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To Be Resilient or Not

A woman in pink sunglasses running a marathon

I recently had my first experience watching my hometown baseball team play a game. The Evansville Otters are in the Frontier League, an independent baseball league. As I sat in the benches enjoying this first experience with friends, I thought about the resilience a baseball player not playing for a Major League team must have to keep going after their dream.

The percentage of players that actually make it to Major League Baseball from the minors is only around 11%. Of course to be part of the other 89%, you have to make it into some type of feeder league and be pretty remarkable at that level.

I’m clearly not a baseball expert, but reading these stats, I had to wonder – why do so many still dream of being Major League players?

They have made the decision to persevere – “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." But more than that, they are resilient when you consider the amount of setbacks a person who dreams of playing in the MLB has.

In social and emotional intelligence, we define resilience as “perseverance and diligence in the face of setbacks."

It’s the extra element of “diligence” I want to dig deeper into – what does that mean? To me, it’s being careful and thorough in your perseverance. If we are careful, thorough, intentional, and we have thought through the steps to achieve that goal, we have a plan. We aren’t trying just anything to find the path to our dream. We have setbacks, but in our diligence, we reflect and explore what the next possibility is and adjust.

In my own entrepreneurial journey, it’s been a long road of doing, undoing, learning and adjusting, and I’m still chasing the dream! I have decided to be resilient but also realistic. During the pandemic, I had to take steps to balance chasing the dream and the reality that what I did was less marketable when businesses were more concerned about the health of their business and employees and tightened budgets.

As much as we think about the challenge an aspiring MLB player has – the percentage of entrepreneurs that succeed is surprisingly similar. So how do we decide to be resilient or not? When should we stick with something and keep chasing our dreams or face reality, stop, or pivot?

Being Resilient The decision to keep moving forward with your dream is personal. My intent is not to give you the signs of when to keep going or when to stop - it’s to help you be diligent in your thinking so that you make an informed decision based on your thoughts, experiences, and where you are in the journey.

Earlier this year, we discussed in our blog the impact Naysayers can have on us as we pursue our dreams. We need to listen to our own thoughts and feelings as we consider the answers to the following questions.

Consider these questions to help you see the realistic possibility of your pursuit and put it in perspective:

  1. What is the worst thing that can happen?

  2. Assess the probability of the worst case – how likely is it to happen?

  3. What is one thing I can do to help stop the worst thing from happening?

  4. Alternatively, and in addition, what is the best thing that can happen?

  5. Be creative and wildly optimistic - what is one thing I can do to make the best thing happen?

  6. What is the most likely thing that will happen?

  7. What can I do to handle the most likely thing if it happens?

Tony Robbins has famously said:

Stop Being Afraid of What Could Go Wrong, Start Being Excited about What Could Go Right.

When we assess the worst-case scenario, we have looked at what could go wrong and have anticipated as a result, and what we can do to make the best possible outcome be the result. This helps us become more diligent, which will take us from just persevering to being resilient.

When should we stop being resilient?

Again, this is very personal, but there will be clues if no amount of resilience will achieve the dream.

The biggest clue comes in the form of the cost to our health. To be resilient in the first place – whether your dream is to play Major League Baseball or to be an entrepreneur – you have to be able to commit the required hours and energy to the effort.

We might need to stop if the cost to our health is so severe that the cost outweighs any possible reward. The clues could be very apparent if you have a sports injury, but how does this show up if you’re chasing your entrepreneurial dream? Are you experiencing extreme levels of stress, low-energy, sleep deprivation, poor interpersonal relationships, depression, or other physical or mental symptoms?

If you receive a clue that continuing on the same path could have severe consequences to your health – you may need to stop or at least reassess. I’m never a proponent for quitting, but a negative impact to your overall health is cause for a pause.

Ultimately, you’re the one that must listen to what your body is telling you. Practice self-awareness by dedicating time each day, even if you can only carve out 10 minutes to intentionally look for clues as to how you are feeling both mentally and physically. Identifying the symptoms early will help you proactively implement activities that will support the level of resilience you need to achieve the dream.

Share with us your thoughts on resilience. Is there a time when you feel a person needs to stop chasing the dream? Tell us by commenting on the blog post by becoming a site member and subscribing.

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