Entrepreneurs

What resilience tells us about entrepreneurs

Fi Bendall /

What’s it called when you feel like crap and want to chuck it all in and go live in the jungle away from anything that even remotely reminds you of your bloody business, but still manage to drag yourself out of bed to get ready for a breakfast meeting even though you were up until 3am trying to sort out the latest minor mishap on this brainwave project you thought sounded like a brilliant idea but might actually have been a brainfart of epic proportions?

Resilience? Or insanity? Not entirely sure which. There’s probably some overlap there. I’ll go with resilience for now.

You can have the most brilliant idea in the world, a great team of people around you, and oodles of funding to go with it, but if you’re trying to build a world-class business as an entrepreneur, it’s almost entirely guaranteed to be a bumpy ride. You will have wonderful highs and some gut-wrenching lows — sometimes all in the one day.

I’ve been on that rollercoaster ride for the past 18 months or so since launching The Female Social Network. I must say the highs have outnumbered the lows, but at times it feels like every fibre of my being has been tested. Mentally, emotionally and physically, it can feel like you’re running a marathon at sprint pace. The experience makes you think about the reserves you have to give. What is driving you on? What keeps you going? Why are you doing this?

According to a recent survey, outlined in the report ‘Gender Differences in Entrepreneurship’, around 600 entrepreneurs and the same number of venture capital investors ranked resilience/perseverance as the most important attribute for a successful entrepreneur.

As the authors of the report note: “It seems that all respondents agree that it’s tough to be an entrepreneur and that those bound for success will need to be prepared to overcome many hurdles — hence the high ranking of ‘Resilience’.”

Resilience is that nagging voice in your head telling you to stop putting off that inevitable phone call you have to make. It’s the angel on your shoulder whispering inspirational quotes in your ear so you can dust yourself off to fight another day. It’s the devil on the other shoulder encouraging you to dare to do what others are saying you shouldn’t. Resilience is sitting down with your chief operating officer and giving your full attention to details that, in the ordinary course of life, would put anyone to sleep in a matter of minutes.

I can’t tell you where exactly resilience comes from or how to get it.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I can be pretty damn stubborn! Maybe that’s it?

But I like to think some of it has to do with being passionate about what I’m doing. I am truly excited about this journey I’m on. It’s a rollercoaster ride at times, but something deep down inside of me keeps telling me to hang in there, to hold on and enjoy the ride. Maybe that’s resilience.

NOW READ: The nine skills you need to get ahead at work

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Fi Bendall

Fi Bendall is chief executive of The Female Social Network and a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence, who was described by CEO Magazine as 'The CEO's Secret Weapon'. An expert and pioneer in digital strategy, she has over 23 years’ experience in the digital and tech sectors.

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