The skill entrepreneurs need

Why ‘grit’ isn’t enough: The skill entrepreneurs need is resilience

Creating entrepreneurial success, we’re told, is down to ‘grit’, otherwise known as passion and perseverance. Logically, this makes sense – the chances are you’ll have passion for what you’re creating with your business, and to achieve anything of value, it of course takes perseverance. But the skill entrepreneurs need isn’t grit.

There is something unique about the journey of an entrepreneur, and grit alone does not create entrepreneurial success.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll experience highs and lows in your business so frequently, bouncing between the two will become second nature. Creating a thriving business has the potential to create huge rewards, both personally and professionally, but let’s be honest, you’ll face serious obstacles at one time or another.

Business owners face a significant amount of challenges, obstacles and moments of disheartenment along their journey, and it’s during these moments that success is defined by drawing on resilience reserves to bounce forward to the next accomplishment or big milestone.

Your plan vs reality image

It’s a journey.

Everything is a journey these days, right?! But really, entrepreneurship and owning a business is a voyage. The stakes are high, often there are no rules, and you’ll be making decisions and reacting to challenges, that if you’re really honest you probably don’t have the answers for – especially at the start of your business venture. As your business grows, you’ll constantly be facing new challenges, you’ll experience new highs and as you hit milestone after milestone, you’ll be in the rhythm of continually pushing your boundaries to reach the next breakthrough. It takes a special kind of mindset to thrive in an entrepreneurial venture.

Why grit isn’t enough.

The concept of grit focuses on your journey moving forward; your passion for your business, products and services, and the legacy you’re creating. You need perseverance to keep you moving towards your goals and vision. That all goes without saying, but it describes what you are doing, not how to do it.

The answer is in the ‘how’ not the ‘what’.

So let’s take perseverance. In order to keep pushing forward to achieve targets you need to keep making progress and advancing your business in some way. But what happens when you face obstacles that are so challenging, they threaten to cripple your business? What do you do when the path you’re on isn’t proving fruitful and you need to adapt your approach? Persevering isn’t enough, you need to develop resilience to psychologically deal with these challenges, before planning how to continue driving onwards. It’s this strategic planning and adaptability in flexing your approach that will enable you to persevere and keep making strides towards achieving your vision.

There is absolutely no doubt you need passion as an entrepreneur, without it you may as well give up and take an easier path. The road of business ownership can be tricky and treacherous at times, and if you’re not passionate about what you want to achieve, and why you want to serve your customers and clients, you’re going to lose motivation pretty quickly. But is passion enough to keep you moving forward when you’re facing rejection? Or when you’ve just lost out in a tender process? Will your passion be enough when you’re facing financial challenges, or you’ve lost a key member of your team? Your passion may keep you focused on the end-game and what you want to achieve, but your resilience will keep you striving to achieve more day to day.

Creating your ‘edge’.

Resilience, quite simply is creating your ‘edge’ – mastering your mindset, learning to use challenging experiences as a catalyst to thrive, enabling you to reach your peak performance territory and create success (your kind of success – whatever that is to you).

Building your resilience helps you to bounce forward when you hit a roadblock, or when a challenging situation threatens to throw you off course. Quite often resilience trainers or coaches will encourage you to ‘bounce back’, but that’s not overly helpful if you’re on an entrepreneurial journey – you want to bounce forward, using challenges as a reason to learn more, get better at what you do, develop new insight or skills and move forward – closer to your goals.

The zone of peak performance.

There’s a common misconception about resilience. People often associate resilience with dealing with stress and dealing with obstacles – but this is only half of the story, and quite honestly, it’s the obvious half. It’s proven that building resilience can help to reduce stress you’re experiencing now and mitigate against future stress, and absolutely resilience will help you effectively and efficiently deal with challenges psychologically. But there’s more to it than that. Building your resilience can help you to thrive and work in your zone of peak performance, which as an entrepreneur, is a skill you need in abundance.

How much resilience is enough?

Resilience is a mindset, a way of thinking, processing information and cognitively addressing challenges – all of which will affect the way you behave and relationships you build. Firstly you need to understand what resilience is and how it can be developed, and then you need to be really clear on where your resilience hot spots (strengths) and cold spots (challenging areas) are.

Your resilience reserves will fluctuate – have you ever had a day where the smallest obstacle threatens to send you into a tailspin – when you know on other days you would have dealt with the exact same issue with ease? That’s because we don’t cognitively deal with one issue at a time, in isolation. Rather our businesses and lives are messy, we’re dealing with hundreds of tasks, decisions and situations at any one time, and sometimes this all piles up until you reach breaking point, and the smallest issue can send you into a pit of despair as a business owner.

The skill entrepreneurs need…

The question we should be addressing isn’t how much resilience is enough – as how, when and why you’re drawing on your resilience reserves will change depending on the circumstances you find yourself in at a particular moment. Resilience isn’t an end goal, it’s a way of life and a practice that will help you to master your mindset to create your success.

So the question I encourage entrepreneurs to consider is: How much value could be added to your business by mastering your mindset to use challenging situations as an excuse to thrive and perform at your peak?

Grit is the ‘what’ you need to do to grow your business – focus on persevering in an area you’re passionate about. Resilience is the ‘how’ you achieve success – turning challenges into opportunities and mastering your mindset to work in your zone of peak performance.

Interested to learn more? Check out our resilience articles…

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