The Huddle: 5 Key Steps To Developing Resilience

Hopefully, now a few columns in, you are getting to know me here at The Handbook. I’m a huge believer in building trust and connection through honest conversations, so I’m going to practice what I preach.

I messed up, big time earlier this year.

As a solo entrepreneur, the buck always stops with me, so when we made a bad marketing client hire, they didn’t deliver and it cost the business thousands of pounds in lost online advertising spend, I could feel myself quickly reducing to a hollow, insecure shell.

I’m not going to sugar coat and say, because I have the tools and knowledge to cope, that the episode passed with relative ease. It definitely did not – I couldn’t sleep, I felt stressed the whole time, my capacity for anything dissolved to zero… I could go on.

But looking back, I see that despite the insomnia, I leant on the pillars that develop and uphold resilience within all of us and it led me to a compensatory payout (result!) and some new wisdom.

Resilient women don’t just reach their definition of success more often, they also have happier relationships, enjoy more balanced personal and professional lives and are in better physical and mental health too.

I now fully identify as someone who is resilient, and since that episode, this new way of seeing myself has given me a sense of power and freedom when it comes to taking risks. And with this risk taking, has come some new, exciting opportunities that I’d have otherwise shied away from.

I reflected my experience back through my one-to-one coaching work, and it crystallised so much; it isn’t the art of developing resilience that the women I work with find tricky, it’s often the basic concept of identifying as a resilient person that stops them moving forward.

Maybe this is true for you too?

It would make sense, with our doubts and fears so strong “Permacrisis” has been named Collins Dictionary’s 2022 word of the year. You tell yourself often you’re not mentally and emotionally strong enough to bounce back from setbacks or emerge intact from any type of professional storm, let alone come through improved. Which by the way, is the essence of true resilience.

So my first piece of advice is to start to notice your negative self-talk; try reading Ethan Kross’ brilliant book Chatter, for more on this subject, as it’ll lay brilliant foundations for your evolving and strengthening resilience in the long run (which opens doors to so much in the future, don’t forget!).

Now, let’s get onto the main event.

Here Are My 5 Key Steps To Developing Your Resilience


Ok this might sound like a contradiction in terms: feel the feels, but no knee-jerk reactions please. What I mean is, don’t put your natural responses to a difficult situation in a box, acknowledge them, sit with them for a day or so. Then make a conscious decision to stay calm throughout.


Take a trip down memory lane; yes, spend a few moments thinking about times during your life (personal or professional) when you’ve had to dig deep, and you’ve emerged in one piece, or better, stronger. Perhaps pick one single episode and dip deeper: unpick exactly what happened, and then write a list of what helped you get to the other side in one piece. Pin that list somewhere near to your place of work and when you’re feeling wobbly, remind yourself you’ve been there, done and got the resilience t-shirt.


Set yourself life goals. These goals will be inspirations when you’re trying to get through the muddy everyday stuff. Goals force you to look ahead and focus on the bigger picture, even when the present feels out of control.


Be open to learning about yourself; seeing difficult situations as opportunities to develop self-awareness makes them easier to bear. We don’t grow when the going is good and the water calm.


We aren’t the world’s most communicative species for nothing; accept help, lean on your friends and ask for advice. Your support network is your safety net; know it is there, and you will be able to take more risks and cope, whatever the outcome.

The Handbook has teamed up with Step Up Club to offer one lucky reader and a friend the chance to win a 1 to 1 coaching session with Alice Olins. For more information on this amazing competition click here.

Read Alice’s other columns for The Handbook here and here


Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Join our daily email now