Being A Resilient Business Owner

BUILDING RESILIENCE with Andry Anastasis McFarlane

Over the past 25 years, I’ve been running my own company, The Learning Moment, specializing in staff development and coaching. My expertise comes from the stories people have shared with me about their work and businesses, with their permission, of course. I’m also the author of the Really Resilient Guide, which is based on a decade of research into resilience, drawn from my experiences as both a salaried worker and a business owner.

My journey has included working as a wellbeing consultant in a GP surgery, conducting acupuncture and wellbeing workshops within the NHS. Additionally, I’ve spent the last seven years coaching and leading workshops on resilience for thousands of individuals in various organizations. My approach is practical, mixing in a bit of theory, and in this 90-minute workshop, we will explore three main topics.

Firstly, we’ll delve into the concept of true sustainable resilience. As a business owner, I understand the close connection between personal resilience and the resilience of the business itself. I want to emphasize the importance of sustainable resilience to avoid burnout, something I experienced twice during lockdown and Covid.

Next, I’ll share some valuable tips for building sustainable personal resilience as a business owner. We’ll explore ways to foster resilience that lasts through challenging times.

Finally, we’ll take the opportunity to assess our own resilience levels. We’ll reflect on the past year, exploring our strengths and areas for growth in resilience.

THE TWO TYPES OF RESILIENCE: Inner Strength and Adaptability

When discussing resilience, there are two primary types we’ll explore. The first is the traditional concept of resilience, often associated with determination and staying power. It’s that inner strength to keep going, driven by our values and dedication to our businesses.

The second type of resilience is equally crucial, and it comes from the Latin term “resil,” meaning the flexible stem of a plant. This resilience involves adaptability and the ability to see things from different perspectives, including those of customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Being adaptable without breaking is essential in navigating challenges and building strong relationships in business.

Prioritizing Well-Being as a Business Owner

As a business owner, I know how crucial it is to prioritize my well-being. When my reserves are running low, I feel tired, drained, and may even experience memory loss or turn to unhealthy habits like overdrinking or poor eating. To maintain sustainability, I make a conscious effort to check in on my well-being and invest in activities that boost my energy reserves. This includes engaging in social activities, taking care of my physical and mental health, and seeking support from others.

Individual and Collaborative Approaches to Building Resilience

In building resilience, I recognize the significance of both individual and collaborative approaches. During the initial months of lockdown, I tried to handle everything on my own, only to realize that collaborating with others was more sustainable in the long run. I learned that knowing when to seek community support and when to rely on my own strength is essential for lasting resilience.

I also embrace micro-strategies, incorporating small moments of well-being into my day, such as stretching while waiting for the kettle to boil or meditating for a couple of minutes before fully waking up.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

One effective model that I follow is the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which includes connecting with others, continuous learning, staying physically active, being mindful, and giving back to myself and others. These strategies are intuitive, easy to learn, and have strong evidence supporting their positive impact on well-being. Quieting the mind and tuning into my inner voice allows me to make impactful decisions rather than acting on impulse.

Building Staying Power through Small Steps and Sparkling Moments 

As a business owner, I sometimes face the dilemma of deciding whether to continue with certain projects or let go of them. To build staying power and resilience, I focus on taking small steps rather than committing to big goals. I find that choosing the smallest achievable step and immediately acting upon it gives me a sense of resilience and keeps me motivated. It’s all about embracing micro-strategies and incorporating little moments of well-being throughout my day, even during busy periods.

Working on Staying Power

When working on staying power, I tap into my past experiences of successful resilience through a technique called the sparkling moment. By reflecting on what worked in those situations and learning from them, I build a memory bank of resilience. This helps me train my brain to automatically focus on positive experiences when facing crises, fostering a resilient mindset.

For those seeking flexibility and adaptability, regularly putting myself in the shoes of my customers, staff, providers, and other stakeholders is essential. Understanding their needs, feelings, and perspectives allows me to stay innovative in my business and be open to new opportunities.

The Value of Collaboration and Supportive Networks

Lastly, collaboration has become a significant aspect of my journey as an entrepreneur. While I initially built my business on my own, I learned the value of collaboration when joining Impact Brixton. Collaborative resilience provides the strength to survive and thrive, as I can rely on and support others within a strong network. Research has consistently shown that having a strong network of support, whether it’s family, friends, or peers in the business community, plays a crucial role in enhancing resilience. These networks offer valuable emotional and practical support during challenging times.

To cultivate a resilient network, I consider the diversity of its members. It could be a group of like-minded business owners, a community with various ethnicities and backgrounds, or professionals from my industry. Regularly connecting with them, whether online or face-to-face, helps me stay innovative and gain different perspectives

Further Resources

I’m always on the lookout for new resources and knowledge about well-being and resilience. One valuable source I found is Carol Pemberton’s resilience questionnaire, which offers insights into overall life resilience. The blue zones and the Maori community’s approach to well-being in New Zealand have also been enlightening.

Building resilience as a business owner involves a combination of micro-strategies for well-being, reflecting on past successful experiences, and maintaining a supportive network of peers. I hope that this masterclass has been really useful for you. It’s been such a pleasure working with you and really wishing you well with your resilience.