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.

Pressure and stress

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 your business plans.  However, developing your resilience can future proof you to get through hard times, buffer negative experiences, avoid stress and support your mental wellbeing.

Developing resilience

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:

1. Accept harsh reality

To take an objective view of the situation without subjective views, denial or emotion.

2. Find meaning in adversity

To build bridges from an ordeal in the present to a fuller, better future.

3. Continually improvise

To put resources to unfamiliar uses and imagine possibilities that others don’t see.

This has nothing to do with bouncing (backwards 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.

Everyone is different

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, focus on what is important and 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.

Take care of physical health

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 courtesy of Depositphotos

I am an emotional intelligence coach, trainer, and facilitator with over 35 years’ business and commercial experience. I am the author of “The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business” and “The Authority Guide to Behaviour in Business” part of The Authority Guides series. I have the most comprehensive range of emotional intelligence courses available on the internet taken by over 250,000 learners in 175+ countries. If you would like to discuss how online learning can develop resilience, emotional intelligence, or leadership across your organisation, give me a call on 07947 137654 or email me at [email protected]