What Is Resilience?

Actress Mary Pickford once said, “This thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Whether in work or personal life, resilience is one of the most important and beneficial traits a person can have. Overcoming obstacles, standing up to naysayers, and moving forward when the going gets tough requires a ton of grit and perseverance. And though we often speak about the importance of resilience, defining how it looks in daily life can be tricky. Let’s take a look at how the motivation to keep moving can play a part at work, with your friends, or at home with the family.


Resilience at Work

Though it can be extremely rewarding, the professional world is equally full of challenges and obstacles. A study performed by the American Institute of Stress found that 40% of workers said their jobs were very or extremely stressful. This stress can come from a variety of sources, but research from the staffing firm Accountemps revealed 33% of workplace anxiety is caused by heavy workloads and difficult deadlines, with struggling for work-life balance (22%), and unrealistic expectations from management (22%) not far behind. Beyond these consistent factors are difficult professional events that are isolated, such as:

  • Layoffs
  • Arguments with coworkers
  • Missing out on promotions
  • Relocation
  • Negative feedback from managers


Resilience in a workplace means learning to tune out these frustrations. Throughout your career, you will undoubtedly encounter one, if not many, of these instances.  A resilient individual uses these moments as a chance to move forward in a positive way. Consider journaling your progress in a position, and review your entries regularly to remind yourself just how far you’ve come. You may also consider asking for more frequent discussions with a manager or executive. Though it might be frightening to do so, a proactive approach can often prevent future problems.


Resilience with Friends

Our social circle is more than a list of folks who will help us move, or head to the local bar for our birthday. The connections we forge define us and enrich our lives for the better. In fact, a study done at Michigan State University found people who reported having supportive and good friendships had fewer chronic illnesses, as well as reduced stress and boosted overall emotional states. But how do we define “good friends?” One important way is through resilience.


People want to be around people who care, plain and simple. We strive to feel supported, to know that our emotions or experiences matter to our friends. When a companion is going through a difficult time, the best thing you can do let them know you’re there. Offer to cook them a meal, take them out for the night, or just listen while they vent. This will help them work through their emotions.  Your resilience may just rub off on them and help them pull themselves up, too.


Resilience with Family

Dr. Froma Walsh, a top research authority on family resilience, defines it as the ability to “withstand and rebound from disruptive life challenges, strengthened and more resourceful.” Certainly, all families are different, but Dr. Walsh’s studies helped her break down resilient family dynamics into the categories of beliefs, organization, and communication


  • Beliefs – sometimes tied to spirituality, help family members find meaning and encourage a positive outlook.
  • An organization can foster mutual support and connectedness, allow for flexibility and creates social networks
  • Communication is open and clear, allows for the expression of emotions and opinions, and is used in problem-solving


Resilient families provide a safe space for all members. It should be a healthy and welcoming environment, and one built on give-and-take. Just the same as you can go to a sibling or a parent for advice, you too need to offer a shoulder, an ear and helping hand.


Resilience is one of Alpha Kappa Psi’s most important core competencies. Life is full of wonderful and exciting opportunities, but in order to reap the benefits, we must first be able to push through the less-fun and more difficult moments. Whether it’s in the workplace, with a group of friends, or in a family meeting, resilience can help you uncover the true happiness and reward of life.

A Letter From the President

Welcome Back to an Exciting Year!

Since our founding in 1904, Alpha Kappa Psi has been growing and evolving to provide our members with a professional advantage in the workplace and in life. The Fraternity is continuing to develop new and improved programming in support of our Strategic Plan, focused on the “AKPsi Membership Experience,” from pledge to student brother to alumnus. 

Last year, Alpha Kappa Psi accomplished a lot:

  • We officially retired the Annual Chapter Report and launched the Chapter Success Plan, with a 95% completion rate of submissions going into Fall 2018!
  • The pledge education pilot, LEAD, ended, and based on the feedback from our approximately 40 pilot chapters, we’re formally launching the Bridge to Brotherhood this Fall! The Bridge to Brotherhood will be rolling out to Area I, Area IV, and many volunteering chapters in Areas II and III in the next few days. The majority of Areas II and III will transition in Fall 2019.
  • The Management Team created the Fraternity’s first Strategic Advisory Councils, one each for Students, Alumni, and Volunteers.  The Strategic Advisory Councils are already working to provide feedback on potential programming and the implementation of existing products.
  • We chartered two new student chapters, Chi Delta (St. Joseph’s University, Pennsylvania), and Chi Gamma (University of California – Santa Cruz, California.)

While 2017-18 was a year of significant accomplishment, we’re not slowing down this year.  Be on the lookout for updates to the awards program, the Chapter Achievement Pathway, PBLI programming,  the 60th Alpha Kappa Psi Convention in Dallas, TX next summer, and nothing short of a revolution in the technology that supports our programs and members. 

As we all go into the 2018-2019 academic year, remember what makes Alpha Kappa Psi special: the nearly 114-year old brotherhood and the bond we share in our continuous quest to make not just the world of business, but the world of mankind, a better place.  Thank you for your hard work last year in keeping Alpha Kappa Psi as the Premier Developer of Principled Business Leaders, and good luck with the upcoming academic year!


Michael G. Dickerson

Fraternity President