Unpacking Resilience – A Practical Guide

In this exploration of resilience, we delve into the complexities and nuances of what it truly means to be resilient in today’s fast-paced, high-pressure society. Through a rich dialogue featuring resilience coach Josh Connolly, we unpack the often-misconstrued concept of resilience, which has become a buzzword in both personal development and professional spheres.

Our discussion begins by challenging the conventional understanding of resilience, questioning whether it is merely an innate trait, a skill that can be developed, or a combination of both. We explore how resilience relates closely to self-awareness and the capacity to manage and respond to life’s challenges effectively. The conversation addresses the overuse and misunderstanding of the term “resilience,” highlighting the need for a deeper, more nuanced appreciation of what it entails.

Be sure to check out the full conversation on our dedicated YouTube channel!

Moreover, we tackle the interconnected issues of burnout, stress, and societal expectations, illustrating how these elements can complicate our understanding of mental health. A significant point of our discussion revolves around the potential dangers of mislabelling normal life pressures as mental health issues, which can dilute the focus on those suffering from serious mental health conditions.

For more around a modern take on masculinity check out this conversation with Fidel Beauhill.

As the conversation unfolds, practical strategies for building resilience are shared, emphasizing the importance of creating personal coping mechanisms and support systems. These include establishing routines, engaging in reflective practices, and fostering environments that allow for both challenge and recovery.

In conclusion, this article aims to offer a comprehensive view of resilience as more than just enduring hardships but also thriving amidst challenges. It invites readers to reconsider their perceptions of resilience, encouraging a proactive approach to building and sustaining it through self-awareness, community support, and personal growth strategies. This exploration not only sheds light on the complexities of resilience but also provides actionable insights for anyone looking to navigate the intricacies of modern life with strength and adaptability.

Be sure to check out more around rethinking masculinity with our conversation with the author of the book Rethinking Masculinity, Dan Stanley.

Resilience Through Issues, Solutions, and Outcomes

Resilience is often touted as a key to navigating life’s challenges effectively. Through an engaging dialogue with resilience coach Josh Connolly, we explore three main issues related to resilience, along with proposed solutions and potential outcomes for individuals seeking to enhance their resilience in both personal and professional contexts.

Issue 1: Misunderstanding and Overuse of the Term “Resilience”

Discussion: The term “resilience” is frequently misinterpreted and overused in everyday language and professional environments. It is often used to describe mere survival of adversity, without a deeper understanding of what true resilience involves—adapting and thriving amidst challenges.

Solution: To address this issue, the conversation suggests redefining resilience to encompass not only the capacity to endure but also the ability to recover and grow from difficulties. Josh Connolly emphasizes the importance of self-awareness in building resilience, advocating for people to connect more deeply with themselves to understand their unique needs and responses to stress.

Example from Conversation: Connolly discusses his own practice of resilience as a daily commitment to self-awareness and personal growth. He describes how engaging with his own challenges openly has not only helped him personally but also allowed him to guide others more effectively.

Issue 2: Conflating Normal Life Pressures with Mental Health Issues

Discussion: There is a growing tendency to label normal life pressures as mental health problems. This can trivialize genuine mental health issues and overwhelm mental health discourse with normal stress responses, which should be considered a part of life’s natural ebb and flow.

Solution: The solution proposed involves educating people on distinguishing between typical life stresses and actual mental health disorders. Building a more resilient society requires accurate perceptions and language, ensuring that those truly in need receive the appropriate support and resources.

Example from Conversation: Connolly recounts his experience in a demanding job and distinguishes between the unbearable stress he felt—which was a natural reaction to his situation—and clinical mental health issues. He argues that understanding the difference is crucial for personal coping strategies and for societal recognition of mental health.

Issue 3: Societal Expectations and Individual Capacity

Discussion: Societal norms often push individuals toward extreme behaviours, whether in professional ambition or personal lifestyles. This “all or nothing” mentality can lead to burnout and a loss of self-identity, as individuals struggle to meet external expectations that may not align with their own needs or capacities.

Solution: A key solution discussed is the development of personal resilience strategies that honour individual differences and needs. This includes creating routines and support systems that foster resilience on a daily basis. Connolly advocates for the establishment of “resilience resources,” such as personal time, supportive relationships, and professional networks.

Example from Conversation: Reflecting on his own life, Connolly talks about the importance of having routines and processes that help manage stress and recharge his emotional batteries. He highlights the benefit of having a personal support system, like his WhatsApp group where he can share fears and challenges in a structured way, thereby maintaining his resilience through continuous, mutual support.


The outcomes of addressing these three issues with the discussed solutions are significant for both individuals and society:

  1. Improved Understanding of Resilience: By redefining resilience in more nuanced terms, individuals can better recognize and strive for a balance between endurance and recovery, leading to healthier coping mechanisms in the face of adversity.
  2. Enhanced Mental Health Discourse: Clearer distinctions between life’s challenges and mental health issues can lead to better mental health support systems and resources, ensuring that those with genuine mental health problems receive the attention and care they need.
  3. Personalized Resilience Practices: Individuals empowered to develop personalized resilience strategies can maintain their well-being more effectively, even in high-pressure environments. This personalization ensures that resilience-building practices are sustainable and effective, tailored to individual needs and lifestyles.

Applications Beyond the Article: Extending Learning on Resilience

Understanding resilience within the framework discussed in this article is just the beginning. To truly integrate these insights into daily life and continue the journey of self-development, individuals can engage with a variety of resources. These resources can provide further education, practical tools, and community support to deepen their understanding and application of resilience.


  1. Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” by Eric Greitens – This book by a former Navy SEAL offers a philosophical take on resilience, providing practical advice and philosophical insights designed to help individuals cope with hardship and develop a deeper sense of purpose.
  2. “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant – After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg, in collaboration with psychologist Adam Grant, explores how a broad range of people have overcome hardship. They discuss the capacity of the human spirit to persevere and the steps anyone can take to recover from life’s inevitable setbacks.
  3. The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles” by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté – This book offers a practical approach to developing resilience through cognitive behavioural techniques and exercises, which are scientifically proven to build resilience skills.


  1. Harvard Business Review, “Building Resilience” by Martin E.P. Seligman – This article explores the concept of resilience in the workplace and provides strategies for leaders to cultivate it within themselves and their teams.

Application in Daily Life:

  1. Mindfulness and Meditation: Engaging in regular mindfulness practices can enhance self-awareness and emotional regulation, both critical for resilience. Apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided meditations that focus on these skills. Read more with our introduction to mindfulness for busy working Dads.
  2. Journaling: Regularly writing down thoughts and feelings can help process emotions and stress, enhancing resilience. Setting aside time each day to reflect can be beneficial.
  3. Community Engagement: Joining groups or workshops focused on personal development and resilience can provide support and accountability, which are vital for sustained personal growth. Platforms like Meetup.com can help find local groups.
  4. Professional Help: For those who find it challenging to manage stress or who are dealing with significant adversity, seeking the help of a psychologist or counsellor can be crucial. Professional support can provide tailored strategies to build resilience.

By utilising these resources and integrating the discussed strategies into daily life, individuals can continue to develop their resilience and thrive even in the face of challenges. The journey of personal growth is ongoing, and these tools provide a pathway to deeper understanding and more effective application of resilience skills.

Supporting Men & Dads in the workplace

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Supporting Men & Dads in the workplace

Download our free guide to help employers create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for men and dads.