22 May 2016
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill.
What sets us apart as entrepreneurs? I believe it is resilience.
Running a business requires a thick skin. I’ve often joked that I have the skin of a rhino! We need to be able to separate business from taking things personally.
One of the hardest lessons I learnt was when we lost our first team member to another business. It was extraordinarily difficult to not take personally when you’re trying to create a workplace that feels like a home from home, when you have a bond with your team and when you feel more like family than colleagues.
I still struggle with it today and class each time as a failure of some sort. But, rather than letting it get me down, I look to how we can improve and prevent it from happening again.
It’s often said that you should fall down nine times and get back up ten. It’s a quote that adorns our office walls and has been attributed to everyone from Jon Bon Jovi to an ancient Japanese proverb.
It’s interesting how we grow and often, people lose resilience along the way rather than gaining it. Think about it. When you’re a tiny toddler, you’re learning to walk. How many times to you fall over? How many times do you bump into things, get frustrated or find barriers in your way? It didn’t stop you learning to walk though, did it?
Yet, when we’re adults, we’re almost predisposed to give up when the going gets tough; whether that’s with a business, diet or fitness regime.
Thinking about it, it’s another example of how sport and business are intertwined. I have spoken before about how the resilience that I developed on the rugby field has stood me incredibly well in my professional life. Being blocked repeatedly or letting the other team through has that effect – you learn from your mistakes, you stop and evaluate what you could do better, and you keep trying until you nail it.
Can you ever imagine Manchester United just giving up because they haven’t won the title for a few years? It’s natural that they may lose some momentum or energy, but they keep trying and, whilst it has been a poor season overall this year and they’ve lost yet another manager, they won the biggest cup in football at the weekend. Taking home the FA Cup could be a great catalyst for the season to come – especially with a manager as thick-skinned and resilient as Jose Mourinho (although he is perhaps a little too thick-skinned and could potentially benefit from a little more self-awareness as a leader).
Look at Leicester City in the Premier League this season. It was 5000-1 for them to win the league. Who would’ve called it? Who could’ve guessed that Leicester City would be lifting the trophy with games to spare? This is a club who had toyed for quite some time with relegation from the top flight just a season earlier. This is a club that rose to the challenge like David versus multiple globally known Goliaths; George toppling dragon after dragon.
As entrepreneurs, we need to adopt this mentality. If you’re blocked by the bigger, heavier established competitor, do you give up and accept defeat? Or do you return to the drawing board, find your USP and come it at from a new perspective?
Use it as inspiration, see it as a challenge, set it as a goal. Changing perspective like this transforms something that’s draining your energy to something that fuels it.
I’d love to know your thoughts.