If there was ever a time for resilience it’s now. 

Our virtual resilience workshop opened up to tech glitches and screaming cries from restless children. 

(Everyone was mercifully sympathetic, as teaching children from home has become a familiar new reality.)

Despite these universal struggles, attendants from Australia to Finland and everywhere in between, gathered under one shared purpose, to become more resilient. 

A bright-eyed, curly-haired wonder greeted us with endless enthusiasm and the intelligence of an elder. 

“Resilience is all about getting back to your cognitive best so you can make a sound decision,” Strother shared, her strategies rooted in psychology and neuroscience. 

Turns out resilience is not about tolerance or enduring. 

All you need is the self-awareness to identify and adjust your behaviour to achieve an optimal outcome.


Here Are 3 Steps To Building Resilience 

Ask yourself if you are currently suffering from Hedonic Adaptation *boredom or Negativity Bias *stress. 

Apply your resilience toolkit to get back to the state of optimal productivity. 

Flex your mental muscles regularly to maintain ongoing behavioural awareness, so you’re not only bouncing back but learning from periods of stress/boredom. 

Simple right? Well, there’s a science to it. 

Yerkes – Dodson Law suggests that a healthy amount of stress/arousal can lead to an increase in performance. 

The tricky part is finding a balance between Negativity Bias and Hedonic Adaptation, two opposing forces that tip us into excruciating stress or mind-numbing ennui. 

Hedonic Adaptation is the tendency to quickly return to relative happiness *also known as boredom. 

“Quick way to impress someone at a party,” Strother remarked with tongue-in-cheek humour. 

As women, we are innately resilient. 

Given our increasingly complex lives, our brain loves patterns because it enables us to simplify our actions. 

But shifting into autopilot often results in behavioural simplifications that don’t always serve our ambitions. 

Take Negativity Bias for example. 

Ever wondered why the news is primarily negative? Apparently, this is due to Negativity Bias which confirms that our brain notices bad outcomes 2x more than good adding to feelings of stress. 

Our tribal brain flags these warning signs as dangerous to ensure our survival. 

While alerting ourselves to the perils of entering into a lion’s den may have once served us, stepping into a meeting doesn’t equate to the same level of existential threat. 

Practising resilience flexes these mental muscles so you can rewire behavioural patterns to achieve success in an ever-changing environment.

To emphasise this point, we entered virtual break out rooms to share our personal ways to reduce stress ‘calm down’ or increase stimulation ‘amp up.’ 

Within minutes we were laughing, blushing and confessing habits, as we discovered that our coping mechanisms were universal. 

Here Are 6 Proven Strategies To Beat Stress

  • Time slice, ask yourself will this matter in 10 years? 
  • Practice mindfulness and become aware of micro shifts in your behaviour. 
  • Practice gratitude to retrain your brain to outsmart negativity bias. 
  • Share resilience tips with friends and try new behaviours that help you cope with stress and boredom. 
  • Map out a ‘tool kit’ of personalised strategies to use to get yourself back to your mental best. (refer to the template) 
  • Regularly switch resilience strategies so when one stops working due to Hedonic Adaptation, you have other options.

The conversation ebbed and flowed from social pleasantries into existential concerns.  

“Do you think COVID19 will change the way people will interact with each other?” a Lean In member mused. 

We paused, wondering what this ‘new normal’ could mean. 

“I think so, people will continue to share small acts of kindness and connect with strangers.” 

As the session wrapped up with virtual hugs and contacts exchanged, the true source of strength became clear

Our strongest form of resilience is the connections we cultivate. 

Collectively we are unstoppable. 


Special thanks to Amelia Strother for facilitating this workshop for us. Thanks to Lean In Virtual Events for sharing our event, it was amazing to share stories with women and men around the world. And thanks to everyone who attends our events and continues to show their support. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events in 2020. 


Want more? We caught up with Amelia recently about navigating gender bias, and remaining resilient through COVID-19 and beyond. Read more here: Courage in the time of COVID, with Amelia Strother.


“That was amazing so grateful for the content and side conversations” – Andrea

“So glad I joined this has been amazing…so helpful” – Melanie

 “Truly demystified resilience,” Deepak

 “Thanks! Truly inspiring” Eva

 “Great session, love your energy” – Anon




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