Business is hard. Especially when it’s your own business. The stakes are so much higher. Everything is more personal. Your business is you and you are your business. A lot of our identity and our purpose is tied to our business. This means that when things don't always go the way we planned or expected it can be tough to take. The difference between being paralysed by failure or disappointment is resilience.
In an ideal scenario every failure is a stepping stone forwards but what happens when failure is a heavy blow, What do you do next? How do you recover so that you and your business can start moving forwards again. This is one of the most vital skills you need when you’re running your own business or working at a senior level in a corporate environment. Resilience is your ability to digest, reflect and keep going.
What is Resilience?
In this context, resilience is the speed with which you move from your emotional response to taking a positive action. Your pingback speed if you like. Your ability to recover and keep going.
The Angry Client
You may have had a negative experience with a client. Maybe they were disappointed that a project or piece of work didn’t turn out the way they had imagined. They may have complained or perhaps they asked for a refund. When this happens there is a natural emotional reaction.
You might feel upset, mortified or even angry. You are upset the client is upset and you feel like you’ve let them down. Or maybe you feel that they are impossible to please and feel angry and frustrated.
Losing the Big Pitch
You may have spent a lot of time preparing for a big pitch. You’ve put a great deal of work into preparing presentation materials or writing a detailed bid. You don’t win the contract and you feel like you’ve wasted all that time and effort.
Situations like these can lead to a huge crisis of confidence. You may start to doubt whether you are cut out for your job or for business. You might begin to doubt that you have what it takes to be successful. How you react or respond in these, or similar situations determines ultimately how successful you will be.
For some people, setbacks like these will be enough to make then throw in the towel. Others may take days, weeks or months to recover their confidence and get their emotions back on track. Whilst having an emotional reaction to a negative or upsetting situation is perfectly natural, hanging on to those feelings it is not always helpful.
There is no failure, only feedback
Working through these feelings, processing negative emotions and learning from these situations is how I help my clients build resilience. Feeling rejected, unmotivated and anxious makes it difficult to move forward positively. I work with clients to help them realise that failure is an important part of growth and personal development. It can sound cliche but many famous entrepreneurs have “failed” their way to success. You cannot know how to do something well until you’ve done it once. Failure is not the end of the road it is part of the journey.
So when things don’t go as you hoped, how do you process the negative emotions, get your logic engaged and ping back to being you and restore your resilience?
Try this exercise
The next time things haven't gone to plan or you find yourself in a situation where you are doubting your confidence or abilities try this exercise.
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write this question out. “If I could go back and do it again, what would I do differently?”
Then if you can think of anything, list them as bullet points.
This bullet point list is your learning. This list in front of you is what you learned from the situation. This is golden. Only people who have shown up and done battle get this list. If you ignore this list and repeat the same behaviour then you can expect to be in the same situation in the near future. However if you can appreciate the value of this experience and the learnings you can take away from it what you now have is the ability to come back and fight another day. And this time, you can and will do it better.
Accept that you will make mistakes. It is what you do with this knowledge that counts. You can throw in the towel or you can think logically and make a list of actions that you will take as a result of what you have learned.
This is how we build resilience. The more you do this the quicker you ping back.
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