One of the hardest things that creatives and other business owners have to deal with is running our businesses when life gets in the way. Our personal life is never a straight line and when there’s a bend without being able to see what’s next, it can take a toll on our professional life if we let it. I know you may think that your story is different and that no-one else has to deal with death of a loved one, divorce, being single, getting married, moving, disease of a loved one, having a child or just feeling down in general. Guess what. We all do, we all get slowed down by life roadblocks but only those who develop resilience and stubbornly go ahead at times accepting slower pace will thrive. I’m not encouraging you to shake things off. This doesn’t seem sustainable. Accepting our feelings and processing what we have to process is necessary. It’s important to realize that we need to run our business in parallel. There’s no point in waiting for something to pass because there will be something else to deal with ahead.
I can confidently say that our reaction to failure and life roadblocks will highly influence our success. Cultivating resilience is an individual process but what it basically means is that we’re not only strong after taking a beating but we’re showing up as a greater version of ourselves. Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg in their collaborative work Option B present a thorough and courageous introspection of resilience. In 2015 Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband to a sudden death related to heart problems. Through studies, help and a lot of self-growth work, Sandberg undertook a journey of resilience to show up stronger after the tragedy. In Option B Grant and Sandberg make us aware that resilience is not something we have a fixed amount of but it’s something we have to build.
Cultivating resilience is crucial during our humble beginnings as a creative. You may schedule your first yoga class as a teacher and no-one will show up, you may set up your booth at a trade show and end up with no orders. What will influence how well your business does is your resilience, is how strong you’ll show up after the failures. A surfer gets washed out by the waves that cover him and make his body tumble in the ocean like in a washing machine. Does he go back to the shore? No, he resurfaces stronger and keeps surfing experiencing the euphoria of riding the perfect wave.
Your path to your dream career may not have the tools you expected. There may not be people giving you tissues or hugs. It’s for you to build a toolbox equipped with tools you’ll develop and have at the ready. The tool of resilience will help you come back stronger after the waves of life crash on you.