I’m often asked what is the most important trait in an entrepreneur or business leader. Of course, there are many, and a combination of them is really required, but if I had to choose just one, it would be resilience. It’s one of the secrets to survival, both professionally and personally. It’s what’s gotten you to where you are, and it’s what will help define who you will become.

Looking back at some of the toughest situations you’ve endured, not just during 2020, you may have felt there was no other choice. It was a natural instinct. And while it’s true that resilience can come innately, it’s also a learned skill.

Instead of leaving resilience up to chance, considering strengthening those muscles by choice. How can we lead a more resilient life, and build and lead a more resilient team, in the year to come?

A Core of Confidence

Everyone has an inner critic. Who do you compare yourself to, and why?

Although comparison can create competition and competition can fuel achievement, it’s a balancing act. While constructive criticism can deter certain behaviours in the short-term, positive reinforcement is generally better for shaping new and lasting behaviour. It’s also at the core of creating confidence. Do you practice daily affirmations?

As a leader, recognize that criticism doesn’t increase competency. You are simply sharing what not to do, instead of what to do. Imagine a child learning how to ride a bicycle. Which environment shapes a more confident future cyclist: pointing out each time they fell down, or pointing out what they did to stay up?

Confidence increases productivity and causes you to choose more challenging tasks, which make you stand out amongst your peers. You naturally create a more cohesive workplace environment; confident people celebrate the accomplishments of others as opposed to insecure individuals who try to steal the spotlight and criticize others in order to prove their worth. Speaking first and often (a sign of high self-esteem) makes others perceive you as a leader. Sadly, especially in more corporate environments, over-confident people are often more likely to be promoted than those who have actually accomplished more.

The fact that successful people tend to be delusional isn’t as bad as it sounds; our belief in our own eminence is what gives us confidence. Even though we are not as good as we believe we are, this confidence actually helps us become more than we would have otherwise!

A Fondness for Failure

Consider failures as beginnings, rather than endings. As my many podcast guests often share, you learn more from failures than any other source of wisdom. Teach yourself, and your team, to focus on the data and facts. Embrace failure’s value as a teacher, get curious about the information it provides, and be open to where it leads you next.

You will probably find you fail less when you don’t fear it.

Failure is either redirecting or reaffirming. If failure caused you to take a different path, it’s because you saw it heading towards a dead-end. (Yay!) If failure caused you to get back up and keep going, it reaffirms you are committed to a goal and it’s worth fighting for. (Yay!)

Spend time focusing on this for yourself personally, and with those you lead. Some points to ponder:

  • Who in my life do I care to impact the most? How specifically am I going to mentor and impact those individuals?
  • What are five things I would put on my bucket list, and with whom would I want to experience them?
  • What experiences am I most appreciative of in my life? How can I help others have that same experience?
  • What moment in your life are you most proud of? How can you duplicate more of those moments?
  • Look around. What, and who, am I thankful for today?

The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Steps for Success Teach the importance of:

  • Taking a deep breath.
  • Then taking another.
  • Then focusing on the next thing that needs to be done in order to keep going.

If you wake up suffocated by the list of things that need to get accomplished today, start with getting up and brushing your teeth. When you feel anxiety over an important deadline, make a list of things that need to be done and do just one of them. Heed the old proverb, ‘How do you eat an elephant – One bite at a time’. If your email inbox is exhausting, unsubscribe to a few distribution lists that you never signed up for, and maybe some you did!  Stop longingly looking at pictures of other people’s photos on social media, and spend that time scrolling through your own pictures and cherished memories instead. Don’t focus on the big things; start with the littlest and decide where to go from there. Take an action, any action. Manufacture your own momentum.

Have an appreciation for your history. What are some of the toughest things you’ve experienced? How did you get through them? Without a doubt you already know quite a bit about being resilient, you just haven’t stopped to admire it.

Remember: you’ve got this. The person who has gotten you through the toughest parts of your life? It’s you.

Finding People Who Make a Difference

As you seek to build your resilient cleantech team, keep in mind that Hyperion Executive Search have built teams for some of the most innovative and successful cleantech companies globally. To learn more about how we can support your professional and organizational growth, please reach out to us today.