By Holly LeMaster

Would that it were not true: that we must continue to become even ever more resilient as we cross the threshold into a brand new year. Wouldn’t it be lovely, instead, to find ourselves in a reality that continuously lifts us up, encourages us, supports us, gives us everything we need to thrive in joy and abundance, with ease and grace? Especially after the harsh realities and head-spinning levels of change we’ve navigated over these past three years.

But, alas, these are the times that we find ourselves in today. A leader recently told me she felt like the train just keeps coming at her, faster and faster. It’s true that our world can be:

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

(For more on VUCA environments, read this post.)

It will require our continued, intentional focus on developing, deepening, and leaning into our own personal resilience to get through. Resilience is, quite simply, our ability to recover from whatever difficulties we may be facing in our lives, to adapt to threats, and to manage stress. When we are resilient, we can cope more easily and have a greater capacity to face our day-to-day challenges—both large and small.

How resilient we are depends on a number of factors, including inherent traits in our personality, our level of emotional intelligence, our perspectives and mental models, our mental and physical health, our ability to create boundaries and say “no,” and other complex, interrelated factors that fluctuate over time and with different circumstances. 

The good news is that building resilience is a skill. With tools, techniques, and intention, we can each learn to become more hardy human beings. Now, this looks different on each of us. And resiliency traits can be grouped into four primary categories:

Physical Resilience

  • I focus on physical health and well-being
  • I take breaks from my day and allow for rejuvenation as needed
  • I get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition


Mental Resilience 

  • I have a strong inner purpose that drives me
  • I don’t give up – I persevere
  • I have discipline and willpower


Emotional Resilience 

  • I am aware of my emotions and can integrate them
  • I have an optimistic attitude and positive perspective
  • I establish and hold healthy boundaries


Social Resilience 

  • I foster strong, supportive relationships with family, friends, and co-workers
  • I am involved in activities and with people where I feel cared about, valued, and respected
  • I can talk openly with others when I feel stress or worry


Contemplate, for a moment, these four categories of resilience. And think about the kinds of obstacles you anticipate may impede your path in the new year. Consider:

Where are you already strong, resilient, and change-hardy? 

What natural skills can you lean on for support?

And where are your opportunities to build new strengths and practice new techniques for resilience and well-being?

In these VUCA times, it’s important to remember that each and every human being is facing our own version of life’s challenges, and we don’t have to do it in isolation, on our own. As we move into 2023, remember that it is okay to reach out and ask for the help and support you need to be resilient, to find joy (our natural human birthright!), and to thrive.

Best wishes from Innovative Connections for a healthy, resilient, and meaningful 2023!