Developing resilience

Session details 

Date: 29 February 2024

A session on developing resilience in yourself and in others led by organisational developer Hilary Clarke


  • Hilary Clarke, organisational developer, University of Liverpool. 

Session overview

In the fast-paced world of research, adaptability and mental fortitude are crucial.

This workshop provided participants with an insight on the concept of resilience and with tools to build resilience in themselves and in others, to navigate challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and thrive in the face of adversity.

Topics covered

  • The Robertson Cooper Model
  • Strategies for resilience
  • Tools and techniques to become more resilient


This part of the session focussed on defining resilience and providing tools to develop it.

Shared learnings

  • Resilience can be defined as 'bouncing back' from or growing as a person after adverse or traumatic experiences.
  • Everyone can struggle to bounce back in front of adversities, but we can adopt strategies which are personal to us, to help build resilience.
  • Understanding the scenarios in which we feel stretched or under pressure will allow us to develop strategies to improve 'bounce-back-ability' in the future.
  • Journaling can be a powerful tool to help processing emotions and life events.
  • Working on improving self-confidence is the first step to a resilient mind.
  • Social support (friends and families) is crucial to overcome adversities.
  • Adaptability is an important attitude in situations beyond our control.
  • Purposefulness is essential for all life decision and changes because it will help us keeping 'The True North'.
  • Keeping a 'success log' can improve positive thinking and be a reminder of what one has achieved.

Fill in the questionnaire below to identify the areas that you can work on to improve your resilience.


Breathing and relaxation

This part of the session aimed at creating a calming environment and experience the positive effects of breathing and relaxation exercises.

Further reading

Covey, S. R. (1997). The seven habits of highly effective people. United Kingdom: G.K. Hall.

Hughes, D. (2010). Liquid Thinking: Inspirational Lessons from the World's Great Achievers. Germany: Wiley.

Jeffers, S. (2017). Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. United Kingdom: Ebury Publishing.

Mowbray, D. (2012). Derek Mowbray's Guide to Personal Resilience. United Kingdom: MAS Publishing.

Reivich, K., Shatte, A. (2003). The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles. United Kingdom: Harmony/Rodale.

Sinek, S., Mead, D., Docker, P. (2017). Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team. United Kingdom: Penguin Books Limited.

Webb, L. (2013). Resilience: How to Cope when Everything Around You Keeps Changing. Germany: Wiley.

The SUMO Guy. (n.d.). (Accessed 28 March 2024) (Accessed 28 March 2024)

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