Black Woman Head Held High

What do you want to accomplish in business? Most will stop at earning a living. Many will be happy with a simple, stable career. And while we can all be grateful for checks that put food on the table, for some of us, the vision is much larger.

We desire freedom to create, to push the boundaries, and make an impact.

Only a few will actually do so.

When we breakdown the business success stories that inspire us – whether it’s Barbara Corcoran, Oprah, a parent, or a friend…it’s clear that what sets them apart isn’t about degrees, luck, timing, or any specific skill.

It comes down to resiliency. Every success is rooted in hardship.

From difficult childhoods, to painful losses, to repeat failures in business- those experiences either strengthen or handicap.

Adversity is a prerequisite for the character necessary to lead, but only when we recognize it as such.

Too often, we compartmentalize our challenges: box up the ugly divorce, delete that failed venture out of our bio, grieve the loss of a loved one behind closed doors.

Tragedy is universal. Failures are frequent.

Those who rise utilize those experiences to realize their own inherent strength and ability, feed their passion, and come back from the unimaginable.

Having faced down their personal dragons, they become fearless in business.

They take great risks, continuously push themselves beyond their own expectations, and expect setbacks with an eye to the opportunity to learn and innovate.

To be leading edge, we must be comfortable living and working on the edge; knowing that we could fall at any moment and yet still confidently step out onto that edge every day.

The stakes can be quite high, and it’s likely that we will fail repeatedly.

So how do we nurture such resiliency that we can approach our businesses firmly grounded in possibility rather than fear?

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First, resiliency requires a shift in mindset.

Carol Dweck keys into this shift from a place of fear and pride to that of humility and lifelong learning:

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset…True self-confidence is the courage to be open – to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.”

Research demonstrates that anyone can nurture a growth mindset.

In fact, you can shift your own mindset at any time by simply reminding yourself that your goal is to learn, rather than to win, and by opening your perspective, so that you can recognize weaknesses and seek out the feedback you need to course correct.

Second, resiliency is built through experience. Some lessons must be learned the hard way.

Ever heard of Virgin Brides or Virgin Cola? These were just two of Richard Branson’s many failures that paved the way to a portfolio of more than 400 companies under the Virgin Group umbrella and a net worth just shy of 5 billion dollars today.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

Intentionally lean into your fears, to the extent that you actually do fall sometimes. And then get back up and persist, learning down to your bones that mistakes, accidents, and losses won’t end you. That, in fact, they hold the power to peel back the layers of insulation that have suffocated your potential.

You can shift into a resilient mindset and venture outside your comfort zone frequently, building that competitive edge that will allow you to boldly take the leaps of faith that transform your life, your career, and your impact.


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