Learn to keep your chin up when chips are down

In a world where negativity thrives, one can easily slip into a downward spiral of anxiety and depression because of rejection, failure and challenges faced.

Everyone goes through highs and lows, whether you are in business or not.

I have had my fair share of challenges in life and as an entrepreneur, but my faith has carried me through these difficult times.

It has given me the strength to persevere and the wisdom to take appropriate and consistent action, despite trying times.

Here are a few lessons that I have learnt that may assist you, in navigating your way through the storms of 2020, so that you can rise above them.

You always have a choice on how you react to a negative situation or event. No one is exempt from rejection or failure.

Choose to react differently to negative news. See it as an opportunity to turn a negative situation into something positive by being a catalyst for change.

Choose to be part of the solution and not the problems in society.

In business, this is no different. You may receive negative feedback time after time but it should not end there.

For example, business proposals may be declined, but this should not deter you from pursuing the next opportunity.

Ask for feedback as to why your business proposal was not selected. Reflect on the reasons and use this feedback as input to improve your product or service.

View failure as being part of your personal and business growth.

I remember as a child, getting on my bike and falling quite a few times, before being able to actually cycle on my own.

If I had to quit because of my first fall, I would never have been able to ride my bike today.

Falling and failing was part of my growth. I believe that failure is part of your growth, as a person and also in business.

It’s okay to fail. If we don’t, we may never stretch our own capabilities to what might seem impossible at first glance.

Learn from your mistakes and take action to improve as an individual and likewise to improve your business operations too.

Choose to not be a victim of your circumstances.

I grew up in Steenberg, on the Cape Flats. Growing up, my mother always reminded me to work hard.

She would tell me: “My girl, what you put in is what you will get out.”

I am truly grateful to my parents for their role in instilling a strong work ethic in me.

I viewed hard work and having an education as my way out. I had a burning desire not to be a victim of my circumstances and the belief that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Despite bursary applications being declined, we made a way.

Today, I have my Master’s degree in Human Resources Cum Laude and have achieved a number of milestones over the years, including in my own Human Resources consulting business, EmpowerLink Services.

My most recent achievement, was being recognised by the Western Cape government, as the winner of the 2019 Western Cape Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards, for the Woman-Owned Business category.

One of my favourite quotes, is by our late president, Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible, until it is done.”

This is my encouragement to you. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Where there is a will, there is a way. Believe in yourself.

Surround yourself with people that have a positive outlook despite circumstances

I am blessed to have a number of people in my life that I can turn to in good and bad times.

Surround yourself with people that can help you to remain hopeful and guide you when adversity comes your way.

Take time out as it helps you to shift your focus off the negative and the busyness of life.

It allows you to recharge your batteries, as they say. Whether it is for an hour, a day or a weekend, take some “me time”.

Have some time to relax and just be present in the moment.

Even if it is just listening to music or going for a walk during your lunch break at work.

Make an effort to take time to relax, doing the things you love.

Exercise to relieve stress.

I found exercise to be a useful way to de-stress and re-energise. Not to mention, having other great health benefits for you. If you don’t belong to a gym, go for a brisk walk. It costs you nothing, but your time.

Create a log of all the things you are grateful for and your milestones

I started journaling a few years ago and it is a great way to clear your thoughts.

List the things you are grateful for and your milestones achieved on a daily basis. This could help you to remain hopeful and see how far you have come, when the going gets tough.

In closing, I wish to encourage you to remain hopeful. Out of adversity could be new possibilities that can unleash your potential.

This article by entrepreneur Terine Lott-Cupido is in place of our monthly column by Steve Reid, manager of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at False Bay College.