Discover (your) Resilience!


Written by
Bianca Cramer

Resilience, defined as the ability to adapt and recover from life’s challenges, plays a key role in this process. Particularly in high-pressure fields like science and entrepreneurship, nurturing resilience is vital to combat stress, self-doubt, and burnout. Young Entrepreneurs in Science offers a workshop that equips participants with tools to enhance mental well-being and resilience, leading to greater personal growth and a more fulfilling journey in the world of science and entrepreneurship.

The vessel of your mental well-being

In a world filled with unpredictable challenges and uncertainties, adapting and recovering from setbacks has become an invaluable skill. To improve this skill, we need to maintain our mental well-being, which plays a significant role in our overall quality of life, affecting our relationships, productivity, and ability to navigate the complexities of modern living. Think of your mental well-being as a vessel: If the vessel is half full or even empty, you can neither provide for your own happiness in life nor the happiness of others. If your vessel is well-filled, you are full of energy, love, and joy. The contents of the vessel spill over, so to speak, to other areas of life and people. 

The vessel metaphor
What is resilience?

So, how can we take care of our vessels? One of the critical attributes that can help strengthen our mental health and fill our vessels is resilience. The capacity to adapt and recover from setbacks is an essential quality that empowers us to face life’s curveballs with courage and determination. “Sounds awesome, but what is this magic thing called resilience?” you may be asking yourself. Psychologists speak of psychological elasticity: Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioural flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands (The American Psychological Association). So, resilience is about how well we can individually cope and learn from an adverse situation such as stress at work.  

Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences.

Speaking of stress at work: In the high-performance environment of science and entrepreneurship people must pay special attention to their well-being. From juggling the pressure to perform and to publish, to long working hours, and overcoming all sorts of unexpected hurdles along the way, working in these fields makes strengthening your resilience necessary. The sum of the pressure can lead to self-doubt, burnout, and other mental health challenges. In such high-pressure worlds, knowing your needs and nurturing your strengths can empower you to deal with challenges more easily. Therefore, we believe it is especially important for sciencepreneurs to take good care of their mental well-being. By actively making room for mental health and nurturing their resilience, scientist entrepreneurs can better deal with stress, enhance their creativity, and make more informed decisions. 

Influences that may lead to mental problems
Resilience in science

Being resilient as a sciencepreneur means using your individual capabilities to deal with negative experiences. The skills needed include managing your emotions, for example, through consciously using positive belief sets and finding hope or happiness in difficult times, cognitive skills, such as using your knowledge and creativity to actively search for solutions, and behavioural strategies, such as seeking support from friends and family. The successful use of these skills may even predict how you will fare on your entrepreneurial journey. Research has found that an entrepreneur’s resilience strongly links to their business alertness and intentions, two factors that contribute to another finding that more resilient entrepreneurs are more likely to launch their own start-up (Review: Hartmann et al. 2022). 

So, you see, there is hardly any way around resilience. You may ask yourself: What can I do to train resilience? Resilience is not a static trait but rather a dynamic skill that can be developed and strengthened through practice. Just like a muscle, the more it is exercised, the more resilient it becomes. Resilient individuals possess the ability to maintain composure during difficult times, persevere through challenges, and cultivate a positive outlook.   

If you are mentally healthy, you can…
Get to know Mareike

Let’s have a look at an example. Her name is Mareike. She is a PhD student in the humanities. She regularly faces the challenge of spontaneous deadlines set by her supervisor. This leaves her feeling overwhelmed by tasks and frustrated because she often needs to take rainchecks on her friends. Even though she loves the project she is working on, her motivation suffers, and her energy level is beginning to run low. Through applying her resilience skills, she can prioritize her tasks and use her energy more effectively. When she encounters setbacks, she knows who she can rely on for emotional support and how to calm her mind and find new motivation.  

Our workshop: Discover your resilience

To support personal growth, mental well-being, and your successful entrepreneurial journey, Young Entrepreneurs in Science (Hanna Sänger) has developed a new workshop, designed to equip participants with easy tools to navigate (scientists) life’s ups and downs! In this workshop, we have had a good look at what aspects of resilience are easily accessible and, at the same time, can give your mental health an instant boost. This entails reviewing the way we perceive stressful situations, asking ourselves what might be preventing us from making room for the positive, and finding out which of our strengths we should be more aware of. Recognizing the intimate connection between resilience and mental health allows us to proactively work on cultivating this trait, leading to greater well-being, improved emotional balance, and a more fulfilling life journey.   

Join our next resilience workshop!

We want you to feel prepared for your own successful journey as a sciencepreneur! So, if we have sparked your interest, join our next online workshop about resilience on October 26! You can register here.  


The article was written by Hanna Sänger and Bianca Cramer.

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