What is the most critical factor that individuals and organizations need to succeed in any personal or professional challenge? Reflecting on my conversations with hundreds of people from California to Cleveland to Washington, DC and New York who have shared how the economy has impacted their businesses and personal lives, I believe the answer is resilience.
A strong, resilient spirit sparks the optimism, ingenuity, and foresight to explore new opportunities, adapt to a constantly changing marketplace, and see opportunity in the possibilities ahead.
Adversity happens. There are situations you cannot control, it’s how you react to them that counts. It’s how you try to foresee what might happen in the future and proactively plan that will see you through.
Inspiring. The stories that many of you have shared of how you not only coped but rose above difficult times to create new opportunities, such as:
- A company gradually grew a successful sustainability business line to balance their reliance on traditional manufacturing lines.
- An entrepreneur’s business no longer viable because of technology changes knew when it was time to close that business and focus on launching new promising ventures based on trends he sees.
- An association reassessed their value proposition and created compelling benefits as they saw new competing membership-based web sites move into their space.
- Senior professionals laid off after a decade or more of service chose to see it as an opportunity to explore new paths such as working for a nonprofit that inspires them or becoming an entrepreneur.
Change is always difficult (the stories of those who fail to foresee the need to change are legion from Blockbusters to Borders Book Stores), but resilience gives people and organizations the stamina and verve to make the leap. Resilience will see you through in a good or bad economy, and give you the fortitude to take things in stride, pick yourself up from the inevitable pitfall or wrong turn, and focus on what’s next.
What do you think are the most important ingredients for success?