When push comes to shove what will be the thing that stands in the way of your goals? Resilience refers to an individual’s capacity to withstand stress, setbacks and ultimately thrive, and fulfill your potential, despite, or even because of adverse life events. Entrepreneurs need resiliency training in order to welcome, rather than feel too overwhelmed and resist change in situations they face daily. To be able to think logically and remain focused during extreme intense mental situations is paramount to managing challenges and reaching future goals.
***This post has been updated for March 2020.
“The Impediment to action Advances Action” – Marcus Aurelius
But we as ordinary humans every day have to deal with change and loss as an inevitability in life, some adverse life events are what we might call ‘minor’ when it comes to seeing life as a big picture, although when they happen, they can be both debilitating and quite distressing. Other events occur on a much larger scale, such as war, death, trauma, financial crisis, and other personal and environmental disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and the like.
***And today with the global Covid-19 pandemic, the likes of which we have never been faced with before, all forces us to comes to terms with a host of physical, social, emotional, and psychological strains that put our resiliency levels to the test.***
Adaptation and Entrepreneurship
Adaptation and knowing how to cope with such challenges plays a significant role in the long-term psychological benefits as well as consequences of experiencing adverse life events.
The social distancing that has gone into effect with this pandemic has not really changed anything in terms of work for me, but for others it has been a game changer.
Going from working in a busy vibrant office to working from home can be a bit of a shocker. Especially when there are other members of the family and perhaps young children at home as well.
Creating a schedule is definitely important as well as capitalizing on precious nap time!
The ability to not take things personally is another positive trait that goes hand in hand with resiliency.
Remember – this is NOT just happening to YOU.
After all, as an entrepreneur you WILL face a lot of rejection.
Some individuals prove to be more resilient in the face of stress than others, in that they remain calm when confronted by stressful events, while others go into ‘meltdown’, and others appear to fall apart.
Resilience is inherent to a successful entrepreneur – it’s that little extra oomph! that keeps you moving, even when you can’t see the finish line. Your resilience can be the ultimate factor in what measures your success.
It’s what makes a good entrepreneur great.
The following are general tips about temperament and mindset. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur and it’s okay if you’re not!
We see differences in children early on with their various temperaments. Some babies seem to go with the flow and are labeled ‘easy’ while others whine and protest at seemingly every stimuli.
This ability to cope with what others experience as overwhelming is what Psychologists call resilience.
People who are able to cope and recover from difficulties in life are considered to be psychologically resilient.
Such individuals have the ability to adapt when demands are high, and have a tendency, on reflection, to see problems as an opportunity for growth.
It is the bounce back factor that differentiates resilient people from those who find it more difficult to cope with stressful life events.
Such individuals tend to feel overwhelmed, may dwell on their problems more, make use of unhelpful coping strategies (drugs/alcohol, & other toxic habits), and show slower psychological recovery from setbacks in life.
Most people thankfully, do have resiliency skills hibernating within them in different degrees, until called forth by tragedy or some other form of loss.
When disaster strikes they find the inner strength to cope and find a way through their pain.
This sometimes comes as a surprise to those concerned, to discover that they have hidden reserves of strength which helps them through. The rude awakenings in life can bring our untapped capacity to deal with stress to the forefront.
As Nancy Reagan said a long time ago, ‘a woman is like a teabag, you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.’ Or something to that effect:) Naturally this applies to everyone.
There have been countless occasions, when I have been inspired and humbled by the resilience of the human spirit; how people survive, and even thrive in the face horrific life events.
It does concern me that with the ease and frequent access to news and the internet nowadays, young children, teens and even adults are becoming far too conditioned, desensitized and complacent to certain tragic events and images.
One wonders if we all are perhaps developing an unhealthy indifference, insensitivity and tolerance to them with such indecent and graphic minute by minute, repetitive exposure.
These traumatic events on a worldwide scale in recent years have highlighted how some people display typically resilient behaviors.
Events such as 9/11, the most recent devastating Hurricanes, and frequent natural disasters like Tsunamis, Earthquakes, and the horrible Wild Fires in California and most recently the bushfires in Australia.
Not to mention the horrible tragedies caused by Humans that we seem to read and hear about every day!
All of these events expose people to serious adverse life events, and yet, in these situations we have also witnessed countless acts of human courage, camaraderie and emotional buoyancy.
Resiliency does not prevent stress from occurring in life, although it does appear to give stressed individuals what I mentioned earlier on; the ‘bounce back factor‘.
This ability to bounce back from disasters allows people to cope, recover, focus and move on with their lives.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Einstein
This Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth may help.
So does one learn to become more resilient?
Research has demonstrated that although resilience appears to be a natural ability for some individuals, others can learn resiliency skills.
Resiliency skills can enhance your ability to cope when life throws things at you that de-rail you, causing you to feel overwhelmed and defeated whether at work, in your personal relationships or any other difficult circumstance.
So, it is possible to make stress work for you.
There is an African proverb which states: “Calm seas do not make skillful sailors. “People need a certain amount of stress in life to learn how to cope when things go badly!
We have to remember there’s no such thing as utopia. Perhaps in brief fleeting moments…:)
Helicopter parents are widely criticized for ‘hovering’ over their children with the intent to ‘protect’ them from life’s stressors. Studies show they’re really harming them greatly with this practice.
Kids have to learn to make mistakes and Fail – thereby proving to themselves that they can overcome if something negative in life happens (which it inevitably will!) and learn from it.
In what way then, are resilient people different? We all know that stress and setbacks are a normal part of life. Resilient people seem to have something called a high ‘internal Locus of Control’.
This concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954.
It refers to an individual’s perception of the amount of control they have over their life.
Those who perceive that their lives are controlled by external factors are high on external Locus Of Control.
Those who perceive that they have control over their own lives are said to be high on Internal locus of control.
Psychological flexibility and adaptability
These are resiliency skills and forms of emotional intelligence.
This involves being able to accept what is happening and respond accordingly, in short, an ability to embrace change.
We’ve all heard the term ‘go with the flow’:)
One of my favorite quotes is: ‘Bend like the willow, don’t break like the Oak’.
Not always easy, but a necessary emotional survival skill.
What methods can assist with attaining resilience?
Optimism training, positive imagery and affirmations, a willingness to seek out support from others, a strong social network and a belief in yourself contribute to overall resilience.
Everyone can benefit from improving their ‘bounce back’ factor.
Resilience is not only called for when disaster strikes, it can be a powerful skill in achieving personal, professional and every day success in life.
Ask yourself as an entrepreneur in 2020, what are you afraid of? What sets you back?
If you had more resiliency would you be able to achieve your dreams?
Never give up on yourself and your dreams.
Believe in yourself and others will too.
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