Enjoy this week’s guest post from Becky Upchurch, founder of Higher Good Coaching.

If you are a small business owner, you already know that the process of launching, building, and scaling a business is full of challenges along the way. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, only about 50% of small businesses survive their first 5 years. While this may seem like a daunting statistic to those just starting out, I think it can actually be a great reminder to capitalize on as many assets as possible during those first 5 years.

What is the #1 business asset you may be neglecting? Resilience!

We as business owners are highly focused on success. Unfortunately, this often means that we take failure to heart. We may become easily frustrated when things don’t go our way, when the timelines we set don’t work out, or when something we’ve been working on doesn’t come to fruition quite as we’d hoped. Even worse, many of us internalize these frustrations. In doing so, we are holding on to negativity and most likely putting ourselves in a head space to be LESS productive in our efforts. The result? We can end up hurting our chances of success.

So what should we do instead? We should use our challenges, setbacks, and disappointments in a positive way, not by ignoring them or wishing them away but by learning how to use them to build resilience. You see, resilience allows us to recover more quickly from setbacks, refocusing us on moving forward rather than wallowing in mistakes. Because of this, resilience can become our #1 asset when it comes to building a successful business. In fact, I would argue that if you explored the personalities of the CEOs of the 50% of businesses that DO succeed for over 5 years, you would likely notice a trend of resilience among them.

We should use our challenges, setbacks, and disappointments in a positive way, not by ignoring them or wishing them away but by learning how to use them to build resilience. Click To Tweet

So now that we know WHAT to do, let’s look at HOW we do it:

Accept the factors within your control and let the rest go.

In any type of failure-based situation, we want to take the time to analyze what went wrong so we don’t repeat it. When these factors are within our control, we want to identify how we might approach things differently in the future in order to ensure a different, more positive outcome. However, if there were factors that were beyond our control, we must learn to let them go. Stop focusing on negative unforeseen circumstances. Stop trying to assess blame. Stop imagining things could have magically gone differently. Focus on the reality of the situation, identify what you need to do differently, and let the rest go.

Get out of your own head.

Feeling like a failure when things don’t go our way is a universal emotional response. The key is not letting it drag you down or interfere with what you’re trying to achieve. Too often, even after we’ve identified what went wrong and how to fix it, we may find ourselves thinking back on our mistakes, when and where we went wrong, etc. Even worse, we may get consumed by what others think of us, how our failures have made us look, etc.

Yet there are NO positive outcomes that can be created from that type of thinking. Guilt, embarrassment, and fear are not emotions that foster success, so we need to get out of our own heads if that’s where they’re taking us. Get the thoughts down on paper, share them with a trusted friend, or work through them with a coach; just be sure you don’t hang onto them. Only when you’ve released them can you move on to the most important step in building resilience.

Focus on forward momentum.

What we focus on is what we invite into our lives. So instead of focusing on past mistakes or failures, we need to focus on the outcomes we want. Once you’ve identified the things you could have done differently and thought about what you need to change going forward, you just need to DO them. Action is the catalyst for momentum, so if you want to move forward, you need to get moving. The more focused action you take in the direction of your goal, the more you increase your chances of success.

Remember that practice makes perfect.

The great thing about cultivating resilience is that it is just like any other skill; it can be learned over time. This means that it’s okay if you don’t do things perfectly the first time. It also means that the more you practice the process, the better you become with navigating it. Eventually, if you work on it enough, it just becomes a part of who you are and how you navigate your life and business.

The next time you feel stuck, disappointed, or frustrated by a situation, think about how you might use it to your advantage. Instead of seeing it as a setback, start seeing it as an opportunity to build resilience and grow even stronger as a business owner. Because at the end of the day, your ability to be resilient as you navigate all the twists and turns of small business ownership just may be the #1 asset to support your success!


Becky Upchurch is a Transition and Growth Coach and the founder of Higher Good Coaching. She partners with professional women who are ready to move from fear, uncertainty, and inaction to a place where they are proactively creating sustainable change that supports the lives they truly want.

Those interested in connecting with Becky are encouraged to join The Women’s Growth Circle, her Facebook community for growth-minded women looking for support, inspiration, resources, and community along their journeys. You can also find her on Instagram or contact her directly via email at Becky@highergoodcoaching.com.