“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself.” – Unknown
As an entrepreneur, how confident are you in your personal resilience?
Although it was more years ago than I’d like to admit, I clearly remember sitting at my desk in high school on the first day of my new Psychology Class. The teacher asked us why we had enrolled in his Psychology Course.
Excitedly, I raised my hand and told the professor that I wanted to understand human behavior so I could help people live stronger lives and be better equipped to face challenges and setbacks. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my yearning was to help people build resilience into their lives.
Fast forward to today. I still have the burning desire to understand human behavior and I’m extremely grateful for the fact that I have been able to coach and encourage people to live stronger lives and be better equipped to face challenges and setbacks.
Having worked with entrepreneurs for some years now, I’ve noted that there are significant common denominators that determine success for the aspiring entrepreneur. These commonalities help entrepreneurs live stronger, more resilient lives.
What is resilience? According to experts in the field of resilience, resilience is described as the ability to bounce back after encountering difficulty; to recover and respond with a renewed commitment and optimism.
I wanted to share some of these collective qualities with you to help you not only avoid pitfalls that every ambitious entrepreneur faces, but to also help you build even more resilience into your life.
Most people are familiar with what entrepreneurs do really well; they are great visionaries, they persevere, they are disciplined and maintain a rock-solid work ethic.
However, do you know what resilient entrepreneurs don’t do?
1. Don’t say, “I Can’t.”
Neuroscience has proven that the brain is capable of performing at much higher levels than what was previously thought. How does this affect you? It means that you can push yourself past what you “think” you can. Your brain will believe what you tell it. If you are habitually saying to yourself, “I can’t do this.” Guess what? You are absolutely right.
“If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
So how can you reprogram your brain and break free from the limiting I can’t thinking?
Develop a Growth Mindset
At the root of “I can’t” thinking is a fixed mindset.
First, you have to be 100% honest with yourself and identify what type of mindset you have. Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset?
People with a growth mindset are resilient. They view obstacles as opportunities and believe that they can achieve what they work for. They know that they have control over their choices and outcomes. In other words, people with growth mindsets remove all limits to what affects their success, happiness, and fulfillment; consequently, they experience more accomplishments in their lives.
On the flip side of the coin, people with a fixed mindset are more prone to become discouraged when facing obstacles; they give up more easily and tend to be defensive. People with fixed mindsets place limits on what they can achieve and settle for mediocrity; never attaining the success or fulfillment they truly desire.
To build resilience, you must continue to grow. Having a growth mindset is a non-negotiable key to success.
Positive affirmation proponents will tell you that you need to start replacing, “I can’t with I can.” The premise behind that advice is fine; however, in order to break a bad habit, you must dig deeper.
How to Believe You “Can”
- Be committed to having a growth mindset
- Become aware of when you are saying or thinking, “I can’t”
- Use the power of questioning; instead of saying, “I can’t” ask yourself,
“How can I?”
“What else is possible?”
2. Don’t Compare Themselves to Others
At a recent National Speaker’s Association meeting there was a panel discussion with three seasoned professional speakers. When Kristin Arnold, Certified Professional Speaker, was asked by the panel host, “What is the one thing you have to watch out for that can take you out of your game?”
Her response surprised me. Without any hesitation, she said, “Comparing myself to others.”
Wow! Here you have a woman who is a true professional with years of not only keynote experience but group facilitating experience under her belt and she warned us to take caution and not compare ourselves to others.
What does that say to you?
Comparison is a deadly sin to anyone; especially the entrepreneur. The best quote I’ve heard on comparison comes from author Jordan Peterson.
“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday; not to who someone else is today.” – Jordan Peterson
3. Don’t Overthink Things
A study from the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that overthinking causes us to dwell on our mistakes and shortcomings; increasing the risk of mental health problems. Excessive overthinking can also lead to emotional anguish.
Overthinking is a negative habit. People who overthink usually have one or two prevailing tendencies; either they ruminate or they worry. Sadly, some people do both; really well. Both ruminating and worrying are forms of pessimistic thinking and reflect a negative internal dialogue; aka self-talk.
The good news is that neuroscience has proven that the brain is capable of change. It can form new brain cells and neural connections. Since we now know that the brain is a continual work in progress, you have the capacity to change it for the better. You can break the negative habit of overthinking and establish new neural pathways; replacing negative, toxic thoughts with positive, life-giving beliefs.
