How To Grow Your Business – But Not In The Way You Might Think

(you can also listen to the podcast version of this post)

You’re excited to grow your business and start designing your life. But, occasionally, you feel discouraged and blindsided by new obstacles in your path. 

The answer isn’t to avoid obstacles – that’s impossible. In life, things rarely go as planned. 

No, the answer is to build your resilience so that when you meet those obstacles, you’re mentally prepared for it, you have faith that you can tackle it and then quickly recover from it, cheerfully moving on to the next thing on your to do list. 

By tackling obstacles and breaking through to the other side, you’ll have every right to be exhausted. But, you need strategies to bounce back quickly – because the work to grow your business is never really done. 

After all, how can you grow your business if you run out of steam? 

“Growth at all costs” and “go fast and break stuff” attitudes have their place, perhaps. But, for the side-hustler who still has their day job, the artist who puts her heart and soul into her craft, or the small business owner who’s struggling in this economy, I don’t believe that’s a productive mindset. 

No, this is about growth you can sustain – for your business and your life. 

Sure, you want to make six figures and have a thriving enterprise – so do I. Absolutely. But, that won’t happen overnight, so you and I will have to put in the work to get there. 

So, what do you want to be true along the way? 

I believe, to grow your business, first, you need to build your capacity for growth. You need to build your resilience as an entrepreneur. 

321 Liftoff | How To Grow Your Business – But Not In The Way You Might Think

WHAT IS RESILIENCE? 

Resilience is, of course, your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s also defined as the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. 

If you’re starting something new, then you know the feeling – just when you get into a rhythm, something flies in and knocks you off course, distracting you, and sucking away all of your creative momentum. 

But, what if it didn’t knock you off course? What if you could acknowledge it, handle it, and then keep going? That’s what resilient entrepreneurs can do – which makes it more likely that they can sustain and grow their businesses. 

Resilience, therefore, is also personal. It requires some self-awareness and looks different for each of us because we’re each triggered by different things. 

With intention and practice, like everything else, resilience is a muscle you can strengthen. 

321 Liftoff | How To Grow Your Business – But Not In The Way You Might Think

RESILIENCE IN PRACTICE

Before Covid, I hosted my first in-person workshop. I was so proud of it. It was at a brewery in Minneapolis. I designed some great group activities with printed materials – I even selected the kind of paper I wanted. I bought sticky notes, name tags, and extra pens. The setup was beautiful. 

And, only four people showed up. 

A previous version of me would have freaked out, felt embarrassed, and given up. 

But, that’s not what happened. 

Instead, I kept a cool head and facilitated the session as planned. And, when I got home, I walked over to my desk to reflect on the event. As I sat down, I opened a piece of paper I had left for myself, hours earlier. It said: 

“Tonight was an experiment and you learned a lot from it – congratulations, you just hosted a real live workshop. You made awesome content and people liked it. You did something risky and stretched outside of your comfort zone. No matter who showed up tonight, you won – because you played full out and left nothing on the field. Now, do a five minute meditation, make some tea, and relax. Tomorrow, the work begins again.”

I wrote that to myself because I knew myself. I knew that my usual reaction to unexpected obstacles is frustration, anger, and yes, occasionally, pouting, 

And, I was able to keep my cool and go on with the show because I had mentally prepared for the entire thing to be an experiment, that it wouldn’t be perfect, and that I would learn something from the experience. 

In short, I had to recognize my shortcomings and proactively plan to counter them when – not if – they came up. 

321 Liftoff | How To Grow Your Business – But Not In The Way You Might Think

BUILD YOUR RESILIENCE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

My experience with the workshop was an exercise in building resilience and it followed a simple formula that you can follow too: 

Awareness + Action = Progress

Maya Angelou said: “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

That’s resilience – to accept that change will happen and to dust it off your shoulder, marching on, stronger for the experience (even grateful for it). 

And, that’s what you need in order to grow your business – the personal capacity for growth. For that, resilience is the key – to be steady in the face of obstacles, leveraging them as tools for your own growth and progress. 

Want more ways to build your resilience? Here are a few additional resources:

ONE MORE THING

Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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