In business and in life we all have good days, bad days, and days where our whole world gets thrown upside down.
These days can turn into weeks, weeks into months and even months into years of feeling like nothing is going right.
The Oxford dictionary defines Resilience as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness and keep going in the face of adversity’. When running your own business, the trials and tribulations of each day or even minute can be difficult to navigate and whilst the challenges vary from a start-up to an established business, every challenge brings with it a need to keep going, push through and not give up.
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I started my business Total Image Group 13 years ago, straight out of university, with no prior work experience and no existing customer base. Each day, as a start-up, brought about different challenges and setbacks. From the constant rejection from potential uniform clients due to lack of experience, to the hiring mistakes and production mistakes, each of these issues at the time seemed enormous and the level of stress brought with them was overwhelming. At the time, I made a lot of mistakes, lost many a night’s sleep, but was so passionate and determined to see it through that I kept going. I convinced myself I had no other option but to get up, show up and push through.
“I have convinced myself, regardless of the size of the problem that I have no choice but to get up, show up and push through.”
As an established uniform business 13 years’ later, now with over 40 employees, the challenges and setbacks have not disappeared. In fact, having a larger, more established business lends itself to a whole new set of problems as well as some original start-up issues showing up again. On reflection, the issues that were once colossal and caused me such anxiety and stress are now dealt with quickly, calmly and logically. New issues that arise will still cause stress and I will have the occasional bad day or week where I feel like it is all a bit much and I am not capable of managing. But having learnt from my mistakes, I know how to deal with them head on and know my responsibility is to my staff, suppliers and customers and so I can’t let them down. Again, I have convinced myself, regardless of the size of the problem that I have no choice but to get up, show up and push through.
As a leader one of our most important qualities is resilience. It is not how you perform during the good times but the strength, courage and professionalism you display through the most difficult times. As I look back and reflect on the 13 years I can see that every experience and problem however unsolvable it seemed at the time, has shaped who I am as a leader today.
Each of these experiences has built up my resilience and ability to navigate through change and hardship and I am so thankful for each of these moments, no matter how difficult.
Building or maintaining resilience can be tough and below are my top 3 tips to be a more resilient business leader:
Being positive in a negative situation is not naïve. It is leadership! Being optimistic, open to new experiences and proactive are all traits of positivity and are traits that help navigate through difficult situations pushing through the clouds of doubt. Focusing on the pro’s and understanding the con’s helps light the situation and gives you the ability to work it through.
2. Look to leaders for inspiration
One of my all-time favourite things to do is to read business stories and biographies of other leaders. The real stories are filled with the angst, stress and issues these leaders experienced and how they overcame them. These stories remind me when times are tough that nothing great comes easy and if they can get through it then so can I.
3. It’s ok to have a ‘moment’
Resilience doesn’t mean we are invincible it means being kind to ourselves, noting if we are stressed, allowing this feeling the space to be and then allowing yourself the time to move on.
Resilience grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on, but you keep going anyway. I’ve seen firsthand through many challenges both personally and professionally that my ability to be resilient has brought from it personal and business growth, agility and reward that means so much more knowing the position of where I started from, to where I am today, and that resilience is what is going to continue to drive my future.
Pamela Jabbour is a Premium member, PowerPlayer and the founder and CEO of Total Image Group – uniform designer and manufacturer to some of Australia’s leading brands such as Dan Murphy’s and Fantastic Furniture. Total Image dresses over 300,000 Australians per day in their work wardrobe.