The first step to change any habit is to be intentional and to be aware of it. When you notice that you are either ruminating or worrying, press pause. Recognize the thoughts and take a deep breath.
Fix your mind on a powerful image to replace the toxic thoughts. Many people choose to select an image that represents their goals; the reason why they are entrepreneurs. Use that image; it is part of your why. Let that new image become the optimistic dominant thought that propels you forward.
4. Don’t Give Their Power Away
I have a confession to make; I am a recovering people pleaser. There was a time when I said yes to everyone and everything. This tendency cost me a lot of grief and loss: I lost:
What are you losing by saying yes when you really mean no?
Successful entrepreneurs have clear cut boundary lines that they don’t cross; one of them is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.
All of us have passions that drive us. They are our strengths, but when overused, they become weaknesses. For example, those who are highly altruistic, motivated to help others with genuine sincerity, can invest so much of their time, talent, and resources to others that it leaves very little left for themselves. Over time, they experience burnout and run the risk of giving everything away; handing their power over to someone else.
How can you stop giving away your power?
First, acknowledge your tendency to say yes so you can stop the behavior. When faced with making a decision that involves a yes or no, before saying yes automatically, evaluate what is at the root of your yes. Why are you saying yes?
- Is it rooted in fear?
- Is it a habit?
- Are you seeking the approval of others?
- Do you think you are a superhero and can do it all by yourself?
Knowing why you say yes or no allows you to better identify your motives.
5. Don’t Shy Away From Leaving Their Comfort Zone
Change is not easy for anyone. Who doesn’t like feeling safe? As a matter of fact, one of the brain’s main functions is to keep us safe. Your comfort zone is a safe place where you derive energy and encounter very little risk. Safety is wonderful; except when it is fear based and hinders your growth personally and or professionally.
So how do you leave your comfort zone so you can experience growth?
Expand Your Comfort Zone
I don’t like the term, “Leaving your comfort zone” because it implies leaving a solid base of strength and security; a place where people get energized. However, I do believe that you need to “expand your comfort zone.” When you expand your comfort zone, you still maintain a solid foundation from which to derive energy from, but you also grow in areas such as courage, strength, skill set and confidence by this expansion process.
Little by Little
Take little steps. A few years ago, I joined the National Speaker’s Association because I knew that if I wanted to get my message of encouragement out, I had to learn how to speak.
I was nervous and intimidated by all the seasoned professional speakers. My mind was filled with self-doubt. I had been a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled my kids all my adult life.
The voice of the imposter spoke condescendingly to me,
Who do you think you are?
You don’t belong here.
What makes you think you have a message to share?
No one will listen to you.
You’ll never be good enough.”
I used to sit in the back of the room and hardly made eye contact with anyone. However, month after month, year after year, I remained faithful to attend all the meetings. I was expanding my comfort zone and it slowly began to feel less and less daunting.
Eventually, I forced myself to meet people and eventually I signed up to speak at the Speaker’s Lab in front of a group of NSA members. Scary? Yes! But I knew that if I was going to grow as a speaker, I had to move out of my comfort zone.
This past year I attained my professional status as a speaker and I currently serve on two committees with the NSA.
It took baby steps to expand my comfort zone but I never lost it; instead, my comfort zone is much larger than it was before because I took the steps to expand it. In doing so, I have gained confidence and learned skill sets I never thought possible.
“If we’re growing, we are always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell
What have I learned since that day way back in my high school Psychology class?
I’ve learned that:
Life is filled with tests and trials
If you prepare yourself for those challenges, you will be better equipped to pass them
The person who builds resilience bounces back with a renewed commitment and optimism
My goal has not changed since high school. My hope is that you will take the tips and tools from this blog to help you pass the tests of life and build resilience on your entrepreneurial journey.
Your journey matters. Download Transform University’s FREE e-book, The Rise of a Warrior, to:
- Discover an even greater sense of purpose
- Expand your mindset
- Live in your strength’s zone
- Energize your life
This book shares 5 Powerful Pillars of a Warrior’s Journey. These pillars are the foundational structure of an empowered life and will help you to embrace the principles outlined and apply them to your daily life.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rita helps her clients:
• Embrace their true potential
• Change their limiting beliefs/thoughts
• Create Purpose
• Live Empowered, Confident, and Successful Lives
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