• Understand the concept of resilience
  • Develop your capacity for resilience
  • Find ways to cope in times of uncertainty


1. What is resilience?

Originally a physical phenomenon, then applied to psychology, the concept is increasingly being used in the economic field. Originally, it was the capacity of a body or material to resist a shock or deformation.

Today, by extension, the term refers to the ability to "bounce back" after a violent shock or trauma, to rebuild oneself in order to continue to develop and to project oneself into the future.

Let's take the example of a fire: the fauna and flora are destroyed and yet a few months or years later, nature takes over again, the vegetation grows back, the fauna comes back, but differently, with other species. It is a whole ecosystem that will be put back in place. This new organisation is not necessarily stronger than the old one, nor more fragile, it is just different.

For a living being, a fortiori a human being, the mechanism is the same and takes various forms.

The shock of the ordeal can put us in confusion and chaos, both at the individual and organisational levels: we then have instinctive emergency defences: denial, flabbergastedness, panic, confusion, flight or anger reactions that make us look for culprits, etc. (see Tool Sheet "The Grief Curve").

2. The 4 factors of resilience

According to Boris Cyrulnik, a neuropsychiatrist, the ability of people to "bounce back" after a traumatic shock is based on 4 main factors:

  • 1 intrinsic factor (linked to the individual):

The person's temperament, representations, and motivation. Generally, resilient people refuse to fall into the role of passive victim. They forgive, show positivism, courage and perseverance to get back on track and continue their lives.

  • 3 extrinsic factors (related to the environment):

o A protective, caring emotional environment.

o The possibility of sharing what has been experienced with other people.

o An understanding and supportive environment.

3. Developing resilience

  • A challenge for the individual: to better accept what one is going through, to better understand the crisis situation in order to better live through it and gain serenity and efficiency, to learn and even develop new skills. It is as if one had to first re-establish a solid structure (relationship to oneself, to one's family, to others), before being able to consider a rebound.
  • A challenge for the organisation: resilience management. This ability to bounce back from a shock has become important in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). It must enable companies to respond to 3 main challenges:
  • o At the individual level: managing fears and stress to continue to develop

    o At the team level: encourage mutual support and the search for new solutions

    o At the organisational level: adapting to a VUCA environment


Build resilience in several steps:

1. Upstream, prepare a "survival kit":

In concrete terms, this means making an inventory of everything that comforts, motivates, soothes and regenerates us when we are not doing well (seeing friends, meditating, walking in nature, taking care of ourselves, starting a project, taking a trip, reading, writing, taking an essential oil, getting a massage, going to the acupuncturist, etc.)

It is up to each person to establish their own list of practices and special "difficult times" activities.

These resources will be all the easier to access, when they are needed, if they have been thought out and selected with a clear mind and a calm heart.

Ask yourself these few questions to prepare your kit:

  • What are the activities that change my mind?
  • What are the little rituals that make me feel good?
  • When things are not going well, what calms me?
  • What do I find most motivating?

At the individual level, the challenge is to regain a sense of security sufficient to cope with the stress that may beset you.

2. Accepting the ordeal

To protect ourselves, we tend to minimise or, worse, deny it. Not only does denying a problem not make it go away, but it also weakens our ability to analyse and therefore react wisely.

The earlier you can identify a difficult life event, the better you will be able to deal with it.

To avoid falling into denial, write the facts as if you were reporting, in the present tense, on the situation. For example, start with "My situation is/is or, what I am experiencing..." This helps you take stock of the event.

Keep accepting it: "Okay, I am experiencing this" (name the event).

It is important to distinguish between acceptance and resignation. You can keep in mind that this moment you are experiencing is a difficult chapter in the book of your life, but it is not the whole book. This distinction allows you not to get caught up in the whole ordeal.

  1. Welcome your emotions... and name them

An ordeal often leads to an emotional storm. Fighting against it is counterproductive.

It is better to consciously welcome and name the emotions that arise, before refocusing through mind-body practices (anti-stress breathing, mindfulness meditation, ...) The most important point is to understand the path to regaining calm:

Reception - Identification - Acceptance - Calming

4. Make new decisions, for yourself

Taking back, at least in part, your power of decision over what happens to you, will contribute to giving you consistency and the strength to overcome the ordeal.

  • What decisions do you want to make?
  • Who could help you?
  • What do you need to strengthen?
  • What is good for you that you could put back in place?

Decisions I want to make: ______

5. Getting help and support Coping alone is often difficult. Seeking advice and help is essential to building lasting resilience. But what is less well known is that helping is a powerful factor in resilience.

Providing support to someone who is not doing well allows one to mobilise one's own strengths, to momentarily de-center oneself from one's problem and to dispel the feeling of being alone with one's suffering. Finally, in the case of unbearable life trials, getting professional help is essential to avoid sinking.