Do you have the resilience to win an Oscar?

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As we continue to immerse ourselves in Awards season we should, perhaps, reflect on what makes some actors, musicians and entertainers persevere in these highly competitive industries to achieve success.

Performing is a serious business. It’s easy to forget that amidst the tearful acceptance speeches and red-carpet glamour that characterise the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Brits and next week’s Academy Awards. Winners and nominees may be at the pinnacle of their careers but getting there can take a lot of hard work and resilience, not to mention talent. BAFTA and Golden Globe Best Actor winner Gary Oldman, star of wartime drama Darkest Hour, has enjoyed a glittering career despite difficulties in his private life, while co-star Kristin Scott Thomas has battled depression, family loss and professional rejection over the years.  With no clear-cut path to success in the industry, the occupational stress associated with job insecurity and professional criticism requires a certain strength of character.

So, is it resilience that makes some people able to pick themselves and ‘go again’ when faced with challenges?  Resilient people certainly have innately strong resources that help them to deal with pressure and bounce back from setbacks.  Ideal qualities in the Performing Arts where rejection happens all too often. However, although unique in context, persistence in pursuit of career aspirations and more generally an ability to overcome challenges at work extends beyond Acting, and is invaluable in a range of other careers.  So, what are the key traits of a person who is resilient at work?

Resilient professionals feel comfortable in their own skin and have a strong sense of self.  Even if they don’t have all the skills and knowledge required to overcome a problem, they are confident in their abilities and resourcefulness to acquire what they need.  Whilst generally ‘can do’ by nature, they are able to say ‘no’ very clearly when appropriate.  They can also deal positively with criticism and rejection, something that those in the entertainment business contend with on a regular basis.

Mental and emotional flexibility helps resilient professionals deal with the volume of tasks, interactions and information that make up the working day.  They are creative, adaptable people who are able to improvise when needed.


Resilient professionals can manage their emotions without becoming overwhelmed.  This makes them responsive rather than reactive when relating to others and less likely to be deflected by circumstances.  It also generally means they experience a lower level of anxiety.


A level of realistic perseverance is a key trait of resilient people.  They will stick at something despite setbacks but won’t blindly continue to follow a plan that isn’t working; that’s where their adaptability comes in.

Resilient people both seek and give support.  They surround themselves with a strong network of individuals both in and outside of work to provide support and assistance, to offset the impact of difficulties and help boost their feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.

Great fun to work with, resilient professionals find the fun in all tasks even menial or repetitive ones.  They ask questions, experiment with new ways of doing things, are not afraid of making mistakes and can laugh at themselves. Plus, optimism is infectious!

At Work Psychology Group (WPG) one of our areas of expertise is in supporting organisations to help employees develop these qualities and strengthen overall resilience.  We do this in a number of ways, including video-based scenario assessments where people can explore their response to challenging work-related scenarios and then reflect upon their approach.  Individuals receive personalised feedback on their responses, providing further insight and suggestions for continuing to build their personal resilience resources.  Although we can’t guarantee any Academy Awards!

Click here for more information or to contact WPG.

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