Developing resilience is essential when starting up a business
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Aristotle
Starting up a business is an exciting time but entrepreneurs need to look at ways of developing resilience as 72% report low mental health during their start-up phase. This is probably because start-up businesses all experience setbacks at some time or another. Balancing your aspirations with reality is not something that you might not be good at dealing with.
Some people thrive under pressure but when you no longer have the emotional toolkit to deal with this pressure, it becomes stress. Too much stress will put you at risk of experiencing health issues, both mental and physical issues.
When stressed, you cannot always trust your judgements and you are likely to make poor decisions which you may later regret.
Managing stress is not easy particularly as you are unable to predict or control what happens externally to your business and how this impacts upon your business plans. However, developing your resilience can future proof you to get through hard times, buffer negative experiences, avoid stress and to support your mental wellbeing.
Resilience is often defined as your ability to bounce back from the stresses of life. Developing your emotional resilience is not about bouncing back, particularly at those times when you are experiencing difficulties.
The idea of resilience as an aspect of human behaviour originates from material science where it describes the property of a material to resume its original shape after distortion or stress – to bounce back.
The issue with the phrase “bouncing back” is that there is an expectation that people will return to a state where nothing has changed.
You show good resilience by possessing:
An ability to:
- accept harsh reality – to take an objective view of the situation without subjective views, denial or emotion.
- find meaning in adversity – to build bridges from an ordeal in the present to a fuller, better future.
- continually improvise – to put resources to unfamiliar uses and imagining possibilities that others don’t see.
This has nothing to do with bouncing (backward or forward) as you continually evolve and improve yourself by learning from your environment and your mistakes and in this way, develop your resilience.
Your resilience is affected by the way you react to stressful situations and is forged through adversity, not despite it.
Different people react to different situations in different ways. Your reaction will be affected by factors both inside and outside your work. Your way of responding will be influenced by how you have coped with similar situations in the past and how successful you were in managing your stress and anxiety at that time. It will also be influenced by your personality.
What you find stressful today may not necessarily be stressful to you tomorrow or the day after.
Coping is about putting up with the day-to-day stuff that causes anxiety.
You can build and improve your ability to remain calm, to focus on what is important and to be resilient when faced with stressful and difficult situations.
You can learn to cope better by:
- seeking out new, meaningful, and challenging experiences
- retaining a sense of humour and realistic optimism under stress
- adapting and improvising through your learning
- not allowing your anxiety and doubts to become overwhelming
- viewing problems and challenges as opportunities
- aiming to succeed despite hardships
- learning from your mistakes/failures
- transforming your helplessness into power
- trying not to feel ashamed or depressed in the face of failure
- moving from being a victim to being a survivor.
During periods of change and uncertainty, it is essential to look after yourself. In order to be mentally tough and resilient, you need to be physically healthy. This includes:
- Eating healthily
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
- Taking regular breaks and holidays
- Taking regular exercise
- Using relaxation techniques that work for you
- Getting the right amount of sleep
- Getting support from family, friends, and colleagues
By staying realistically grounded, remaining true to your values and goals, and using your entrepreneurial flair – using your creativity and adaptability to work around challenges in new ways – you will develop your emotional resilience. In these ways, you can enjoy your business as it grows through difficult times and celebrate your success when things go to plan.[Image source: Microsoft Clipart. I, the author, confirm that I have the right to use this image.][