‘Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again” Nelson Mandela
One of the most popular talismans of good luck in modern Japan is the armless, legless, and eyeless Daruma doll, or tumbling doll. It is made of paper mache and it is weighted on the bottom so it always stands up, even when pushed. It’s a symbol that has the meaning of standing up positively even if failing, disappointment or rejection. It demonstrates building persistence and resilience to keep ‘bouncing back’ until you reach your desired goal. When you receive your Daruma Doll you have to paint one eye when you have clarified your goal and when you achieve your goal you paint the second eye.
As an Entrepreneur you have to develop the skill of extreme resilience and the empowering mindset of ‘Bouncebackability’; It is a critical ingredient of success. When you are running your own business, not being able to deal with a myriad of disappointments, perceived rejections and failures can really have a major impact on your personal performance and therefore your business results. The resource of being ‘bullet-proof’ and being persistent in the face of adversity is paramount to leading yourself and your team through the ongoing challenges of being self-employed.
It’s interesting that we are born with a natural ability to enjoy the unknown, explore our new worlds and constantly take risks. Imagine a new toddler, learning to walk and seeing the world for the first time from a new standing up perspective. Sit in an A&E department and just watch the number of little children arriving with big bumps on their heads demonstrating that every day is a day of discovery and play. It doesn’t stop them from taking risks in the future, it just develops their ‘bouncebackability’. And then as adults, we have one tiny rejection from a relationship, a potential customer and we run away and hide, lick our perceived ‘rejection’ wounds and maybe hesitantly if ever, try again.
We can learn from the popular kid’s movie Trolls as a great example. When Poppy is ready to head to Bergen Town by herself to rescue her friends who were kidnapped by Chef she sings an upbeat and motivational ‘I won’t give up’ song, despite being nearly devoured, poisoned and digested by monsters.
I’m not giving up today
There’s nothing getting in my way
And if you knock knock me over
I will get back up again
If something goes a little wrong
Well you can go ahead and bring it on
‘Cause if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again
For those of you who already know it (being a mother of two young children I know it well!). I defy you not to sing it and feel more positive about life.
‘Gritty people have a growth mindset; when bad things happen they don’t give up’ Angela Duckworth
America’s leading MBA professor Dr Srikumar Rao writes ‘Perhaps the most important characteristic that determines whether or not a person succeeds in today’s business world is resilience – the ability to bounce back after setbacks. Competition is global and can come from anywhere. An Internet start-up like Craig’s List decimated the classified advertising business for newspapers and drove many into bankruptcy and mergers. Upstarts like Uber and Airbnb are upending long-established industries like taxis and hotels. Setbacks happen faster, more often and are more serious in impact. Resilience in such an environment is an essential survival skill. In extreme resilience, you recover so fast that an external observer may not even notice that you have suffered a reverse. This is a teachable skill and a learnable ability.’
‘All life is an experiment The more experiments you make the better’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love the story that Lisa Nicholls, the celebrated motivational speaker and the founder of Motivating the Masses, tells about the conversations she had with her son Jelani on his birthday every year. ‘Happy 6th Birthday Jelani, this is the first year I have been a mother of a 6-year-old so this year is going to be an experiment’. Next year ‘Happy 7th Birthday Jelani, this the first year I have been a mother of a 7-year-old and so this year is going to be an experiment….. and so it continues until Jelani turns 18 years and he turns to his mother on his birthday and says ‘ Yeah I know Mum, and this is the first year I have been 18 with you as my mother so it’s an experiment.’ So, if you have given birth to your business, let yourself off the hook and know that each year is an experiment, and the fabulous thing about having experiments is you find lots of different ways of getting it right by getting it wrong.
‘Life is the art of living with uncertainty without being paralysed by fear” Dr W Dillion
One thing is certain when being an Entrepreneur, you have to learn to feel comfortable living with the unknown, enjoying the ability to navigate in unchartered waters. It means learning to trust your gut instinct more or as Oprah calls it ‘your spiritual GPS’. When Anthony Robbins tells us about the 6 Human Needs (Significance, Growth, Love and Connection and Contribution) he stresses that the ability to embrace Uncertainty as the only Certainty is one of the most powerful needs to embrace if you want to be master of your own destiny.
So moving forward, rather than allowing yourself to feel that you are being devoured, poisoned and digested by monsters, learn to roll like a Daruma Doll, sing like Poppy and remember today is just another experiment in this journey we call life. Wishing you many two painted eyed Daruma Dolls and if you want some help in achieving more ‘bouncebackability’ reach out and contact [email protected]