Personal Development

In recent years, the subject of building resilient teams and leaders has worked its way up the corporate agenda, and for good reason too. It’s just a shame it took a global pandemic and international change in working ways to shine a light on what we believe to be an essential personal, team and leadership skill. Yes, a skill – learnable and accessible to all (even though it might not always feel like it).

In this blog we aim to give you some basic information on how you can develop your own personal resilience. To do this, we will cover what resilience is, how our ability to be resilient can be affected, and some simple steps we can take to build our own personal resilience.

Resilience is the degree to which someone recovers from, or adapts well to, misfortune or change. It is about how someone bounces back from difficulties, challenges and change in order to lead a fulfilling life.

Researchers have found that some people are innately more resilient and able to quickly get back to normal after difficult experiences. They don't take long at all to adapt, whereas others may find it much harder. Researchers have also identified that resilience is a completely learnable skill that can be made accessible to those who couldn’t have even imagined it with the right encouragement, tools and techniques.

Resilience is about more than just recovering from a tragedy or difficult experience; it's about how we deal with the challenges and difficulties that life throws at us every day. These challenges include not only big issues like the pandemic, but also the little things that can hit us just as hard. For example, a piece of feedback, missed deadline or negative working relationship – you know what I mean... the moment ‘that’ person's number pops up on your phone or their email drops into your inbox. 

Resilience researchers accept that not everyone will adapt equally well to life's challenges, but they work on the assumption that everyone can learn to adapt better. They have found that people who are more resilient tend to do certain things. These 'resilience factors' can help you develop your own resilience. By working on them, you too can create a resilient mindset ready to take on the world.

We humans are complex creatures and managing our inner batteries to maintain resilience can be challenging. To help us understand how best we can achieve this, resilience can be broken down into four primary dimensions that all overlap, and work in synchrony.

The four dimensions of resilience; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual underpin the depth of resilient behaviour in an individual.

Physical Resilience.

Physical resilience is about your endurance, flexibility, strength and fitness. You can develop physical resilience by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.

Emotional Resilience.

Emotional resilience is about being able to cope with stress and adversity. It's about having the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges. You can develop emotional resilience by practicing self-care and setting boundaries. Emotional resilience also includes social interaction, such as having a strong network, good friends and healthy family relationships.

Mental Resilience.

Mental resilience is about being able to stay calm and focused in the face of adversity. It's about having the ability to problem-solve and make decisions in a clear-headed way. You can develop mental resilience by learning new things, from languages and cooking, to chess or musical instruments. Practicing mindfulness or meditation also helps cultivate a positive mindset, and helps you learn to manage stress more effectively.

Spiritual Resilience.

Spiritual resilience is about having a sense of meaning and purpose in life and being connected to something far greater than yourself. This could be a religion, nature, or connecting deeply with your personal values. It's about having the ability to find hope and inspiration even in difficult times. You can develop spiritual resilience by connecting with your core purpose, writing mission statements, practising abundance, cultivating gratitude, and seeking out spiritual support.

Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience - ensuring we have a reservoir of emotional strength when hard things happen

- Brene Brown

Ten areas of focus that will help to foster resilience.

1. Self-belief:

Research suggests that people who don’t underestimate their own ability tend to deal better with tough times. Resilient people acknowledge their weaknesses and keep them in perspective, but they also recognise and celebrate their strengths.

Problem-solving skills:

Resilient people can be objective and are good at seeing problems as challenges, rather than threats. They know how to handle unexpected situations because they develop practical ways of solving problems when they appear.

3. Optimistic outlook:

Resilient people tend to be more optimistic about the future, even when they have problems. They see problems as temporary and are confident that things will get better if they put in the effort.

4. Social support network:

Resilient people have friends or family members who can provide practical help, encouragement and emotional support if something goes wrong. This social support is very important in helping people bounce back from problems and difficulties.

5. Self-esteem:

Resilient people like themselves, whatever their abilities or achievements. They also have a realistic idea of what they can and cannot do well. Knowing their limits, they don't put themselves under too much pressure and avoid taking on more than they can manage successfully.

6. Problem-focused coping:

Resilient people see their problems as 'gifts' that they have the chance to solve or improve. They focus on the problem and find ways of dealing with it effectively. They don't waste time worrying about the problem or feeling afraid, guilty or ashamed.

7. Emotion-focused coping:

Resilient people accept difficult feelings and don't get too upset about them. They find ways of dealing with their unhappiness or low mood that help them to feel better in the long term.

8. Hope for the future:

Resilient people work hard to achieve their goals and have a clear idea of what they want to do. They are very good at setting themselves even bigger challenges, which helps them to keep going when things get tough.

9. A sense of purpose:

Resilient people have a sense of direction and meaning in life. They feel that their life is important and can see the value in their day-to-day activities.

10. Self-care:

Resilient people stay active. They walk, run, cycle and do sports that raise the heart rate. They fuel themselves with water and a good diet and create an environment where sleep can take place.

No one can predict the future, but everyone can take these steps to ensure that they are prepared for whatever comes their way. Building resilience is about developing those four dimensions of toughness – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It's also about having a philosophy of managing energy. When you have both of these in place, you are better able to maintain and support your resilience during difficult times.

Remember, it's not about being invincible – it's about being prepared for whatever comes your way. You never know what might happen next, so take some time to build your own resilience, and you'll be ready next time adversity strikes.

At Unify we work with teams and leaders to create resilience. For more information on how to improve the resilience of your teams please get in touch with us. The only way is UP with Unify Partnership!

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James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)



Our areas of specialism.


  • Self-awareness

  • Resilience

  • Personal Development

  • Change

  • Decision making

  • Growth mindset

Team development.

  • Hybrid team working

  • Communication

  • Meetings

  • Feedback

  • Collaboration

  • Trust

Leadership development.

  • Leadership styles

  • Psychological safety

  • Leading change

  • Mission, vision, values

  • Culture

  • Mentoring