What's Missing In Our Conversation About Resilience?
A critical step in any entrepreneur's journey is accepting that sometimes things can go badly and you need to jump back on the saddle quickly as you don't have the luxury to wallow
Resilience is a hot topic this year. The word is thrown around offices, between colleagues and clients and all over Twitter and LinkedIn. But what does it really mean to be resilient in the digital era?
Resilience is an important topic to be talking about at the moment, as we’re living in an era where serial entrepreneurs are on the rise with more businesses starting up than ever before and an onslaught of content online and on social media. There’s a glorified perception of what it’s like to start a business with harder times mostly hidden under glossy Instagram images and inspiring LinkedIn quotes. But the truth is, starting and running a business is filled with many setbacks and blows; they are constant and at times, can be permanent.
These setbacks range from losing a client to cashflow challenges, finding and retaining talent and simply getting your product or service continuously right. It’s undeniably rewarding to climb the mountain of each of these hurdles but succeeding through them all requires a certain amount of hardiness and the ability to shake things off quickly and move on while learning from each mistake.
You may think that you’re on the right track, and then very quickly, something can change and set you back a couple of months or even further. What’s missing in the conversation about resilience is how you deal with those challenges. If you turn to social media, and we’re all guilty of it, there’s a wealth of feel good content and stories, which is fun and uplifting, but there are very few entrepreneurs talking about how terrible it can be at times.
A critical step in any entrepreneur’s journey is accepting that sometimes things can go badly and you need to jump back on the saddle quickly as you don’t have the luxury to wallow. When a problem presents itself, within an hour of processing what’s happened, business owners need to already be taking action. Instead of dwelling on why something didn’t work, why a client left, why there’s an unexpected exorbitant invoice or whatever the challenge, gears need to be switched and focus turned to solutions.
The art of resilience is about learning from the mistakes and toughening your skin to be enduring on an individual and company level. It’s not always about positive thinking or mantras but rather flexing the muscle that allows you to become solution orientated. In doing this, you’ll ultimately build resilience over time and become a better leader that’s more equipped for future challenges.
Resilience is built through discomfort, making mistakes, getting knocked down and pushing through even when it hurts. Despite all the filters available at our fingertips, being an entrepreneur is not always a glamorous journey.
This is a concerning problem for the next generation coming through, as there aren’t enough business people—entrepreneurs, leaders and role models—talking about the struggles and harder times. We’ve got plenty of them that look amazing online, travel the world and are steeped in external success, but there aren’t enough actually talking about bad times too. There’s an extremely glamourized version put out in the digital space of the reality of running a business and that results in those entrepreneurs coming through being inadequately prepared for the harder times and lacking resilience to push them through.
The picture we’ve painted of entrepreneur life has done a massive disservice to the next generation. We created an image of the startup and the success of the business owner as the attainment of designer goods, luxury living and social media followings in the thousands. However, it’s none of those things. It’s your habits, what you’re consuming, what you’re reading, watching, listening to and the control over your business. It’s sticking to a stringent routine to get the job done.
We need to teach our younger generation that running a business is not as glamorous as what it looks like online and the secret to success, and everyone’s definition of success is different, but the secret to fulfillment in your professional lives is the relationship with yourself and the resilience you have to push through the bad times to be able to relish in the good ones.
Sonia is the co-founder and managing director of the digital marketing agency, 3 Phase Marketing. Sonia has over 15 years of experience working in media, sales and marketing.