Resilience and Entrepreneurship

There’s a concept in entrepreneurship that our only limit is how big we can dream. That if we can break those mental blocks, if we can truly believe it then anything is possible for us. But through all this we still have these beautiful, fallible, terribly human bodies. And humans burn out. I think it’s wonderful to fulfil your potential, but bigger isn’t always better, and so many people push for the stars hard and fast… and then fall and are too hurt to try again.

Grace Quantock — wellness provocateur, speaker, and entrepreneur — is currently taking registrations for her much-needed webinar, Building Resilience on Your Entrepreneurship Journey. Her webinar addresses building resilience and flexibility for strong sustainable enterprises, as well as creating a business that supports you, rather than drains you, and how to make change even in the midst of crisis. The webinar takes place on Thursday, 26th June, at 7pm GMT; you can find more information about this extraordinary event at her Building Resilience page. I’m honored to be featuring an interview with this extraordinary woman today.

How would you describe — in one sentence — the concept of resilience in business?

To me, resilience in business is not about resisting the struggles that come with entrepreneurship, but about moving with them — then growing kinder and stronger through the process.

What inspired you to speak about this topic? What helped to form your original ideas?

I was a guest lecturer at a university and had been asked to speak on supporting vulnerable children, informed by my experiences as a child with illness and working with children with illness (I’d volunteered with children and young people with chronic and life-limiting illness for six years).

Before the lecture, I was speaking to the tutor about our concepts of illness, and the work of Dr Bernie Siegel’s work with “exceptional cancer patients.” As I outlined my plans on supporting children with illness, she said — “Oh, you’re talking about resilience!” I said, “Am I really? Well, that’s super.” It was the first time I’d come across resilience as a concept, but it seemed that was the word I’d been searching for to describe this aspect of my work.

I practice resilience from the point of view that it’s not a mystery; resilience is a quality that we have, and can choose to develop and accentuate. Just as mindfulness has become a more known and practiced concept, so, too, resilience is following. Resilience is wonderful because it can provide an aspect of prevention and treatment in one. When you set out to build resilience, you are not only doing the “future you” a favor, but you are also helping to repair secondary pain and stress from previously painful and inflexible situations.

The Resilience Lecture first appeared as your presentation at the Hay Festival. What was that experience like? Did you speak to anyone after your talk about entrepreneurship and resilience — was there feedback that enhanced your thoughts on resilience?

It was such a wonderful experience and I was delighted to be invited to premiere this work at Hay. The audience was engaged, and many expressed passions for sustainable social entrepreneurship.

The talk sold out, which was such an honor, and I think speaks to the interest in resilience in entrepreneurship. The main feedback I had after the talk was requests for more information and to speak at other events.

I think the struggles in entrepreneurship are often passed over, as if when we don’t mention them, they somehow won’t hurt us. But I believe in the world we are building together, and I think the planet needs us all — I don’t want to see people’s unique contribution disrupted by burnout. Life can hit us hard, but it’s possible to learn how to bend under the strain, rather than break. It takes so much less energy to move with the pain, rather than to rebuild and start over every time a crisis occurs.

I’m excited to hear your thoughts about resilience and social enterprise during your webinar — is there a basic framework to the idea of business-related resilience that you can speak about here, or just one concept that someone can take away?

Thank you, I’m so excited to offer it! And yes, of course. I think one of the most important concepts is cultivating personal awareness. Resilience is founded in awareness. Be aware of what’s going on in you as well as your business. I expect you know your Google Analytics data, your sales numbers, and your bank balance, but do you know your personal numbers — your energy levels, what thoughts you spend the most time with, at what times you are most able to connect/speak, and when you want to hibernate and process?

How much does the work cost you – not just in time or money, but in energy and emotion too. Are you budgeting for a healthy you? If not, check in with how that’s affecting you, and whether you can spend a little more time and energy on yourself to build a sustainable and compassionate business and life.

What’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs do that decreases their resilience?

That’s such an interesting question — I would say that it’s to overextend.

There’s a concept in entrepreneurship that our only limit is how big we can dream. That if we can break those mental blocks, if we can truly believe it, then anything is possible for us. But through all this, we still have these beautiful, fallible, terribly human bodies. And humans burn out. I think it’s wonderful to fulfil your potential, but bigger isn’t always better, and so many people push for the stars hard and fast — and then fall, and are too hurt to try again.

I think instead there’s something about leaning into contentment and where we are now. Accepting what we can do at the moment, and working within that — because really, that’s the only way change is made.

We have some huge business plans, but we aren’t pursuing them now; we may not for some years, or we may step the ideas down and do things more gently. I love my work, but I won’t risk my health for some mythical version of “success” that an outside source confers upon me. That would be the opposite of what I’m teaching. I need to live a resilient life to be able to keep doing what I do and live well as I do it.


grace-quantockBio
: Grace Quantock is a wellness provocateur, writer, speaker and founder of The Phoenix Fire Academy and Healing Boxes CIC. She is thriving with multiple autoimmune illnesses and lives in south Wales. Read more at www.gracequantock.com | www.healing-boxes.com and follow Grace on Twitter: @grace_quantock.

& again, please visit Building Resilience on Your Entrepreneurship Journey. Grace’s webinar addresses building resilience and flexibility for strong sustainable enterprises, as well as creating a business that supports you, rather than drains you, and how to make change even in the midst of crisis. The webinar takes place on Thursday, 26th June, at 7pm GMT; you can find more information about this extraordinary event at her Building Resilience page.