What is resilience and how can we build inner resilience?
By Dr Rosalind Beere
The topic of resilience has always fascinated me, yet I didn’t connect with the term, rather what resonated with me over the years, was listening to leaders and entrepreneurs discussing their journeys, both personally and in business. Those stories often would come into my own thoughts when I was faced with a challenge or an event that I needed to navigate my way through. Still to this day, I find inspiration from listening to others who are willing to share their experiences, especially from an entrepreneurial perspective. Firstly, I’d like to discuss the topic of resilience and what it truly means. Secondly, look at how we can build our own inner resilience and finally share my own personal thoughts on the subject.
Resilience: The Key to Overcoming Adversity
Life is full of ups and downs, and everyone experiences difficult times at some point. Whether it’s a personal tragedy, a natural disaster, or a global pandemic, adversity is an inevitable part of life. However, it’s not the events themselves that define us, but rather how we react to them. This is where resilience comes in. As a founder and entrepreneur, the journey is not always smooth and, in most cases, it has ebbs and flows and at times can feel like a roller coaster ride with huge highs and lows.
In reality, people can survive the most challenging ordeals—some even thrive. And yet, they may be unaware or unclear exactly how they got through the challenges they faced. Inner resilience is an important resource that appears to be the secret to success in the outer world and the basis of good mental health. The suggestion that resilience is simply being able to bounce back most likely comes from its use in the physical sciences. A resilient material can return to its original state after being bent or stretched—often dramatically. Just think of a bridge spanning a wide river, maintaining its integrity despite twisting in the wind, or a small flower growing through concrete.
Resilience is a trait that is highly valued in entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship often involves taking risks and facing challenges, and resilience helps entrepreneurs to bounce back from failures, persist through difficult times, and keep moving forward towards their goals. Resilient entrepreneurs can maintain a positive outlook, remain adaptable, and find creative solutions to problems, which helps them to succeed in the long run.
Building resilience involves developing the ability to effectively cope with challenges, stress, and adversity. Here are some ways to build resilience:
- Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
- Develop a support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive friends, family members, and colleagues.
- Practice mindfulness: Focus on the present moment and engage in activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Cultivate a positive outlook: Focus on the good in life, practice gratitude, and avoid negative self-talk.
- Learn from experiences: Reflect on challenges and difficulties, identify lessons learned, and use this newfound knowledge to inform future decisions.
- Set achievable goals: Focus on what you can control, set realistic and achievable goals, and celebrate your progress and successes.
- Be flexible: Be open to change, adapt to new situations, and be willing to modify your plans when necessary.
Remember that building resilience takes time and effort, but with persistence and the right approach, you can develop this important skill and become better equipped to handle life’s challenges
In so many ways the key to resilience and the traits and characteristics needed to succeed as an entrepreneur are very much connected to each other. Being resilient is part of how entrepreneurs navigate adversity in business. Here are a few key qualities that are often found in successful entrepreneurs:
- Passion: Entrepreneurs are often passionate about their ideas and work tirelessly to bring them to life. This passion is what motivates them to keep going, even when faced with challenges and obstacles.
- Vision: Entrepreneurs have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and work tirelessly to bring it to fruition. They are able to see opportunities where others don’t, and they are not afraid to take bold steps to make their vision a reality.
- Adaptability: Entrepreneurs are often able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, whether it be in the market, technology or their own business. They are able to pivot their strategy and find new solutions to challenges.
- Risk-taking: Entrepreneurs are willing to take risks and make bold decisions, even when the outcome is uncertain. They understand that failure is a part of the process and that it is necessary for success.
- Networking: Entrepreneurs are often excellent at networking and building relationships. They understand the importance of having a strong network of support and are always looking for opportunities to connect with others who can help their business grow.
I’d like to finish off by sharing my own personal thoughts and reflections on what resilience means to me both personally and in the context of my own entrepreneurial journey. I grew up in a house buzzing with activity and watching a family business grow and thrive. I was aware of the long hours and hard work that was required, and yet didn’t think this was unusual. Recessions and booms, worker shortages, raising rents and inflation all were so impactful and yet couldn’t be avoided. I remember seeing my father navigate these challenges in the early years, enduring intense stress and then over time more of a pragmatic wisdom becoming the norm. These were insights that only now I value and can identify with, as I’ve gone through my own entrepreneurial journey. Indeed, at times I’d question why on earth was I even engaging with setting up a business as it’s fraught with challenges, struggles and constant need to problem solve and resolve.
However, it’s those very issues that excite and push you and drive you forward to better yourself and your business, it’s what motivates you, ignites that fire in your belly, to get through one hurdle and to make progress and see the rewards from your hard work. Sometimes those rewards are few and far between, but they are what keep you going. Each time you solve an issue you learn from it; each failure is a lesson and each success is a reminder of why you do what you do. When personal adversity, events and business curve balls are being thrown at you, you usually don’t have much time to stop and think but rather, you keep moving and manoeuvring, why because you are built to do so, it is an inner resilience inside you that carries you through. One phrase that I often say to myself, when I need to put things into perspective is ‘….and this too, shall pass’. Ultimately, as entrepreneurs, we need a certain amount of self-belief, inner grit and almost stubborn determination to never give up, but most of all I think its hope, an optimistic outlook and a growth mindset that helps us focus on what’s in front of us and dealing with the next challenge or indeed achieving the next goal and milestone. It’s the hope that we will achieve our dreams and create success out of our hard work and the satisfaction of seeing something we have helped to create, an idea or concept bringing, it to life and seeing it flourish, there is a kind of magic in that, which ultimately builds up our inner resilience.