If there’s one trait that ties together all great entrepreneurs, it’s resiliency. The ability to keep marching forward, even in dire straits; the ability to fight through rejection and keep your chin up; the ability to work with grit and persistence.
It’s admirable. It’s also exhausting, which is a big contributor to so many entrepreneurs experiencing mental and physical burnout. Turns out, creating something from scratch is tough business.
A lot of entrepreneurs kick off their journey like people kick off their fad diets every January—excited, overly enthusiastic and zippy. And then reality sets in, often sooner than you expect—damn, achieving your goals is hard work! So, how can entrepreneurs build a more resistant core and overcome every challenge that comes their way, even after their venture has lost all its glitz and glam? Read on for a roundup of our top tips.
Find beauty in the struggle.
It’s not all meant to be a fairy tale, and you should use that to your advantage. Allow the struggle to catapult you forward. Put yourself in a “There-Is-No-Option-But-to-Succeed” state of mind. This means being stubborn as hell, a bit rebellious and almost stupidly fearless.
Are these behaviors healthy or sustainable? That’s not necessarily the point. The point is to overcome and have the momentum to run through brick walls if you have to. And often, having something to prove will get you there.
Be realistic: it’s hard work.
It’s all hard work. That’s what you signed up for. You may have been dreamy about having the title “founder” or “CEO” on an eggshell business card somewhere (do people still use those?), and envisioning a life of envious flexibility and networking. But being a founder is just as much about the lows (taking out the trash and dealing with administrative hell) as it is about the highs (your first seed round, nailing that first client). Inspiration is 1 percent of the deal, and sweat is the other 99 percent.
Find and embrace human support.
Your support system, your tribe, your Friday morning meetup, whatever. You’re going to need someone to cry to when the going gets rough, and to celebrate with you when things feel easy. Just know that you are not alone—there’s a bunch of other people struggling every day, working on little sleep, wondering if they’re going to make it. Connect with them. Support them. And grow with them.
Learn from failures.
So many people in Silicon Valley view failure as a badge. It’s common but it’s not necessarily something to brag about. It’s not about it being a badge or being awesome to fail, it’s about learning from it every step of the way, and not repeating the same mistakes. That said, don’t beat yourself up too much. Failure is part of the deal.