Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I do a lot of reading around the web and I devour business-related books and blogs. One of the themes that is arising again and again lately, in all the business literature, is resilience. More than ever, employees, entrepreneurs, and entire companies depend for their survival on resilience — the ability to bounce back from failure, to recover from setbacks or disappointments.
Writers are no exception. Resilience is something we all need to develop. This isn’t just one more thing we’re telling writers they have to do or have to be. It’s not personal. Resilience is an ability that everyone, everywhere — at least anyone trying to make a living — needs to develop if they want to pursue success.
In today’s business environment, things change rapidly. Bombshells are everywhere. Publishing is simply part of the larger picture of a volatile environment. Rather than wring our hands when publishers’ imprints shut down, or when our books don’t become bestsellers, or our queries don’t garner the responses we hoped, we have to bounce back. We must refuse to be deterred by setbacks.
Maybe it’s a cliché. Maybe you already knew this. But I think it’s worth acknowledging that writers are not the only ones whose path is difficult and fraught with change, rejection, and disappointment. We are a part of a wider landscape. Perhaps that can make it easier to accept.
But how do we develop resilience? Well-known Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter gives us an insightful answer: “Complacency, arrogance, and greed crowd out resilience. Humility and a noble purpose fuel it.”
I’ve seen examples of this so many times. The writers who cannot bounce back from disappointment are usually the ones who feel entitled, or who are greedy for success, or who are too tired to give it another go. Writers who believe in their ultimate purpose for writing — who have goals more lofty than money or fame or bestselling status — are the ones who find the strength to dust themselves off and keep going.
Kanter also writes: “Resilience draws from strength of character, from a core set of values that motivate efforts to overcome the setback and resume walking the path to success.”
So the way you develop that skill of resilience is to go back to your values and your purpose, again and again. Do not let yourself get caught up in setbacks. Your motivation to continue will, I think, be proportional to the strength of your commitment to your ideals.
I believe you can intentionally grow your own resilience. Practice it whenever something disappoints you. Remind yourself of your larger purpose. Stay humble. When you feel entitled or like you “deserve” success, be angry for a few minutes, then re-focus on your goal. Ask yourself if, in light of this latest development, you need to change anything.
If we don’t develop resilience, I think we’ll develop bitterness. And I don’t think we’ll find the success we’re looking for. (Agents are no exception.)
Setbacks, surprises, and difficulties are around every corner. Resilience isn’t the only skill writers need, and it may not even be the most important skill — but without it, most of us will not reach our goals.
How is your level of resilience? What experiences have helped you develop it? In what situations have you needed it lately?
Setbacks, surprises & difficulties are around every corner. Do you have resilience? Click to Tweet.
To develop resilience, go back to your values and your purpose, again and again. Click to Tweet.
If we don’t development resilience, we may develop bitterness instead, says @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
Quotes are from Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s article in Harvard Business Review blogs: Surprises Are the New Normal; Resilience is the New Skill.