4 Ways to Practice Entrepreneurial Perseverance

Perseverance is a skill that anyone can learn to not only survive, but thrive through life’s curves. When adversity strikes, it’s not what happens to you but how you respond to what happens to you that has the greatest impact on your life.  Here are four specific ways you can change your thinking to persevere in the toughest of circumstances.

One – Keep Your Power

The times when I still get the wind knocked out of me, even after 15 years in business, are the times when someone has criticized me.  When you’ve been in business long enough, someone will criticize you for something.  The key is not when it happens, but how you react to it when it happens.

Entrepreneurs that are perseverance-challenged may stop creating.  They may not give the speech again, sell as hard, or write their book because of criticism they received.

One of the reasons we react so strongly to criticism is our foundational need to be accepted and included in a group or tribe.  This need goes way back to cave man days when being alone was certain death, literally.  There was safety in numbers:  more food, shelter, and companionship.

How can we counteract this hardwiring in our brains that screams at us to stop and withdraw?

The first step is simply to remember to breathe.  Then:

  1. Be aware of the struggle that’s occurring inside your brain.
  2. Remind your brain it’s no longer cave man days and you’re safe after all!
  3. Listen as objectively as possible to the criticism and make any corrections necessary in your business.
  4. Build a team of support around you that will protect you from the petty details you don’t need to know about.
  5. Stand in your power, remember who you are, and keep creating.

Two Challenge Your Beliefs in Adversity

Have you ever received some bad news and then couldn’t stop thinking about it?   Your energy can be drained for days when something bad happens and your brain doesn’t stop ruminating about and exaggerating the negative consequences.

Our brains tend to blow our thoughts out of proportion or create inaccuracies, especially in the heat of the emotion.  To help calm your mind down and practice resilience and perseverance, examining your beliefs about any negative situation along three scales.  Ask yourself:

  1. Is the adversity due to me or not me?  This will help us understand how much we can control or correct it.
  2. Will it always be present or will it never again be present?  Chances are it’s the former while our brain exaggerates it to the latter.
  3. Does it affect everything or just this one situation?  We can narrow the scope of worry to one situation in many cases.

Each of these questions is designed to bring the brain down to a narrower field of concern, which is closer to reality.  When we practice these thinking tips, we’re less likely to get knocked off course as an entrepreneur, and we’re more in control of our beliefs.

Three – Maintain Great Boundaries

Just about every one of my coaching clients has issues with needing to be liked by their clients.   They may avoid raising their rates, forget to write billable time down thinking they will do the client a favor, and perform too many freebies.  The client may or may not like them after all that, but you can be assured that the entrepreneur’s business growth will suffer if she needs all of her clients to like her all the time.

How can we persevere and grow our business without feeling the natural need to be liked?

  1. Stand in our own power, and love ourselves.   Self-love is sooooo important for women entrepreneurs!
  2. Know how much we are loved by family and friends, and get our strokes from them.
  3. Set a clear scope of services with clients and deliver accordingly.  Know that what you do for clients has value and you must be fairly compensated for your services.
  4. Stay aware of the natural wiring we have to be liked, recognize when we slip back into old habits, and course-correct.

Four – Rise to the Challenge

When I was younger, I had the unique opportunity to co-pilot a single-engine airplane around the world.  I said yes without reservation, because I knew it was the right opportunity for me.

About one-third of the way into the trip, in Africa, I was way in over my head!  I knew it would be hard; I knew we had a one percent chance of dying.  But I didn’t count of so much going wrong.  Our GPS failed, the radio failed, the air conditioning failed, the ground navigation in Africa didn’t work, the air traffic control systems were dismal, and our safety was threatened on the ground as well.

It’s amazing what we can pull out of ourselves when we have to.  Somehow I found the strength because I had to.

Know that when the time comes, you’ll surprise even yourself with how much perseverance you really have.