The key to success in entrepreneurship isn’t traditional intelligence, like a high IQ. It’s grit. Grit is a combination of persistence, passion, and resilience. Persistence keeps you focused when the going gets tough. Passion is pretty self-explanatory: it’s love and care for what you do. Resilience gives you the mental courage necessary to keep trying. You might get knocked off the horse, but you will get up and get back in the saddle.
Amid COVID-19, it has been challenging to maintain all three of these traits. Even the most resilient entrepreneurs likely have had days where they struggled with their mental health. Is it possible to build up your resilience during an unprecedented time?
The answer is yes, according to resilience expert Wayne M. Sotile and neurosurgeon Gary R. Simonds. Certain individuals (typically those in medical fields) thrive during times of crisis because they “instill habits that create a high level of resilience … [which] enables them to cope.” Honing those habits will help them to also thrive in the future.
How can you become familiar with the fundamentals for building this type of resilience? Sotile and Simonds say to follow the acronym WIRED. Let’s break down how each part of this acronym can help you build resilience.
W: Focus on your personal wellness
As I mentioned earlier, many entrepreneurs at the start of COVID-19 may have felt scared, lonely, and unsure of the future ahead. In order to remain resilient, they have picked up behaviors like cooking, gardening, and dancing that allow for practicing self-care.
Create a work-life balance that works for you and your specific needs. Treat yourself like a battery that knows when it’s time to power down and recharge. The self-care practices that you implement now, like journaling and meditation, will allow you to take better care of your mental and physical health as you navigate the new normal.
I: Solicit input
What is manifesting your stressors? You may be able to figure this out by using the Stress Continuum. This is a model commonly used by the military to assess and manage stress. Using this model, you can articulate what your feelings and behaviors are like under stress. Over time the Stress Continuum will gradually become more personalized as you understand stress-related symptoms—e.g., a change in diet or energy levels—that are specific to you. With that knowledge, you can create practices that will allow you to move into ” the green zone,” where you are mastering stress with good coping skills.
These activities will need to be practiced consistently; for example, a one-time walk will not instantly cure all stressors. Over time, however, you can learn about your stressors, practice necessary activities to move you into the green zone, and discharge stress from your system to focus on your business.
R: Recognize what is working
What are you grateful for during this time? Do you have a wonderful team you work alongside? Are you doing work that you love? Do you have a supportive tribe of family, friends, and community? Take a moment to recognize the great things you have right now.
Look back at the accomplishments you have already achieved in your career. This is huge in building resilience. The odds may have been against you in different chapters of your life, but you are able to succeed and thrive despite them.
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E: Do what is needed to boost your efficacy
What will make you more valuable in business during this time is not necessarily doing more of the same things or sticking to what you know you’re good at—it is learning new skills.
Enroll in an online class or sign up for a webinar that allows you to develop skills in areas that pique your interest. As you learn a new skill—like graphic design, for instance—you’ll develop confidence and be able to utilize the new skill for the greater good of your business. You will be able to provide more customized services and offerings, attracting new customers and clients. It’s a win-win for building resilience and boosting efficacy.
D: Heighten dialogue
To whom do you heighten this dialogue? Talk to your team, loved ones, leaders in your field, and social media communities. What is this dialogue about? Anything that you are passionate about, which can range from your business and the small business community to social justice and how you may act as an advocate to make change.
Speaking up is critical to building resilience. Not only are you speaking out about what matters to you, but you are also deepening relationships you have with the individuals you speak to and encouraging them to listen, think, and respond with their own ideas and thoughts.
Do you feel WIRED now?
If yes, go out and help others build up their resilience, in and out of entrepreneurship.
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