Building your Resilience with MindFrame Connect

Framework curated by Luke DeCoste, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and MindFrame Connect Advisor

Launching MindFrame Connect’s Resiliency Stream with Dr. Michael A. Freeman

Improved endurance and increased energy are valuable offers for founders on the rocky road of entrepreneurship. This is exactly what Dr. Michael A. Freeman argues entrepreneurs can create by intentionally building their resilience.

As a psychiatrist, serial entrepreneur, and researcher of entrepreneurial well-being at UC San Francisco, Dr. Freeman knows how hard entrepreneurship can be and has identified several strategies for easing the journey.

Given his expertise, MindFrame Connect could not be more excited to have Dr. Freeman help launch our resiliency stream alongside the new video content. As you listen to Dr. Freeman share advice on how to build resilience, ask yourself two questions:

  1. First, what are the ways you’re already building your resilience?
  2. Second, what else could you add to your effort to build resilience?

As entrepreneurs, we know how difficult it can be to focus on taking care of yourself. There are so many urgent demands when building a company, that our own personal well-being is often ignored. The ups and downs of venture-building can last a decade or more, however, so building resilience is one of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of both professional and personal success. Which is one of the main reasons we founded MindFrame Connect – to make it easier for entrepreneurs to build the psychological ability to succeed.

To do that, we’re working with experts, like Dr. Freeman, who study resilience in high-performance domains such as entrepreneurship, competitive sports, and military operations. This will be coupled with our own internal research and experience training hundreds of entrepreneurs. Through video content, immersive workshops, assessments, and other learning tools, we’re using these insights to support entrepreneurs in building their companies. If you or your team would benefit from this, please sign up here.

Dr. Freeman’s talk, which provides a dense series of proven strategies for building resilience, is an excellent example of the work we’re doing.  Freeman’s strategies overlap heavily with the ideas MindFrame Connect is building into our ever-evolving model for entrepreneurial resilience.

Dr. Freeman’s guidance crosses four domains - behavioural, social, emotional, and cognitive. We’ve highlighted some of our favourite suggestions from his talk below and hope you find new ones to add to your repertoire.


On the behavioural side, Freeman first highlights the importance of getting a full night's sleep, which is made easier by regular sleep and wake times, and exposure to natural light.

Exercise is also important - as effective as anti-depressants in fact. Freeman suggests exercising 45 minutes to an hour every day.

He also notes how we were designed to live outdoors in a natural environment. The more we recreate this in our life, the more resilient we will be. This ranges from being outside when we can to having natural materials or imagery in your home.

Last on the behavioural front, Freeman argues we need to refresh by taking breaks during the day, and by taking vacations where you unplug and recharge.


Even though they’re constantly engaging with others, most entrepreneurs will experience a lot of loneliness, which can easily undermine well-being. Entrepreneurs need to pro-actively build social connections into their lives. In addition to fostering healthy work relationships, Freeman notes it is important to connect regularly with people where the relationship focuses on you as a person, not you as an entrepreneur.

This means being intentional about staying connected to a wider circle of people whom you have shared interests with. Freeman’s last suggestion here - being kind to other people, not only makes you a better person, but it also makes you more resilient, and more effective.


The emotional realm is all about keeping your “alarm system” turned off, according to Freeman. MindFrame Connect is currently helping entrepreneurs do this through our workshops that help you practice this type of emotional regulation. Freeman suggests several tips for this such as using mindfulness techniques like meditation, staying optimistic and open-minded, and cultivating a sense of gratitude. Finally, he notes that pets are an effective way to help stay positive.


Freeman’s suggestion that we “not believe everything we think” highlights the automatic and occasionally unhelpful nature of our thoughts.  From an early age, our brains start identifying patterns that let us react automatically. This helps us make decisions easier, but also makes us more close-minded. When we couple this with what neuroscientist Dr. Rick Hanson calls our built-in “negativity bias” we begin automatically focusing on the negative. Increasing our self-awareness is a key step in addressing these mental patterns. For example, our upbringings and recent history can all contribute to the types of mental patterns we have.

These automatic mental patterns can result in catastrophic thinking patterns where we are constantly scanning for potential negative outcomes. Entrepreneurs have a particular balance here, as it is important to constantly be scanning for business risks. This however can activate your “alarm system,” something we’re actively trying to avoid.

To help with this, Freeman advocates working to change the narrative – otherwise known as cognitive reframing. Most situations have solutions that are more positive in nature, and we should focus on those, according to Freeman. It can also help to take a more panoramic view – looking at the big picture. Overall, you’re looking to adopt an attitude of neutrality and curiosity to situations, as opposed to automatically making negative judgements.  Two approaches that can help here are mindfulness and stoicism, ideas we will return to at MindFrame Connect.

The final idea from Freeman is to cultivate a sense of identity outside your business. This can help you navigate difficult times by not seeing your business challenges as personal failures.  This concept relates closely to Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset, another concept we will return to at MindFrame Connect.


Resilience is a core coping strategy for building companies, a journey that will be replete with ups and downs. We hope the above gave you a sense that you’re well on your way and provided some helpful tips for increasing your resilience. As the more resilient you are, the more effective you'll be in both your personal and professional lives.  

To continue building your resilience, sign up here to stay informed on MindFrame Connect’s work.

External Resources

  • BDC: Canadian Entrepreneur Mental Health and Well-Being Report (Link)
  • What Having a Growth Mindset Means (Link)
  • Cognitive Reframing - How to Reframe Situations So They Create Less Stress (Link)
  • Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience (Link)
  • What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (Link)
  • What Every Entrepreneur Can Gain From Mindfulness (Link)
  • Confronting the Negativity Bias with Dr. Rick Hanson (Link)
  • Entrepreneurial Resilience - Oxford Encyclopedia of Business and Management (Link)

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