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Jun 12, 2015

7 Habits That Build Resilience

Challenging situations are opportunities for growth and improvement. You learn a lot about yourself when the going gets tough and these situations are lessons that help you succeed in business and life. What you build along the way is resiliency, an important character trait for your success. Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt to and overcome stressful situations. By that definition, an entrepreneur's life is an exercise in resiliency. Every day there are challenges that must be faced and overcome. But how you approach your life and build resiliency can make the difference between it feeling manageable or chaotic. The tips below will help you conduct your day with greater equanimity while helping you build your perseverance.
  1. Eat a sound diet: 
Studies repeatedly show that highly nutritious diets maximize energy, stamina, improve brain cognition, help mitigate the effects of stress and prevent disease. Evaluate your diet, making sure you're leaning heavily on plant-based foods such as vegetables, beans, fruit and nuts for their optimal nutrition and antioxidant benefits. Include lean protein for enhanced muscle tone and healthy brain function, particularly wild Alaskan salmon and eggs. The Omega-3 essential fats in salmon have been shown to be particularly good for brain health and egg yolks contain lecithin, which has been shown to enhance acetylcholine production, a neurotransmitter that allows for greater focus and concentration. 
2. Eliminate junk food: 
 If your go-to snacks are cookies, candy, chips or soda it may signal out of control stress levels. It is well documented that a diet high in processed, refined and sugary foods makes you prone to depression and anxiety, neither of which will help you rebound in tough situations. Once you start down the path of junk food for a fleeting boost in energy levels, you are eroding your resiliency, setting yourself up to be chronically overwhelmed. Make your office a junk-food-free zone and keep fruit, nuts, nut butters, sparkling water and green juice on hand instead. 
3. Exercise: 
 It's clearly established that exercise is better for managing mood disorders than anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. There is no greater neutralizer than a good sweat at the gym. Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your life and schedule it at least three times a week. For a greater bump in resiliency, make time for the gym on particularly busy days. This builds enormous mental strength and tenacity because you are essentially pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, letting yourself know that even with a demanding day, you are committed to your well-being. 
4. Plan ahead: 
 In addition to meetings and work load, plan your workouts and what you will eat every day. Taking a few minutes to plan your flow, will go a long way towards helping you stay on track, both in the office and at home. This small habit can make you as much as 90% more successful at hitting your mark. Think about it, if you've had a bad day and only quasi-committed to going to the gym, do you think you'll make it there? Writing it down will help you follow through, building resiliency. 
5. Manage stress: 
Stress is unavoidable, part and parcel of being human. But for an entrepreneur who is trying to build a business while managing a personal life, stress can feel out of control. This can lead to anxiety which in turn can lead to depression or other mood disorders, none of which are helpful. Eating well and regular exercise are enormously beneficial for stress management, so putting those two practices in place are priority number one. But if your stress level is out of control and the gym is just not cutting it, consider options like Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation or even just a 20 minute walk in nature if it's available to you. While you may think that stress is a fuel that drives you, it is actually fanning the flames of burnout. 
 6. Cultivate gratitude: 
When success is at hand, it is tempting to keep shooting higher, setting your sites on ever greater goals. While I completely encourage you to keep setting the bar higher, it is also important to stop and smell the roses sometimes and be grateful for all that you have achieved thus far. Gratitude can fuel even greater success. When you are thankful for your life as it is, everything beyond that is gravy, helping to cultivate a sense of contentment. This, in turn can help alleviate stress. Not only that, studies show that those who spend a little time in gratitude every day tend to be happier, sleep better and manage challenging times better. So give thanks for all you have and are right now... It might just lead to even greater success! 
7. See challenges as opportunities: 
 In his book, Business Brilliance by Lewis Schiff, (a must-read for entrepreneurs), he writes how extremely successful entrepreneurs possess a strong conviction that allows them to see every set back as an opportunity to learn something that they simply would not have learned any other way. Most super successful people have suffered some sort of major setback in their career. Rather than give up, they learned from it, went back to the drawing board and tried again, using their newfound understanding to make them even more successful. When you come up against adversity, take a minute to evaluate the situation, learn what you did wrong so you can make better decisions next time, and create a new plan to help you achieve your intended goal. There is no better way to build resiliency.