As a busy business coach I often notice similarities in clients’ stories. A recurring theme is that after a difficult time the client often feels stronger and more up to rising to the challenge with something similar in the future. It can sometimes help to reframe the experience as a strengthening exercise. Just as muscles strengthen through being used, so do other, less visible aspects of ourselves.
Whenever I’m stuck at traffic lights or unexpectedly held up, instead of allowing irritation into my bloodstream, I practise patience, knowing that whatever it is inside me that keeps me calm is being strengthened. Of course I’m not always calm and occasionally practise my repertoire of rude words.
Like an indoor plant that needs occasional soft brushes of the foliage with the hand to develop core strength and simulate natural buffeting, I have noticed that we also need to flex our problem solving muscles, our ‘eating humble pie’ bicep, the ‘getting back in the saddle after a fall’ gluteus maximus and my favourite, the ‘seeing the funny side of a disappointment’ tendon.
Joking aside, the maxim that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, is much more useful to us in a tricky economic climate than when things are booming. As an aside, I sometimes wonder why we may not have noticed just how brilliant things were a couple of years ago before the banking crisis, but that’s another blog and will have to wait.
A few tips when going through challenging times:
- Keep in mind someone who has been through knock back after knock back – the classic is Eddison and his light-bulb experience.
- Speak to someone who will throw a positive, honest yet understanding light on the situation.
- Keep positive feedback in a folder, available when needed for a quick boost of confidence.
- Ask for help – it’s often surprising just how much good will there is out there to support the small business owner.
- Think in the long term and know that whatever you are going through will eventually end.
- Remember that sometimes we may have no influence on external challenges however we do have a direct influence on our response.
- Stay nimble, there are always more solutions than we can imagine. Logically this has to be true.
About Anne Francis
Anne set up her first business in 1985. She currently runs Carnival Consulting specialising in socially motivated business support and a fitness company Nia Norfolk. She regularly contributes to local media, is ambassador for Norwich Lanes, a Princes Trust mentor and on the committee of FSB.