Many of us understand the importance of building the capacity of our business, but ourselves? Not so much. Developing your skills and knowledge are important. Developing your personal capacity for resilience is critical.

Resilience allows you to push past difficulties, cope with tough times, and maintain your health. All those are vital to any entrepreneur, not to mention to most humans!

Sure you already know what you should be taking care of (yourself, your health, and all those new year’ resolutions)… so how do you understand and build your personal resilience quotient?

First, learn how your brain works.

Do you understand how you react to challenges? How your temperament influences your actions? I see executives all the time who are so tied up emotionally in some problem that they are sense-less or crazy-making.

Understanding personal style and temperament can help you be more effective – and resilient. If you understand these, you can choose to change when you need to or to cope better with issues that you face.

If you know that what drains your energy and what bolsters it, for example, you can work smarter. One easy introduction is the free Keirsey Temperament tool. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is another.

Read the amusing economics book “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely to see how and why we so often over-estimate small risks and are not rational about our decisions. It will help you think smarter the next time you are making a business move, hiring staff – or buying chocolates.

Brain science is rapidly developing—a little attention and you can use yours to help you grow, to develop greater capacity, and to be resilient.

Second, evaluate past experiences.

We rarely use our past difficulties to inform our present. You’ve had times where you overcame an obstacle or dealt with something you did not think you could handle. Learn from those.

Take a moment to consider what your past experiences tell you. Make notes: what was the issue, what did you do, how did you get through the bad time? How can you build on the skills and abilities you demonstrated then?

Ask people you respect to help you identify your strengths and resiliency. Get them to talk about their hard times and share skills.

Third, build your coping skills.

The techniques you learn to handle problems more effectively at work can be used in your personal life and vice versa.  Advice on becoming happier or more productive and self-help guru’s books are everywhere.

The real challenge for most of us is to actually try something new, to make it a habit to challenge our own thought processes, and to face our fears full-on.

Developing resilience is neither easy nor hard. But it does pay high dividends at work and at home if you do so before your next challenge hits.

What resiliency tips are you willing to share? We’d love your ideas to help us all.