Resiliency can be defined as the ability to recover quickly from setbacks, difficulties, challenges, and roadblocks. As a business owner, having the capacity to quickly overcome a challenging situation is key, we do not have the luxury of stewing in our disappointment or licking our wounds. Rather, we must maintain the momentum which started the business, and for better or for worse, we must continue placing one foot in front of the other.
I have often described starting a business as giving life to a dream, as creating a life. Businesses grow and develop; they form a path of their own. In the absolute best-case scenario, we can guide the development of our business, but we cannot set the course, we cannot chart the destiny. Starting a business is similar to having children. No matter how we may want to chart the course of our child’s life, we can’t. Our children are born with their own set of traits, their own wants and needs, their own desires and dreams. The harder we push our children to the path we want for them, the more they will resist us, or worse, follow our desires and be unhappy.
The biggest challenge for me as a parent was accepting the fact that my child is their own person, with their own dreams. Yet once I did, I was able to become a wise guide along their journey, the person they turned to for advice and guidance, a role I am honored to take. I have found the same to be true with my business. I gave birth to 3Raptor, and for the past three years, have poured every ounce of myself into her. But at the end of the day, 3Raptor is a force of her own. I can guide and nurture, but I cannot tell her what she will be.
Understanding the fact that as business owners we gave birth to a wonderful creation that is outside of us and, will hopefully, outlive us is a difficult concept to grasp. We cannot control our business; we cannot force our businesses to become something they are not. No matter how hard we work, how we cajole, or what we do, our business will not bend to our will. And that, my friends, is the secret to developing resiliency as a business owner.
Understanding our role, the key position we play, agreeing to work with our business, to learn and grow with them is the key to developing resiliency. When we free ourselves from the burden of running our business, and place ourselves in the role of guide, we can then begin to develop resiliency. We must not cling to or hold our businesses; we must understand we are so much more than our business. We are a unique person, who has so much to give, and our business is but one of the many avenues of giving.
Resiliency is the ability to brush ourselves off and get back up. This skill develops in us when we understand our role, when we see we are more than our business, when we realize that should things fail, we learned something, and these lessons will carry us on to our next role. Only then can we begin to practice getting back up, and each time it will become easier. Why? We have the past experiences to draw on, we have a continually evolving understanding of our role, our perspective has changed. When our business is no longer our world, but our partner, resilience can exist.
Being knocked down, facing challenges, losing deals are all key aspects of a business. Many of us find these aspects easier to understand, easier to manage, when we work for someone else. This is because at the end of the day, we are not responsible for the final outcome, win or lose, we can accept the outcome and move on knowing we did our best. The challenges do not seem quite so large, the setbacks are not quite as debilitating. We have the support of our team, our coworkers, take comfort in this, and at the end of the day go home to our lives. But as business owners, there is no going home to our lives, our business is our life, and we work 24/7.
The continual investment of ourselves and our time creates the illusion that all is riding on us. We forget the human aspect we are working with, we fail to understand that everyone has off days, as logical as we would like to say we are, emotions and first impressions continue to drive us. We can give the best presentation of our lives, but at the end of the day, we may have lost the contract, not because of what we did or did not say, but because of how we were perceived. Perhaps we were too formal, or too laidback. Maybe we reminded them of a failed relationship, or a deal gone wrong. The possibilities are endless.
If, at the end of the day, we can say we gave our best, we invested 100%, then the setback should not be seen as a setback, but as a moment to learn, to be grateful, to understand we may have been saved from a bad deal. And this knowledge, this perspective, understanding, that everything happens for a reason, that some factors are simply out of our control, that ultimately all we truly gain is knowledge and experience, should be enough to lift us back on our feet.
The key to successful business owners is resiliency, the ability to learn the lesson, change what needs to be changed, and keep going. Life is not fair; life in business is truly unfair. Yet understanding this, maintaining our passion, and our desire to learn, will ensure we build our resiliency and continue to move forward.