It's Time to Redefine What It Means to Be Resilient as an Entrepreneur
What's the difference between someone who thrives regardless of external circumstances vs. someone who gets stuck and struggles to put one foot in front of the other? It starts with resilience ... but not in the traditional sense.
It's safe to say the last few years have affected all of us in one way or another. With everyone at home, many online businesses experienced rapid growth in sales, while countless brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close up shop.
But money talk aside, I want to open up the conversation to something more important than revenue: mental health.
I, amongst countless friends, colleagues and peers, unfortunately can't say that my mental health wasn't affected during what seemed like endless lockdowns and isolation from loved ones over the past years.
In fact, I unfortunately now find myself in a category even more specific: People who've lost someone they loved due to mental health. After celebrating my company's biggest month in business in January 2021, I lost my father to suicide one week later. The following month, I found out I was expecting my third baby.
To say my emotions were thrown onto the rollercoaster of a lifetime would be an understatement. Since then, I've spent the last year walking through a healing journey that's left me with the highest level of self-awareness I've ever experienced as a human and entrepreneur.
After getting comments and words of accolades from my online communities, clients and friends along the lines of "You're so strong. I don't know how I would go on. Your resilience is remarkable," I realized that it's time to give a new meaning to the word resilient.
It led me to wonder …
What actually makes someone resilient? What's the difference between someone who thrives regardless of external circumstances beyond their control, versus someone who gets stuck and struggles to put one foot in front of the other?
To open up the conversation and help entrepreneurs who feel stuck right now, or struggle to keep going when faced with difficult situations, I backtracked the steps I took to become the resilient entrepreneur and mother I am today — and why it's critical that we redefine what resilience means.
Related: The 8 Magical Benefits of Resilience
1. I rejected the idea that resilient meant "pushing through"
In the past, I was told by mentors to remove all emotion from business so that I could "push through" the hard times. Spoiler alert: That way of approaching business never worked for me, and when it did, it left me highly disconnected from myself and my vision.
Hear me when I say: You do not have to push through or ignore your human emotions to be resilient as a business owner. Pushing is a choice, not a requirement. If you want to continue building your empire and creating your dream life despite a major (or minor) setback, pushing through is not the only way.
2. I slowed down to speed up
After the loss of my dad, I took two months off business. I cleared my calendar. I allowed myself to do the "bare minimum" every day, which in the past, was near impossible for the lifelong high achiever inside me. I gave myself the permission to take my eyes off my big goals and place them on who I wanted to be when I achieved them.
[Tip: When you trust that your goals will without-a-doubt happen, you don't panic on your pursuit. The key to doing this is to build belief that your goals are inevitably happening. It's only a matter of time].
Did I want to be the person who "got through it" but burnt herself out in the process?
Did I want to keep my foot on the gas pedal only to hit the break every few miles, because I refused to slow down for long enough when I had the chance? No.
I wanted to come out healthier. Stronger. Happier. I wanted to be the parent who healed herself and didn't pass her trauma onto her children. So, I slowed down.
3. I (re)learned how to trust myself
If you've gone through, or are currently going through, a challenging season of life, you're likely to agree that your confidence might feel knocked. You might find yourself doubting if you're doing things "right." You might find yourself doubting in the world or the universe as a whole. Either way, what I know to be true now is that you become resilient when you focus on trusting yourself.
When you feel like you can always bet on you, you feel like you have the strength to withstand any storm life sends your way. Prioritize your relationship with yourself, and watch in awe as you move forward and navigate the tough chapters of life with less doubt.
4. Resilient means putting in the work before you have external validation
Being able to get back up and keep going is one thing, but being able to do so without external validation is a whole different ball game. For bloggers, for example, this often looks like sharing daily posts for years without any readers.
The bottom line is: Too many wildly talented entrepreneurs are giving up on their dreams early because they don't see external proof yet. Instead of telling entrepreneurs all we need to do is "get back up and keep going," it's time we encourage them to find more joy and purpose in their journey so that they can stop seeking external validation altogether.
You become resilient when you detach from external outcomes, and instead focus on finding new ways to love the process.
5. Resilient means finding comfort in the unknown
Last, but certainly not least, I realized I had become truly resilient when I was able to embrace the unknown.
Your job isn't to know exactly how your next chapter will unfold, but to trust that it will in perfect timing. Your job is to get clear on how you want your life (and business) to look when you come out on the other side. From there, you'll be able to move forward with a newfound sense of trust and true inner peace.
I hope this gives you a new perspective and a glimmer of hope on how to become resilient in a world that tells you to simply "push through."
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