Resilience Rock Star: Making of an Innovator’s Life

Resilience is an innovator’s body armour. Setbacks, failures and disappointments are the norm. You cannot expect to make change without failure. But it is your ability to recover, persevere and stride forward that decides your ultimate success.

Being resilient does not mean you are thick-skinned. Tough hides can be immune to valuable feedback. But developing a mental aptitude to treat setbacks as a given and to step beyond them is pivotal.

Rockstar resilience is an internal energy, focused on achieving progress today, no matter how humble. It is not the search for perfection, as that can be a recipe for stagnation. Nor is it fairy dust. Your personal or business aspirations must have their boots on the ground. Life has constraints.

The key is to push through those limits at this very moment. Yesterday has happened. Tomorrow is a plan. Here and now is all that matters.

Here are three ways you can build your rock star resilience.

1. Create Powerful Patterns

Powerful patterns are the sum of our daily actions. Our success is determined by small, consistently repeated actions that yield results. Consistency is key. Great results come from this slow accumulation of empowering personal and business patterns. However, they only pay dividends over time.

For an innovator, mental resiliency comes from bolting empowering patterns into your daily life. Like prototyping, no result or innovative product is right first time. Resiliency is a repeated behavioral pattern. It is a mental response, mastered until it is a reaction, regardless of setback you face.

As a result, how you react at that moment, changes the outcome you will create. A positive or negative reaction can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Resilience comes from irrepressible optimism, driven by a feistiness to see opportunities where others see only difficulties.

As the great entrepreneur and innovator, Jack Ma -owner of the Alibaba Group of online retailing- says “it is a spirit, fortitude, and hardiness that matter more than where you start.”

Resilience is your mental framing to overcome, strengthen by practice and reinforce by patterns.

2. Failure or Learning Opportunity?

Our culture is burdened by the dead weight of seeing failure as a negative. From education to corporate life, failure is a proscribed behaviour. Failure equals personal failure.

While incompetence does exist, failure is often a dysfunctional cocktail of products, process, and people. As an innovator, picking apart the root cause of failure is vital.

Instead, failure is learning. What did not work will often give you far greater wisdom to course correct than celebrating successes. It magnifies resiliency.

As Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame says, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” He should know. The driving force behind Virgin’s success he has also had its string of business failures. To name a few: Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cosmetics and even Virgin Wedding Dresses.

However, the key to Branson’s long-term success, as business and innovator, is the resiliency to see failure as a business education, not a calamity.

3. Critics create nothing…Find value

Doubters and critics surround all innovators and change agents. Some people it seems like to find joy, if not a sense of validation, in pulling others down. They cannot wait to poke holes in your idea, find its flaws and tout their perceived superiority.

However, one must remember that most criticism comes from a place of fear. Putting a stake in the ground and creating something, even if it is flawed, is risky. A safer bet is to sit on the sidelines. Watch, observe and throw stones. In short, be part of the herd.

Constructive feedback is the opposite. It seeks to help and genuinely build upon your idea. It is action orientated. It finds solutions, removes barriers. It enriches your idea and strengthens your resolve. Building resiliency, therefore, is more than ignoring the naysayers but filtering the gold of advice from the muddy bottom of negative criticism.

Throw away comments on social media are just that. Throw away.

As Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.”

As an innovator is good to know all change stirs strong reactions. The bolder your idea, the more others will denigrate it. Dismiss you. However, it is a badge of pride: a symbol of resiliency. It is a sign you are making a change and creating real value.

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About the Author

Simon Trevarthen is Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Elevate Your Greatness (EYG). EYG helps individuals, teams and organizations unpack the secrets of success by becoming even better versions of themselves through dynamic keynotes, seminars and workshops on innovation, inspiration and presentation excellence.

Learn more about Elevate Your Greatness see

Follow EYG on twitter: @Simon Trevarthen

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