As an entrepreneur, you’ve braced yourself for the worst – be it failure, bankruptcy, burnout, or all three. As a trailblazer, you’re prepared to deflect backlash and champion a product the market has never seen. You believe your startup is worth it, and now you must nurture that same conviction about yourself.
What is resilience?
In entrepreneurship, resilience means exhibiting reliability and superior performance under stress – which you’ll need. The survival rate for startups is 50 percent within the first five years – typically the time period for a restaurant to break-even. Scholars Mitchell and Shepherd wrote: “Resilience is self-image,” meaning: “perceived fear of failure,” “perceived self-efficacy” and “self awareness.”
Resilience is vision
As an entrepreneur, the core of your startup should be providing a skill at which you naturally excel. For example, if you’re an interior designer and you are passionate about delivering consistently beautiful design, you will delight in your work even in the face of adversity.
In a recent episode of reality TV show Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch to illustrious venture capitalists, 11-year-old business owner Moziah Bridges described himself as “The Next Big Thing,” (NBT for short) and announced that he would start a fashion line – alongside his existing venture selling handmade luxury bowties – by age 20.
Resilience is optimism
Faith and optimism are intertwined. Optimism gives you the capacity to pivot from a failing strategy, find new ways to increase success, and develop the best business possible. Rather than think of it as “bouncing back” from failure – which implies being downtrodden – see it as changing for the better. Thomas Edison’s famous quote, though cliched, bears repeating: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Resilience is your moral compass
What Edison had was the humility to confront the 101 small errors he made every week while he tinkered with the world’s first light bulb. As an entrepreneur, you say you will build something the world needs which no one has ever seen or achieved. You and Edison already have a lot in common: boldness but also the humility to keep your eyes and ears open to make adjustments in the face of failure. Ego-sustained stubbornness is different from believing in a vision.
Resilience is the courage to take action
Major decision-making is called “taking the plunge” for a reason – because after that moment when your stomach drops and your heart sinks, you realize you can deal with it. “Dealing with it” is the key for the most profitable small businesses.
“Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain,” Mark Twain once wrote. Entrepreneurs learn to build decisiveness, which helps eliminate fear, procrastination, and the urge to please everyone. You’ll need to emerge from an unsuccessful meeting with investors, pull your socks up, and prepare for your next pitch.