Staying the Course: Resilience

Recently one of my clients, the president of a company about to introduce a product to market that’s taken more than five years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and certify, was talking with one of the company’s board members, who, before he retired, successfully led a similar effort.

My client asked his board member to what he attributed his success and received the response: “Resilience”.

Resilience is the trait that causes someone to try again after a setback or a failure. It’s the decision to examine what you could have done better and DO it better. It’s believing in yourself enough to stay the course.

Resilience isn’t the same as persistence. Persistence is staying the course. Resilience is having the wisdom and commitment to continue to move toward the goal when you’ve had to alter course.

Sometimes it’s hard to be resilient and “bounce back”. For me, I’ve found it toughest to be resilient when I’m angry with myself or ashamed of a setback. I have to figure out what went wrong, accept responsibility, and get on with it.

Resilience is like happiness … it’s a choice. To stay the course and make your business a success you have to choose to be resilient. And when you make that choice you can look yourself in the mirror and say, “Just call me Gumby.”

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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4 Comments

  1. Love this column! And I am moving forward refusing to accept that resilience or persistance could actually be stupidity…

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