One popular misconception from many Business Owners whom I meet, is that successful businessmen were created always triumphant – indeed they were born with a certain unique spark i.e. never are they bouncing back. I happily refer these people to the book E-Myth by Michael Gerber to rebalance their thinking.
In the same vein many SME Owners have perceptions that paragons of business success such as Richard Branson and Alan Sugar, are never afflicted by disastrous setbacks or calamities. In truth, such people often experience more painful knock backs than most people and what do they do they are all bouncing back.
While everyone focuses on the leadership skills of business titans – too little attention is paid to that necessary skill they have acquired en route to success. Of course I am referring to the self confidence to rebound from the depths. The insightful book by Matthew Syed “Bounce” explains how the different types of approach exhibited by everyone (fixed and growth mindset) does not by itself predict success.
“The path is arduous and gruelingly steep with approximate ten thousand hours of lung-busting effort to reach the summit. And, most importantly of all it forces voyagers to stumble and fall on every stretch of the journey” (Syed).
The crucial difference lies in our reaction to failure.
“Mental toughness and heart are a lot stronger than some of the physical advantages you might have” – so said Michael Jordan when he was asked to explain the famous Nike advert where he confessed “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot …and missed!”
Another way of describing mental toughness is resilience. You can see it in some people who have developed the habit of handling whatever comes their way while retaining balance, confidence and control. They keep going in stressful situations, not allowing themselves to get depressed and even encourage other people to imitate their balanced outlook and are the ones who are always bouncing back.
I would recommend following the 10 Steps to Resilience pioneered by Dr John Nicholson & Jane Clarke.
- Visualise your stress – Based on what is currently possible rather than impossible dreams, create a vision of success. It will provide a clear sense of where you are headed.
- Boost your self esteem – Look at what makes you good about yourself. It is too easy to deny your skills “it was nothing really – anyone who do it”. This self-deprecation is counter productive as it ignores what other people value about you.
- Improve self-efficacy by taking control of your thoughts, emotions and situations by reframing the situations. It is important to avoid the “drag anchors” of commonly held unhelpful beliefs e.g. I am the victim of my background, it’s not worth even trying
- Become more optimistic – “I have handled things like this before and they have always turned out well so let me stop and think what is most important to do now.”
- Manage Stress – build a safety valve for difficult emotions e.g. distraction by writing things down or exercise or meditation.
- Improve your decision making by evaluating the real risk of taking a decision (what is the worst-case scenario)? Change the way you see yourself – be confident in taking a small first step and become someone who can be decisive.
- Ask for help – identify the people whom you could approach for help. It is likely you have helped them in the past and have an investment in the emotional bank.
- Deal with conflict – confront the issue, elicit feedback and listen actively by open questions before agreeing the way forward.
- Learn – invest time to understand “post-mortem” but seek the lessons to pass on to others. You will become as a role model.
- Be yourself – in changing how you overcome setbacks, you need to be authentic – the new “improved you” has got to feel comfortable in your own skin!
We all face tough stuff but it is how we deal with it that makes the difference.
Build these techniques into a habit – and you will be better at bouncing back stronger than before!!!
After over 20 years working at Board Level for Blue Chip companies in the Telecom, Technology & Media sector, I decided to apply my financial and coaching skills plus commercial experience to ensuring SME Business Owners exceed their ambitions to build a business which works with or without them. I encounter too many owners who started out in business driving their companies forward….only to find they are harnessed to the wheel!
I help them retake control of their succession plans.
My contact details are:
Telephone: 07771 607017