportunity brought about by a new endeavor.

Hardy Leaders

Hardy leaders have a strong sense of life and work commitment, a greater feeling of control, and are more open to change and challenges in life.

While not immune to the ill-effects of stress, someone who is very hardy is powerfully resilient. They tend to interpret stressful and painful experiences as a regular aspect of existence, part of life that is overall interesting and worthwhile.

Business owners and entrepreneurs need to understand that developing hardiness as a leader and encouraging a hardy workplace sets the stage for success.

Here are four ways leaders can develop hardiness for themselves and within their teams.

  1. Practice demonstrating a strong sense of commitment, control, and challenge when responding to stressful circumstances. Stress can be valuable, and stressful events always provide the opportunity to learn and grow.
  2. Learn to discuss mistakes and failures in a positive way. Leaders build resilience by setting high standards while addressing shortfalls and failures as opportunities to learn and improve.
  3. Provide opportunities for constructive performance feedback on a fairly regular basis. Ensure you have the right team members who welcome feedback and are eager to take constructive measures when needed.
  4. Provide opportunities for socializing and interacting on the job and outside of work. Sponsor offsite team activities such as sports competitions, community, and charity benefit projects, and educational or professional development trips. These also serve to build organizational cohesion and social commitment.

The Bible

The Bible is a story of hardy people.  Many in the Bible suffered extreme hardship, yet in the end, appear to have weathered their circumstances and succeeded.

  • Joseph was sold into slavery but eventually became the manager of the entire Egyptian empire.
  • Moses fled Egypt only to return to save the Israelites.
  • David was persecuted by King Saul yet eventually became king, not by overthrowing King Saul but by living with integrity.
  • And the Apostle Paul, who was originally a persecutor of the Christians, but converted to become a missionary for Jesus.

While all these people appear to be hardy, their common denominator is their faith and trust in God.

And the same is true for hardy leaders of today.  We can develop characteristics that allow us to turn lemons into lemonade. Still, ultimately it will be a power higher than ourselves that will force us to use our hardiness to lead our business.