When it comes to owning a business, you can face more uncertainty than the average paid person. To start your own business, you take a risk and a leap of faith, only to find yourself on what Darren Hardy refers to as “The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster”, exploring the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. It can leave you wondering whether or not you should throw in the towel or keep moving forward.
According to a study in the Journal of Economic Psychology, entrepreneurial success was connected to the resilience of the entrepreneur with the critical indicator being resourcefulness. Luckily, resourcefulness is something that you can develop so when uncertainty or challenges present themselves, you know how to access solutions to them.
So how do you build your resiliency? Here’s how.
Attributes of Resilience
Resiliency is defined as the ability to bounce back from a tough situation quickly. As a business owner, you have many different irons in the fire at any given time. Whether you own an organization with quite a few employees or you’re a solopreneur wearing different hats in your business, being a business owner is demanding, challenging, and requires you to be able to pivot into solutions as fast as you can. This is where resilience in sticking with finding the right solution is key. In order to strengthen your resilience, you first have to know the attributes that create it —hardiness, optimism, and resourcefulness.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
Hardiness is your ability to reframe stressful events so that you can get through them with less negative effects. Reframing is where you take a thought, situation, or idea and look at it from another perspective. For example, if you get cut off by another driver on the freeway, you can get angry or you can reframe the situation by saying, “That person might be in the middle of a big emergency. I hope they’re okay.” By reframing the situation, you can shift your emotions to serve you instead of stress you.
One study found that when it came to negative life events, hardiness was the one factor across the board for both men and women that decreased psychological and somatic distress levels. To increase your hardiness, practice reframing challenges, perspectives, and situations. You can do this in a few ways. First, you can simply practice in a journal with hypothetical situations.
Here are a few that can get you started:
- The power goes out and you can’t meet your deadline for a project because of it. What do you do?
- You’re headed to an important Zoom meeting and spill coffee down the front of your shirt. What do you do?
- A team member is continuously turning in their work late. How do you handle it?
- You’re feeling down because you got into a fight with your significant other, but you’re about to meet with your most important client. How do you pick yourself up?
The more you practice reframing these scenarios from problems into solutions, the more prepared you are to be flexible and quickly improvise fixes when challenges arise. If you’re facing challenges right now as you’re reading this, practice reframing the situation. There are a couple of ways to do this. Here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help you reframe the situation:
- How is this challenge asking me to show up differently so I can move past it?
- Where is the win for me in resolving this situation?
- What can I learn from overcoming this challenge?
- How can I shift this challenge into a win?
When you ask yourself the right questions, you focus on new opportunities and solutions that might not otherwise be readily apparent. This reframing exercise also helps with another attribute of resilience—optimism.
Optimism is the idea or belief that things are going to turn out well for you. When you hold this belief, it doesn’t matter how hard things appear to be, your mind is programmed to look for the win instead of surrendering to the stress of the challenge. Practicing optimism is something that can help you pivot from negative feelings to positive feelings more quickly so that you’re focusing on the direction you want to go instead of the barriers in your way. It is why reframing to look for the positive is so powerful because it programs you to only look at possibilities.
“In the face of adversity we have a choice. We can be bitter or we can be better.” – Caryn Sullivan
Resourcefulness is your ability to find, create, and connect with the resources you need to reach your goals. This can be in reference to the mentoring and advice you need, the funds you need, or even the physical goods you need. The idea is to teach your mind to be flexible in how you consider situations and determine all possibilities—even those that may appear farfetched because those ideas may branch off to a real solution. In other words, teach yourself to get creative with how you think.
For example, if you have a problem you’re struggling with, one exercise you could use is the mentor round table exercise. To do this, you write your problem on a piece of paper and set it down in the middle of a table. Then you choose five people you respect and you ask yourself, “What would that person say about this problem?” This exercise gets you out of your regular pattern of thinking and allows you to creatively approach your situation with a new perspective so you can find new resources. The more different these people are, the more diverse the perspectives or solutions will be which can enable you to get more creative. If you can’t imagine what they say, you can always ask them or else find a new set of people that can give a fresh perspective that you hadn’t thought of.
Building on your muscle of reframing, directing toward positive outcome and creative problem-solving, you will increase your hardiness, optimism, and resourcefulness as well as strengthen your resiliency to get the results you desire.