3 tips for lawyers to help build your personal and professional resilience

By Governance Institute of Australia|26 June 2019

Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia.

Say yes and figure out “the how” later — just one of the inspiring tips from The Academy of Resilience’s CEO, Stacey Copas.

The Governance Institute’s Governance and Risk Management Forum series took place across the country, and one of the key themes was resilience. A particular highlight from the Sydney event was Stacey Copas’ keynote address. We’ve recapped her tips, and every lawyer can learn from her inspiring journey and challenge how they think about resilience.

“Resilience is a growth strategy and skill: It’s not just coping or bouncing back. It’s thriving, not surviving —‘growing’ through circumstance instead of ‘going’ through it,” Stacey Copas told the audience in Sydney.

1. Make resilience a habit

Resilience is a skill that can be learned like any other. We go to the gym to build physical strength, and we can do the same to build our resilience. Much like your physical strength, if you don’t use it, you can lose it.

Gratitude goes a long way. Think about how you show up every day. Thank the world for the opportunity to be:

  • the person you are;
  • in the legal role you’re in;
  • where you are;
  • who you’re with.

Treat each task like it’s the first time you’ve had the opportunity to do it— whether you’re a budding associate or experienced partner.

2. Think about the impact of your words

Your words can build up, or tear down, whoever is on the receiving end. Some of the most negative conversations you can have are in our own mind.

So before you talk to yourself (we all do it) or someone else, think about how you can frame your words more positively.

For example, when someone asks how you’re going, it can be easy to default to your negative emotions such as tired or stressed— particularly in your industry. Instead, think about what’s going well. And when someone’s talking to you, be intentional — stop and listen to what they have to say.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel rubbish from time to time, but try not to stay in the negativity. Keep moving and learn from it.

From an organisational viewpoint, you want positivity to be contagious. So stamp out negativity, gossip and rumour —it’s toxic and can spread like wildfire.

3. Say yes and figure out ‘the how’ later

Copas believes we all hold ourselves back too often, but being scared can move us from our complacency. Say yes to things that daunt you and commit yourself to giving it 100%. Even if you struggle, you have made a choice to challenge yourself, and that’s a form of improvement.

All you need the destination and the first step. You can map your journey from there.


If you’re kicking yourself for missing this event, don’t fret. Our biggest governance event of the year —Governance Institute National Conference takes place 2-3 September in Sydney. Join us for a variety of interactive sessions, workshops and Q&As — jam packed with national and international insights to challenge your thinking on the critical issues that will influence governance and risk management best practice in the coming years.

Find out more at GovernanceConference.com.au

About us

With a membership of over 7,500 company secretaries, governance leaders and risk managers from some of Australia’s largest organisations, Governance Institute of Australia is the only fully independent professional association with a sole focus on governance excellence. For 110 years, our education, research, advocacy, and support networks have provided cutting edge governance and risk management advice to Australian business leaders from all walks of life. We celebrate Australia’s successes and challenge it to be even better. Learn more

3 tips for lawyers to help build your personal and professional resilience
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