WorkVine: What Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Resilience


WorkVine: The Quirks of Work! addresses the lighter side of the workplace, with fun topics to help you get through the workday. Look for future WorkVine posts from Robert Half.

Does workplace stress have you all worked up? Feel close to blowing a fit like King Joffrey in Game of Thrones?

The hit HBO show can actually teach us a lot about stress management in the workplace. Rather than losing control, follow the lead of the Sansa Stark — a master of the art of resilience.

Don’t catastrophize.

Sansa seems to meet misfortune at every turn: Not only did she watch her father get beheaded, but she lost her mother and a brother at The Red Wedding. If she manages to keep it together, so can you when you're faced with a tight deadline or interpersonal conflict. Don’t let yourself turn a small obstacle into a momentous disaster.

While your workplace probably doesn’t embody the don’t-look-at-the-king-the-wrong-way-or-he’ll-kill-you culture of Westeros, you can learn to practice resilience by taking each conflict at the office in stride by discussing the problem objectively and deciding how to solve it.

Look for the good.

Speaking of stressful situations: Sansa came face-to-face with The Hound, the grossly disfigured character feared by all. Rather than showing fear or disgust, “Little Bird” connected with him through kindness. Since that encounter, he has come to her assistance time and again.

Sansa looks for the good in a less-than-ideal situation. Life has a way of bringing us face-to-face with our own Hounds, even at work. You might get scolded for making a mistake with a report or get passed over for a promotion. But looking on the bright side of things is essential for building resilience and managing stress.

Stay calm.

During the Battle of the Blackwater, Sansa keeps her cool and encourages the other women and children with optimism and strength. And even when she was forced to marry Tyrion, Sansa realized that her survival depended on being courteous to the royals, so she played the part peacefully and skillfully. Quelling negative emotions and staying calm while solving problems is the epitome of resilience.

You have only so much control over your work environment. When issues arise, put those Sansa-like skills of resilience into practice and you’ll emerge as a more valuable member of the team.

WorkVine: The Quirks of Work! takes a look at the lighter side of the workplace. If you have ideas or suggestions for future topics, share them in the comments below.

Tags: Workplace