How Can I Improve Resilience?

By Angela Cox

I took the massive step to leave the security of a six-figure salary, bonuses and pension to do something that I truly love. Some might say this was a crazy move but at the age of forty I realised that we are not on this earth for a look around and being happy and doing something with purpose is more important than fancy titles and money. So here I am working as a life-coach, author and speaker and whilst I love my new life, it remains slightly terrifying most days. There is always the worry about the where the next client will be coming from or who will want my services and expertise anyway?

As a Mindset Mentor, I am applying everything I know about building resilience as this will serve me well as I endeavour to build my business and escape the time/money trap by developing products to enhance my offer. Resilience is the ability to get up after a knock or set back, learn from mistakes and adapt to new circumstances quickly without losing focus or wallowing in self-pity. Resilient people don’t have time for ‘woe is me’ and as a small business owner, neither do you.

The first step in ensuring you have this all-important bounce-back ability is to have a clear sense of direction. Resilient people have solid goals and they know how to achieve them. If you know where you are planning to go and what you are trying to achieve, it provides a strong reference point on those days when everything seems to go wayward. As boring as it may be, invest time and effort developing a business plan with objectives, goals and tactical steps that will see you through at least the next few years. Make it a working document that you refer to often and create an overarching compelling vision which will keep you on course.

Once you have a clear vision, objectives and goals, here’s the top seven things I believe will keep you getting up, even when dealt the heaviest of blows:

Choose how you react
If things aren’t going your way you can either let this consume you and respond with stress, panic or anger or you can choose to pull on your positive pants, analyse the problem and tackle it step by step. If an issue is going to happen, how you react can make an incredible difference to not only the outcome, but the journey to get there. Keep the stress levels at bay, remind yourself you can handle anything and breathe then get on with fixing it without moaning.

Develop a strong network
You don’t have to know everything. Resilient people don’t waste their time doing tasks they are not great at and they are not afraid to ask for help. Get out on the networking circuit and establish and maintain strong relationships, which is a proven way to be happier and more resistant to stress. Having a strong support network to fall back on makes life easier because you don’t feel so alone and vulnerable when the chips are down.

Reframe thoughts
Learn how to reframe negative thoughts about yourself, your business, your future and others. Having a positive outlook and being respectful of yourself and those around you will make you happier and happier people are more resilient. Whenever a negative thought pops into your head, think the exact opposite and repeat this to yourself. This will feed your unconscious mind positive thoughts and you will start to believe these to be true. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to maintain a sense of perspective by asking yourself if this is something you’ll still be worried about in a week’s time? Is it an ‘in the moment’ crisis which is being made into a bigger deal than it needs to be?

Accept mistakes
Perfectionism and fear of failure are a common breeding grounds for self-deprecation and making a mistake can feel like the end of the world. Work on your growth mindset and see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Whilst it never feels great when mistakes are made, look for the lesson and work out what you can do differently to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The more you can do this, the quicker you will recover from mistakes and the more resilient you’ll become. There is a great book by Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking which illustrates this point beautifully.

Be Flexible
Whilst you have a vision, a plan and goals, be aware that sometimes you will need to change tact to survive. The key to resilience is not giving up whilst knowing when to change direction. If something in your plan isn’t working and your instinct is telling you to stop, do not carry on for fear that you won’t fulfil your plan. Work out what you can do instead and change direction. Effectiveness is as important as efficiency. There’s no point running at 100mph if you are running in the wrong direction. Have faith in yourself, remain agile and if something doesn’t work the second or third time, try something new.

It’s usually the last thing on everyone’s list, especially if you are uber busy but invest 5 minutes each day in deep breathing and being still. Relaxation is important and whilst your mind may not switch off completely, it’s a proven way to calm the mind and reduce stress, boosting resilience. It’s also a great way to generate new ideas.

Have another interest
Whilst your business might be your passion and your purpose, it’s important to have another interest to keep the balance and provide an outlet for stress. Resilient people take mental and physical health seriously so find a pastime that will allow you to switch off from the day to day and recharge your resilience tank.
Have the courage to dream big and with a resilient mind you’ll recover quickly from setbacks, learn the lessons and move on to even more amazing things.

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