Building resilience: How to bounce back from setbacks and adversity

Cope, rebound & grow

As a business owner, you know that success is never guaranteed. Even when everything seems to be going right, one small setback can have devastating consequences. That’s why building resilience is so important — to develop the skills and strategies necessary to bounce back from adversity and setbacks quickly and effectively.

Today, we’re setting our sights on how building resilience can help business owners stay focused on their goals even in times of difficulty or uncertainty. Whether it’s dealing with financial hardship, employee turnover or customer dissatisfaction, having a resilient mindset is essential to moving forward after being knocked down.

But before we get to some practical tips and strategies you can enact immediately, let’s take a moment to talk about what resilience actually is.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to cope with, rebound from, and grow from difficult situations. It can take many forms, such as:

  • Emotional resilience — The ability to manage stress in a healthy way
  • Physical resilience — The ability to stay physically healthy during challenging times
  • Mental resilience — The ability to think clearly and make decisions under pressure.
  • Spiritual resilience — The ability to stay grounded and connected to values in difficult times.

Situational definitions aside, it should be clear that building resilience is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. It requires the development of skills and strategies that help you remain focused on the future and maintain your sense of hope no matter what comes your way.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips and strategies to help build resilience in business owners.

Building resilience in work and in life

Building resilience is a journey, not a destination. It requires hard work and dedication, but the rewards are worth it. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Acknowledge and accept negative emotions

When faced with difficult times, it’s important to acknowledge and accept your feelings of fear, frustration, and sadness. Acknowledging and accepting these emotions will help you to process them in a healthy way. Research has actually shown that those who find ways to accept negative emotions report higher levels of well-being than those who try to push away or avoid their feelings.

Focus on things you can control

During times of adversity, it’s easy to focus on the things you cannot control. Instead, focus on what you can do and take action accordingly. This will help to keep your mind active and focused on solutions rather than problems. According to Cisco, businesses can focus on four key areas to in this regard:

  • Understanding the environment they’re in
  • Assessing their current abilities
  • Developing strategies for responding to change quickly
  • Investing in tech solutions that boost competitiveness

Resiliency is born out of adaptability and an overall ability to think on your feet.

Cultivate a growth mindset

Another avenue for building resilience is to cultivate a growth mindset. This means embracing challenges and seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow. People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are set in stone and cannot be changed.

According to a study done by Harvard Business Review, employees from a company that valued a growth mindset were 65% more likely to say the company supported taking risks and 49% were more likely to say the company encouraged innovation.

To cultivate a growth mindset, you have to reframe your thoughts and beliefs about challenges. Instead of seeing them as threats, you must see them as opportunities for growth.

Practice self-care

Self-care is crucial for building resilience. When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to handle the challenges and stresses of life.

Self-care can take many forms, such as exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, or engaging in activities you enjoy. It’s essential to make time for self-care and prioritize it, even during busy and stressful times.

This also includes taking care of your emotional needs. This means acknowledging your feelings and finding healthy ways to cope with them. Whether it’s talking to a friend, journaling, or seeking professional help, it’s essential to prioritize your emotional well-being.

Develop a support system

Building off of the last point, creating a support system is another crucial aspect of building resilience. Having people in your life who support and encourage you can help you overcome setbacks and bounce back from adversity.

A support system can include friends, family, mentors, or colleagues who share your values and goals. It’s important to surround yourself with people who lift you up and believe in you.

This also means being willing to ask for help when you need it. It’s essential to recognize that no one can go through life alone and it’s perfectly fine to ask for help when needed. Having a support system in place allows you to benefit from the strength and wisdom of your friends, family members or even professional therapists which will not only help you face hardships but also build resilience over the long term.

Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is another essential aspect of building resilience. When you set goals that are too challenging or unrealistic, you’re often setting yourself up for failure. This can undermine your confidence and make it harder to bounce back from setbacks.

To set realistic goals, you must first identify what you want to achieve and then break it down into smaller, achievable steps. You also have to be willing to adjust your goals as you encounter obstacles or setbacks.

Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is another powerful tool for building resilience. When you focus on the good in your life, you’re better equipped to handle the challenges and stresses that come your way. Gratitude can take many forms, such as keeping a gratitude journal, saying thank you, or simply taking a moment to appreciate the good.

Practicing gratitude also means reframing your thoughts and beliefs about setbacks and challenges. Instead of focusing on the negative, you can look for the lessons and opportunities for growth. By practicing gratitude, you can cultivate a positive outlook that makes for a more resilient worldview overall.

Embrace flexibility

Life is unpredictable, and setbacks and challenges can come at any time. By embracing flexibility, you can adapt to new situations and find creative solutions to problems. This means being willing to change your plans or approach when necessary and not getting too attached to a specific outcome.

Embracing flexibility also means being willing to take risks and step outside of our comfort zone. When you challenge yourself and try new things, you build your confidence. At the business-wide level, this might look like having a risk profile on hand for your company that’s up-to-date and provides a thorough understanding of where you’re at and what potentialities are on the tablet according to

Learn from setbacks and failure

Setbacks and failure are an inevitable part of life. However, it’s how you respond to them that determines your resilience. Instead of getting discouraged or giving up, you can learn from setbacks and failure and use them as an opportunity to grow and improve.

When you encounter issues, take a step back and reflect on what you can learn from the experience. This may involve analyzing what went wrong, seeking feedback from others, or experimenting with new approaches. By learning from setbacks and failure, you can develop new skills and strategies that will help you overcome future challenges — and possibly prevent similar issues.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for building resilience. When you practice mindfulness, you learn to be fully present in the moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help with stress and anxiety management and build emotional resilience.

In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, those who practice mindfulness can handle difficult emotions and stress more effectively.

Now, this practice can take many forms, such as meditation, deep breathing, or simply taking a moment to focus on your senses. A daily mindfulness practice can cultivate a sense of calm and clarity, which can help you make better decisions and overcome adversity with greater ease.

Building resilience is a daily practice

Building resilience is essential for achieving your goals and overcoming adversity. By following the tips provided here, you can develop the emotional and mental fortitude to bounce back from setbacks and achieve your business goals.

Remember, setbacks and challenges are a natural part of the learning process — and a guaranteed part of running a business. Truth be told, building resilience is a lifelong journey.

Thankfully, with the practical application of these tips, you can build resilience and achieve what you set out to do, no matter what obstacles you may face.

Art Martori
Art Martori thinks words are like chess pieces. While checkers might be more appropriate for the analogy, he’s aided by years of professional writing experience via mediums including content strategy, journalism and fiction. When he’s not typing on a keyboard, find Art strumming the 12-bar blues.