There’s no mistaking the fact that an entrepreneur’s path is a challenging one. It’s the kind of path that can grind at a person for a long time before they finally strike upon success.
Building a business, managing employees, expanding customer or client bases, developing products and services – these are all the types of responsibilities that can eat away at a founder’s mental and emotional fortitude. Yet many entrepreneurs go the distance. Nearly every great founder’s success is established upon one trait that calls upon us to endure when times are tough: resilience.
What is resilience and why is it essential for entrepreneurs?
Resilience is defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress… it means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”
When compared to most career paths, entrepreneurs endure a lot of stress: according to a Gallup Wellbeing Index report, 45 percent of entrepreneurs said that they are stressed, while 34 percent of them said they were more likely to have “worried a lot.” In addition, entrepreneurs were reportedly far more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression or substance addiction than traditional workers.
“You don’t let the threat of failure stop you; instead, you are motivated to find solutions and advance toward your goal.”
This is proof that running a business is no easy feat. Without resilience, an entrepreneur is likely to suffer from the weight of the stress that their journey brings. Being resilient means that during troubling times, you can effectively make plans and carry them out, exhibit clear communication skills, and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles. You don’t let the threat of failure stop you; instead, you are motivated to find solutions and advance toward your goal.
How to improve your resilience
Resilience can be developed with proper training. Effective practices can help make resilience a natural response to stress in your daily business activities.
Creating routines can boost your resilience in the face of adversity. Some might think a structured schedule makes someone more rigid, but I see it as more of a safety net for leaders to fall back on.
Consistency in other areas of your life makes it so that when the unexpected happens, you’re better equipped to deal with it. You’ll have built a solid foundation for other aspects of your life, which makes the prevalent issues as a business leader seem less disastrous than you might otherwise be led to believe.
Improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills are other ways to build resilience. While you can’t prepare for the unforeseen, you can change the way you react and improve your ability to deal with issues on the fly. By sharpening your skills in assessing an issue and actively create a solution, it will make dealing with the unexpected a much smoother process.
“While you can’t prepare for the unforeseen, you can change the way you react and improve your ability to deal with issues on the fly.”
There is a lot of overlap between resilience and other emotional intelligence (EQ) factors, a trait that has topped lists as one of the most important workplace skills necessary in an increasingly technologically-driven landscape.
As a result, learning emotional intelligence is another method for entrepreneurs to develop their sense of self-regulation, which will enable them to control their emotional reactions to the crisis. Higher EQ also means greater mindfulness, giving leaders the openness and awareness to understand every part of the situation and find an answer accordingly. It makes you a better listener, meaning that when great ideas or solutions come from anyone, you’ll be ready and receptive of others. These are all traits that promote resilience and adaptability in dealing with the various situations that arise.
How to cultivate resilience in others
As a founder, you naturally assume responsibility for the development of your employees. You’re tasked to help them become exceptional workers with the potential to make significant business contributions. Instilling your resilience in employees can lead to a stronger and more stable working environment.
Simply being a supportive leader and mentor leads to happier employees, who are often more productive. According to a study by research firm Leadership IQ, supportive and encouraging leaders also make employees more resilient.
Workers who responded positively to the statement “When I make a mistake, I immediately start looking for another chance to try again” also tended to respond positively to “My leader encourages and recognizes suggestions for improvement.” This data suggests that there is a noticeable correlation between resilience and how entrepreneurs lead their enterprises. It makes perfect sense that the best way for founders to instill resilience in others around them is to lead by example.
The driving force behind exceptional entrepreneurs
There’s no doubt that resilience is at the heart of every exceptional entrepreneur and founder. In the end, it’s not always about having the best idea or being the most innovative — it’s much more important for entrepreneurs to be able to tough it out. Otherwise, those great ideas may never see the light of day.
Brent Beckley is skilled in management consulting and opened his own firm, Beckley & Co., to specialize in upscale, boutique clientele where he uses his extensive knowledge and experience to help his clients navigate the fast-paced world of business. Connect with @brentbeckley on Twitter.