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Small Business Digest


Disasters Are Rare, Problems Are Everyday; Be Undefeated

Resilience is essential in business and in life. 

It is especially critical in building a small business where everyday problems may sap a leader’s strength.

Whether it be overcoming physical or emotional pain in order to reach a goal; an unexpected business setback involving investors, boards of directors, or team members; a catastrophic illness that throws everything into disarray; or problems with a major client; people do have the capacity to overcome most obstacles that are thrown in their path.

Alex Lickerman, M.D says, “To possess an undefeated mind means not just that we rebound quickly from adversity or face it calmly, even confidently, without being pulled down by depression or anxiety, but also that we get up day after day, week after week, month after month . . . and attack the obstacles in front of us again and again and again until they fall – or we do.  An undefeated mind isn’t one that never feels discouraged or despairing; it’s one that continues on in spite of it.”

Starting with the premise that all problems are solvable, Lickerman reveals the nine principles anyone can use to dramatically increase his or her inner strength, including:

The Meaning of Victory:  A look into the human desire to be happy; how to obtain benefits from adversity; why wisdom can bring an end to suffering.

Find Your Mission:  Identifying a personal mission; creating a sense of purpose; committing to that mission.  Lickerman believes that a business isn't the only thing that needs a mission statement.  He says that when the employees—from the mailroom clerk to the CEO—possess a personal sense of purpose that runs parallel to their company's mission, that sense of purpose will enable them not only to resist becoming discouraged when obstacles arise as they try to meet their business objectives, but also to make their greatest efforts to achieve those objectives because their company's goals and their personal goals will be one and the same.

Make a Vow:  Resolve and the ability to soldier on; identifying obstacles and overcoming barriers; steps for when self-confidence is undermined; persistence and success; avoiding distractions. In today's business environment, distractions abound, dramatically impairing productivity (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). By learning to muster up a great resolve to accomplish your goals, Lickerman says that you can learn techniques that make you distraction-proof.

Expect Obstacles:  Making use of adversity; examining the stories that individuals tell themselves; negative thoughts and the anxiety of uncertainty.  When a company sets ambitious targets (e.g., sales targets, revenue targets, etc.) obstacles always arise. By manipulating your expectations for how hard a particular goal will be, however, you'll be able to dramatically increase your likelihood of achieving it.

Stand Alone: The meaning of karma; moral transformation and dilemmas; authority, self-esteem, and the need to please. Lickerman says, “The more people to whom a task is assigned the less likely that task is to be accomplished. Learning how to engender a powerful sense of personal responsibility in individual employees will dramatically increase your company's productivity.”

Accept Pain:  Exploration of physical and emotional pain; acceptance and commitment therapy. Few goals worth achieving are achieved easily. But we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid legitimate pain. Learning how to accept difficulty, to accept pain, will paradoxically improve your ability to handle it, and increase your ability to achieve your goals.

Let Go:  Inevitability of loss; finding meaning in loss; self-compassion.  LIckerman states, “Sometimes certain business initiatives can't be accomplished—or you learn after traveling part-way down the path toward them that you shouldn't. Learning when to recognize when to abandon a goal is as important as learning when not to give up.”

Appreciate the Good:  Finding gratitude; maintaining gratitude; gratitude for obstacles. Being able to muster up a sense of appreciation is one of the keys to a happy life. It's also one of the keys to enjoying your job. Gratitude lists, however, work inconsistently. But few things will keep employees happy and productive as teaching them how to feel consistently grateful.

Encourage Others:  Measuring compassion; judging others . . .or understanding them; helping others to help oneself; the power of encouragement.  Lickerman says that reaching out to support others helps us, not only by making us feel better, but also by keeping all other parts of a business operating at maximum efficiency. Businesses are only as strong as their weakest link. But those weak links often need the support of the sections around them to become strong.

Muster Your Courage:  The benefits of fear; fear of death; the sense of self. We're wise to fear things that may harm us, but when we fear beneficial change or challenges, we limit the amount of growth a business might achieve. The degree to which a company can act courageously even while feeling fear may be the best predictor of its potential for growth.

Through stories of those who’ve used these principles to overcome suffering caused by unemployment, unwanted weight gain, addiction, rejection, chronic pain, retirement, illness, loss, and even death, Dr. Lickerman shows how to implement these principles and describes the tools needed to find the inner strength necessary to enjoy life.

Lickerman draws on personal experience, two decades of case studies drawn from his patients, scientific research, and the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism to show that while the ability to control what happens in life may be limited, people do have the capacity to establish a life that surmounts the suffering life brings.  Resilience isn’t something that only a fortunate few are born with, but rather something that everybody can take action-steps to develop.  His new book is called The Undefeated Mind:  On The Science Of Constructing An Indestructible Self.

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