Published: January 5, 2020

“The implications of our obstacle are theoretical — they exist in the past and in the future. We live in the moment.” — Ryan Holiday


As Dr. Nayla Bahri suggests, the time to think about resilience is when times are good. Not when the train’s already off the tracks.

While we’re riding the New Year wave — and our go-getter spirit is sky high — let’s think about #allthethings we can do to strengthen our resilience muscle.

Whether it’s the next recession (which will come, it’s just a matter of when), or a major industry disruption (it will come, it’s just a matter of when)… or maybe, it’s simply the next time we get disappointed at work… we can all benefit from having strong resilience skills.

And yes, it is a skill!

Dr. Nayla Bahri, a leadership and career development coach, discusses career resilience in this week’s podcast episode. While studying those who were negatively affected by the 2008 recession, she detected patterns of behavior that differentiated people who thrived versus those who remained stuck post-recession. The great thing is that none of these behaviors or habits are super hard. You and I can do them starting today.

Why Resilience Can Make or Break Your Career. Work environments today are often uncertain, complex, volatile and ambiguous. Whether your company is being downsized or you got passed over for that juicy promotion, many scenarios could threaten to derail your career. Resilience is fundamental to successfully navigating those inevitable career challenges. This Forbes article outlines four strategies to help you to cultivate resilience and achieve career success.

Resilience in the Workplace. Can employees be trained for resilience? Is there a benefit to cultivating resilience in teams? What characterizes a resilient worker? And how can we build personal resilience at work?

Coping With a Setback the Sensitive Way. Have you suffered a setback recently and starting the new year hoping to bounce back strong? This article from Psychology Today offers four strategies for dealing with the upsetting event that you want to put behind you and the painful feelings that may still be lingering on.


“In other words: It’s supposed to be hard. Your first attempts aren’t going to work. It’s going to take a lot out of you—but energy is an asset we can always find more of. It’s a renewable resource. Stop looking for an epiphany, and start looking for weak points. Stop looking for angels, and start looking for angles. There are options. Settle in for the long haul and then try each and every possibility, and you’ll get there.” — Ryan Holiday


The Obstacle is the Way*
by Ryan Holiday
There’s a formula for success that’s been followed by the icons of history – from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs – a formula that lets them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek. This book reveals that formula and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into an advantage.

*Affiliate Disclosure


Are you looking to start a side hustle or a side gig in 2020? Well then, my friend, look out for the announcement in a few days when I open registration for the Start Your Side Hustle Mastermind. This is an 8-week long experience to get you all set up, armed with a strategy, a business plan, a plan of action. And perhaps the most important piece – a support system that helps you stay on track, motivated, and … (dare I say it?) … resilient as you start your new project.


Unrelated to this week’s theme (or is it?), I thought I’d share my 2020 commitments.

  • Embrace the Gray. I recently decided to stop coloring my hair (which I’ve done since my mid-twenties) and honor this phase in my life. There’s always a chance that I’ll wig out somewhere in the middle of this journey. Hah. So wish me luck.
  • Simplify. This word has latched on to my brain for a few months now. I intend to reduce friction and stress in my work-life by simplifying my processes, my focus, and my the many things that require attention.
  • Hit refresh. Corollary to the previous intention, I’m looking to ‘start over’ with a cleaner plate in certain areas of my work-life.
  • Get healthier. This has been an ongoing intention for the last couple of years now. 2019 started out strong but I got frustrated somewhere in the middle and lost focus. Hit refresh and start again.

I plan to share my journey with these commitments on Instagram this year. If you’re at all curious 😉 do follow me there.

I’d love to hear about your 2020 commitments as well. You can email or DM me on IG so I can cheer you on!


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on exploring how to navigate, thrive, and turn midlife into the best phase in our life.

The world of work is changing.

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