Mental resilience is known as “Bottom” to folks from Yorkshire

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It’s a tough old world out there and although Emma Lawton from HŪF Design thought at least twice before setting up her own business, she believes strongly in the SKŪP.  Like her father before her she is determined to succeed.

They say it takes 10 years for a company to gain traction although the government concentrates its financial help towards fast growth start ups. When my Dad set up his company having been made redundant, I was about 12. He would work out in the leaky, old, wooden garage in the back yard and he continued like that for 7 years until he was turning over enough to rent a damp basement of an old mill building in Halifax. He worked on his own; often long hours, lifting heavy weights all by himself and using dangerous machinery even though there was no one else around, because he had to. There was one instance when he nearly cut his thumb off with a circular saw. None of this stopped him. Mum and Dad were the most amazing people and achieved such a lot. One thing they had in bucket loads was courage and mental resilience (or Bottom as they say in Yorkshire). Theirs are big boots to fill.

It’s a tough old world out there, not least if you’re an entrepreneur. Very often I find myself wondering what on earth I’m playing at running my own business. I have very few of the desirable traits of an entrepreneur. And yet, I couldn’t bear to walk away. The adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit” echoes round my head like Storm Emma’s winds whistled round the corners of my house. By ‘walking the talk’ mental toughness can be developed and here are some of the ways that you can achieve that.

1.     Eat the Frog

It’s very easy to procrastinate over something you’ve been dreading doing. In my experience, those things you have been dreading are nowhere near as bad as you expected and once completed were either nowhere near as bad as you thought, or, having done it, you can pat yourself on the back for having got it out of the way.

2.     A quitter never wins and a winner never quits

Remember that you have never failed until you give up. A winner never quits as the saying goes. It’s easy to allow your confidence to be knocked when (I was going to say if, but it’s when, definitely when) things don’t go as planned. But there is so much out of your control that events will always take an unexpected turn. These times are not failures but lessons we need to learn from.

3.     You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it

In order to see things for what they really are we need to take a step back and see things from a different perspective. There’s a scene in the film, Dead Poets Society where Robin Williams asks his students stand on their desks to change their perspective. Thomas Edison’s business burned to the ground in 1914 in a terrible fire. His reaction was to fetch his family and friends to marvel at the incredible fire and be happy that they had got rid of a lot of rubbish. If we can change our perspective we will be able to react appropriately.

4.     I’m a woman, I’m supposed to change my mind

Mental toughness is not the same as stubbornness. Stubbornness can lead to failure. Sometimes the right response is to change direction completely and adapt quickly. Your plan may change, but your goals should always be the same.

Like I say, I have very few of the desirable traits of an entrepreneur. I hate my own company and I’m stubborn to boot. I can properly dig my heels in! The difference between stubbornness and determination is the ability (or lack of it) to adapt to market changes. It has taken me three years to realise that I really should offer a pink SKŪP and maybe even other colours. Also, I have a tendency to take things very personally so I have to be very firm with myself and recognise that business is business.

What I do have is a belief in my product and I love meeting people. It’s not hard to sell the SKŪP because I know it’s good.

Knowing that I don’t have all the traits of an entrepreneur did make me think twice (at least) about starting my own business. It was my business mentor who asked me to consider what in life is perfect.