There’s a vital business asset that almost never gets talked about, because it’s so hard to define. You could call it reserves, staying power, bandwidth – or resilience. Resilience is:
- When your computer crashes, you know who to call to help you recover.
- When your workshop doesn’t fill even though you worked hard to promote it, you focus on the lessons that will help you fill the next one.
- When something just isn’t working, you get twice as interested in how to make it work.
Whether you can define it or not, you can cultivate resilience. And you’ll be glad you did.
The Importance of Being Resilient
Almost everyone who starts their own business will get pushed to their limits, not once but many times. Face it, this stuff is hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
To a large extent, the ones who succeed will be the ones who are the most resilient – the ones who can go to their limit and find that they still have something more in reserve.
Life’s not fair, and some people have been given a stronger constitution than others. But as always, the more interesting part is the part that is in your control. What are you doing to build your resilience today?
Lessons from a Disaster
My resilience was tested recently as I was packing for a short spontaneous getaway. Getting ready for a trip normally involves migrating all my current data from my iMac desktop to my MacBook. This time – tired, distracted, and rushing – I made a mistake that erased the user permissions from both computers. Before I realized what had gone wrong, Time Machine (Apple’s continuous backup utility) ran a scheduled backup – and what would have been an easy mistake to recover from turned into a train wreck that disabled both machines.
Fortunately, I have an ace computer consultant on my team. With a half day of his expert labor, I was able to get everything back.
I took away three lessons from this little disaster:
- Try not to run critical computer operations when you’re tired, distracted, and rushing.
- No matter how smart you are, disasters will happen. You gotta have resilience.
- I have more resilience than I sometimes give myself credit for. (And maybe you do too.)
I was not happy when I realized how thoroughly I had trashed both of my computers. But there was a small part of me that had to smile at how perfectly it fit the day I was having. That small smile – that’s resilience.
3 Steps to Cultivate Resilience
Building resilience requires practice. The best time to do it is daily. You’re the best judge of what works for you, but here are three steps that have helped me:
- Have great resources at your fingertips. Always be looking for ways to deepen the resource pool you can call on for support. And when you find a great resource, use them often and sing their praises, to keep the love flowing both ways.
- Get good sleep, good nutrition, and good exercise. These elements are so basic, but they are what your brain needs, in order to respond effectively when crisis strikes. To take this a step further: Pay attention to what makes you stronger or more grounded, and make it a daily priority to do whatever that is.
- Count your blessings. Notice how, after a setback, you keep going. End each day by acknowledging what you got out of it, whether that is the main story or the “silver lining”. Gratitude is the foundation of prosperity thinking.
Do you have a favorite way to cultivate resilience? Or another quality that is as crucial in your business?