Every entrepreneur deals with challenges and struggles in both their personal and professional lives.
Although research has shown that entrepreneurs are biased to believe they can stop bad things happening to their business, anyone who starts a business knows resilience is key.
By definition, “resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” (Apa.org)
The good news about resilience is it’s a skill rather than a set trait, which means you can cultivate it through regular practice. Here are four steps you can take – starting today – to develop the resilience you (and your business) need to succeed:
Nurture your support network.
According to the American Psychological Association, having positive relationships is a key factor in strengthening your resilience. Nurturing your support network is a key factor in business success.
Developing relationships with mentors, fellow entrepreneurs and friends who will listen, offer support and constructive feedback will help you during challenging times. With a network in place, you must be willing to accept support when necessary and recognize that doing so is a sign of strength, rather than weakness.
Look for the lessons.
One behavior that resilient people have in common is they look at challenging situations as opportunities for learning and growth. Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?” they ask “Why is this happening for me?”
A study in the 1970s and 80s followed over 400 employees of a large company during a significant downsize. They found that the most resilient employees (and ex-employees) were those that viewed change and challenge as a chance to learn. As an entrepreneur, you are likely to hear “No” frequently.
What separates those who succeed from those who don’t is how they perceive the word “No”. Instead of taking it personally, resilient entrepreneurs look for the information in the “No” and use it as a chance to learn, pivot and grow.
Focus on your big ‘why’.
Studies have shown a strong sense of purpose contributes to resilience and can keep us motivated during challenging times. When you can stay focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing (in the face of challenging situations or events) you are motivated to make it through.
As psychologist Douglas LaBier explains, when we’re conscious of the higher purpose behind our activities, our focus shifts. We’re less concerned with ourselves and our ego and more concerned with contributing to something larger than ourselves. Just like the previous step, this helps make challenging situations feel less personal and insurmountable.
Decide who to listen to.
Feedback and constructive criticism are invaluable to your business, as long as you’re discerning about who you accept it from. Chances are your company’s product or service doesn’t appeal to everyone and, therefore, not everyone is going to be able to offer you useful or constructive feedback.
As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to decide who is qualified to give feedback and who should be left to their own devices. You can do this by creating a set of criteria. or example, how closely a person matches your target market, credibility, and whether or not they’ve offered useful advice in the past. This is a simple exercise but it will save you unnecessary stress and help you focus on what really matters to your business.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Hannah Braime believes the world is a better place when we’re fully self-expressed. She is the founder of Becoming Who You Are, where she passionately supports people who want to use their values, gifts, and vision to make a difference in the world through coaching, mentoring, and self-guided resources. Connect with @hannahbraime on Twitter or Facebook.
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