Framework curated by Erin Wynn, Education Manager, MindFrame Connect
Curtis VanWallegham is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hydrostor and is passionate about entrepreneurship and the development of a sustainable energy sector in Canada. As an entrepreneur, defining the importance of your work and clearly communicating that cause is integral to your success. Why is what you’re doing – in a new and different way than it has ever been done, important? This “North star”, as Curtis describes it, can help keep you grounded through the changes and challenges that are inevitable on the entrepreneurship journey.
“Don’t let your business totally consume you”
Resilient entrepreneurs have built systems and structures of care around not only their businesses, but themselves. By intentionally committing to your own personal wellbeing, you’re enhancing your long-term growth and success as an entrepreneur. Ventures fail, and entrepreneurs who are in it for the long haul understand that these failures and pivots offer keen insights and learnings. There is no question that entrepreneurship is an emotionally and mentally challenging vocation, so be thoughtful about what ways you can support your wellbeing throughout the journey. Our research shows the following as important resilience tools:
As Curtis mentions, a strong network of others on the same journey will be immeasurably helpful to you as an entrepreneur. The ability to talk to those who understand the unique path and pressure of venture building creates emotional and social supports that have been proven to support entrepreneurs in times of crisis (Doern, 2016).
Additionally, developing a healthy work-life balance where you have friends and family who support you beyond your role as an entrepreneur is extremely helpful to your mental health (BDC, 2022). Because these social supports offer safety and caring when failures or transitions happen, entrepreneurs are more resilient when they have meaning in several areas of their lives, not just in their ventures.
Resilient leaders engage in regular self-reflection following wins and losses to assess their own roles in those outcomes, what they would change for next time, and where they did well. Having a reflection practice increases resilience and improves future outcomes. Identifying their own role, that of team members, and that of external circumstances helps entrepreneurs develop more successful solutions and can keep you mentally focused on forward motion instead of ruminating on negative emotions or situations. Additionally, reflection practices help entrepreneurs more effectively assess what is within and beyond their control – a skill which will lead to more strategic direction.
Regular assessment of your stress levels, mental and physical wellbeing, and routine are necessary to develop your resilience tools. Knowing your base levels and identifying areas of growth, or areas where you’re doing great, will direct you to routine changes that support your overall health. Entrepreneurs often suffer from “time poverty”; the feeling that they are so busy, and their to-do lists are so long, that they are unable to focus on their wellbeing. Time poverty can be combatted by identifying what will best support your holistic wellbeing and creating strategies to protect time in your schedule and your life.
For more information on resilience for entrepreneurs, check out these links:
Practicing Resilient Leadership with Dr. Ellen Choi. MindFrameConnect
Why MIT is teaching entrepreneurs anti-fragility. MindFrameConnect
How to Build Resilience in Adults. Positivepsychology.com
We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.