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Resilience – The Essential Skill You Need to Survive as an Entrepreneur – First published in IncArabia.com

This is a public service announcement. WARNING: No matter how good your idea is or how much passion you have for your product or service, when the going gets tough (and it will), that won’t be enough to keep you focused, energized and inspired.

The good news is that there is a skill that can be trained and cultivated that will allow you to become resilient and surf the waves of your entrepreneurial journey. That skill is Recharging.

But before we look at Resilience in more detail let’s get real about the life of an entrepreneur:

  1. You spend the majority of your time inviting excessive risk into your life.
  2. You pursue a career that generates extreme levels of uncertainty and volatility.
  3. You risk your health, relationships, mortgage and savings.
  4. You shoulder the responsibility for making decisions that impact the success of your business and the livelihood of your team.
  5. You live with the knowledge that 90% of all startups globally, fail.

In her recent highly informative book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington writes, “We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280.”

Thankfully research is now showing it is our ability to recharge that will determine our long term success, productivity, happiness and resilience whether we are running our own business or climbing the corporate career ladder.

Not only will this allow more of us to step away from old fashioned and harmful ideas about what it takes to be successful, it will also allow us to flourish in all areas of our life and although it may be controversial to say it, we may even be able to struggle less and laugh more!

Here are my Top 4 Tips for supercharging your Recharge Button and building lasting resilience:

1. Take regular ‘breathing breaks’ during the day

Practice taking 2-3 minutes every 90 minutes to breathe deeply through your nose. This will calm your nervous system and it’s a great way of training your attention, something we all struggle with now, on just one thing – your breath.

2. Strategic recharging

When was the last time you scheduled in time for yourself in your busy work schedule? Probably never.  If we don’t plan to recharge in the same way that we would plan any other business critical success factor, it won’t happen. Take a power nap or walk for 20 mins, anything that allows you to switch off and rest your brain.

3. Practice mindfulness

There is a growing body of evidence that shows a positive correlation between the number of hours of Mindfulness practice and the rapidity at which the Amygdala (the part of our brain that reacts when faced with stress) returns to baseline.

This gives us greater ‘bounce back’ ability. If you are new to the practice and haven’t got time to attend a program try out one of the fantastic mindfulness apps such as Headspace or Calm.

4. Develop an evening routine to transition from work

Whether it’s spending time with the family or seeing friends it can be challenging to really be present with these activities when the events of the work day keep swirling around in our heads. We suggest to clients establishing a routine to aid their ability to ‘switch off’ from the day.

Maybe it’s taking 10 minutes ‘me’ time on the journey from work before we jump into evening activities just being present with our thoughts and feelings. This could be a stop along the way or just sitting quietly in the car. For those who work from home it might be mean just getting outside for 10 minutes (even this is possible in the GCC summer time!) to walk and become present.

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