By: VALORIE BURTON

Today, scientific research is proving what ancient Scripture has known all along: Successful women think differently than the average woman. They make decisions differently, set goals differently, and bounce back from failure and adversity differently. Their thought process empowers them to produce the results they want — in their relationships, finances, work, health, and spiritual lives. I’ve been so intrigued by this topic that I interviewed successful women from all walks of life, just like you — from women in ministry to female CEOs.

Consider these five traits that are characteristics of resilient women. You, too, can apply them — and change your life by changing the way you think!

1They are not afraid of failure.
Resilient women are at peace with who they are. Perhaps it's because their mistakes have humbled them, or life experiences have helped them accept their own vulnerability. Whatever the reason, resilient women don’t let imperfections hinder them. They don’t think failing means being a “failure.” They learn as they go, and make corrections that lead to positive outcomes.

2They are flexible thinkers.
Even if they occasionally struggle with negative thoughts, resilient women notice when their thinking is counterproductive. They don’t fall into destructive patterns of thinking; such as jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. Instead, they gather the facts needed to move around obstacles, and confront challenges head on. If something isn’t working, they make adjustments until it works. They also focus on what's within their control, and exercise that control. For example: When they get passed over for a professional promotion or ministerial opportunity, they don't allow bitterness to take over. Instead, they find the “grain of truth” in the evaluator's negative review, and make improvements.

3They are (mostly) optimistic.
It’s hard to bounce back from setbacks when you see every obstacle as the end of the world! Research shows that optimists live as much as nine years longer than pessimists. So, seeing the bright side is good for your health and longevity. But being optimistic goes beyond “positive thinking”; it is deeply rooted in faith (“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1, King James Bible). As a result, in order to be optimistic, we must believe that something good is possible — even as we prepare to withstand a storm. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it,” (New International Version). Resilient women see risks, and take precautions to prevent problems. In addition, when faced with a challenge, resilient women are more likely to say, “I can get through this.” The average woman does the opposite. She allows setbacks and disappointments to discourage her. Eventually, she stops hoping for something better. And when you stop hoping, you start settling.

4They reach out.
Resilient women don’t go it alone. They have friends, and are not too proud to ask for help. When faced with a stressful situation, just knowing you have support can alleviate some pressure. Iron sharpens iron, so strengthen your relationships. They will make you stronger.

5They use their strengths.
During challenging moments, resilient women don't waste time assessing what they don't have. Instead, they put to work the strengths that they do have. Therefore, when faced with a difficult situation, tap into the power of your strengths. God has given each of us natural talents, so don't overlook or underutilize yours. c


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