Resilience determines whether you succeed or fail in life. It’s true in sport, business, entertainment, and it’s true in your life.
Starting and running your own business certainly tests your resilience, so here’s how to develop your positive thinking to help beat the stresses of running your own business.
Many of the early theories about resilience stressed the role of genetics. Some people are just born resilient, so the argument went. There’s some truth to that, of course, but empirical evidence today shows that resilience can be learned.
The reality is that sometimes in life you don’t realise how much resilience you actually have until you are tested. As the saying goes: cometh the hour, cometh the man.
If you’re looking to develop your resilience there are three critical ingredients you need in your possession.
1. A Unique Ability to Confront Reality Head-On
Individuals who possess a strong bias and a rich reservoir of personal resilience live their life in a constant state of reality.
They don’t bury their head in the sand when faced with challenging times. They don’t go into denial hoping that a situation or scenario will just sort itself out. And they’re never delusional about the magnitude of opportunities or challenges facing them. They simply have a unique ability to confront reality head on.
They are what I call ‘pragmatic optimists’. A common belief is that resilience stems from an optimistic mindset. While that’s true up to a point, it applies only when optimism doesn’t distort reality.
Now this is not to diminish optimism. When you’re having to dig deep because you’re going through a difficult time, a sense of optimism and possibility is a powerful tool. But for bigger challenges, a cool, calm, almost pragmatic sense of reality is critical to your success.
This is why I see the resilient high achiever as a pragmatic optimist, where both characteristics work in positive tension to the benefit of each.
We all have a tendency to slip into denial as a coping mechanism. Facing reality is gruelling work. It can often be draining and emotionally wrenching. But once you’re prepared to confront your reality, then you have a solid platform on which to build.
2. An Unwavering Belief that Life is Purposeful
This dynamic of meaning making and creating purpose is, most researchers agree, the way resilient people build bridges from their current state of reality to a compelling future state.
Think about why you get out of bed in the morning;
- What makes you excited about the day ahead?
- Why do you care?
- What difference do you make?
- Who cares about you?
Think about these things and you begin to raise your conscious awareness of your own motivational drivers, which in turn will help unlock your ‘Why?’ and ultimately your life’s purpose.
Why is this so important? It’s because every person experiences important moments in their lives, but there is one that stands out above all others: it’s the moment you change from someone drifting through life to someone with real purpose.
Having a compelling ‘Why?’, a clear definition of success and reason for being, infuses your life with purpose and meaning. The ‘Why?’ is your North Star, your anchor point, and, if it is compelling and strong enough, you’ll figure out the what and the how.
3. An Uncanny Ability to Improvise & Adapt
In one word, it’s bouncebackability. Yes, you read that correctly. It is a real word, albeit a recent addition to the English dictionary.
Its official definition is ‘the ability to be successful after a period of failure’. It was first coined by ex-footballer Iain Dowie, when he was manager of Crystal Palace Football Club, who famously described his team as showing ‘great bouncebackability’.
Behind any great success is years of dedication, trial and error, mistakes, successes and setbacks. Achievers don’t always get it right and, yes, in some situations they might actually fail (or experience what others perceive as failure).
Imagine bouncing a rubber ball; the harder the ball hits the ground, the higher it bounces back. That’s bouncebackability!
You’re going to take knocks, some days are going to feel like a train crash, and you will go down blind alleys.
But, if you have an ultimate destination in your mind’s eye, a focused goal and purpose coupled with drive, determination and motivation, then, when you do fall over, you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, improvise, adapt and refocus on your goal.
That’s personal resilience in action!
The saying, ‘You become what you think about’ is actually the key to success and the key to failure.
I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, or how you generally view your life, your circumstances or whatever you might refer to as luck. But what I do know is this: you could well be missing the big picture because so many of us are.
And the big picture is that you and I, and every other human being, have a distinct advantage over every other living creature on planet Earth because we have 100 per cent control – yes, 100 per cent control – over how we choose to think. And it’s not just control over how we think, but how we choose to think. We can deliberately change this at any point during any given day.
You have a choice. And it’s very, very powerful.
I know that’s easy enough to say when everything is going well; you feel powerful and successful and can easily propel yourself forward. But life is about ups and downs and at some point we will all face some sort of challenge or failure.
It’s at that those critical junctures, your defining moments or defining choice points, that your ability to harness your winning mentality will set you apart.
A Question of Mindset
To illustrate this point let me share with you one of my favourite stories;
Once upon a time, a shoe company sent two salespeople to Africa to determine the market potential for their products. One salesperson was sent to the east coast of Africa, while the other was sent to the west. Both salespeople completed a basic survey of the target market and called the office to describe what they had found.
The salesperson sent to the east coast of Africa called the office and said: ‘Nobody wears shoes. There’s no market for us here. I’m coming home on the next available flight and I suggest we explore other markets.’
The salesperson sent to the west coast of Africa called the office with genuine excitement in their voice and said: ‘Nobody wears shoes. There’s a massive market for us here. I’m setting up an office and a warehouse. Please send me 20 container loads of shoes as soon as you can.’
Same situation, just a different mindset. A winning mentality is not only critical to your success; it’s entirely yours to choose. If you’re not yet practising a winning mentality every day by conscious, deliberate choice, start now. It’s not an overstatement to suggest that it can literally change everything.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Royston Guest, a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential.. He is CEO of Pathways Global, founder of The Business Growth Pathway and Pti Worldwide and author of #1 best-selling business growth book, Built to Grow and new book RISE: Start living the life you were meant to lead.
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