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Business Resilience Through Stoic Principles

How are you building business resilience? It’s a topic many business owners know all too well, but have you explored it enough? Have you considered building business resilience through Stoic principles?

That’s right. This time we’re getting philosophical.

But wait! Don’t click away just yet – it’s not what you think. Getting philosophical isn’t about sitting in an old library with a dusty book and eyeglass searching for the meaning of life.

Discovering business resilience through Stoic principles isn’t as complicated or intimidating as it may first appear. 

No matter where I clicked on my search for business-y guru tips on leadership and whatnot, I ended up down the rabbit hole of Stoicism. I’d been reading about it on-and-off for years, but now I feel is the time to dive deeper with you on this week’s PPMP Podcast.

For all you psychologists out there, I’m sure this episode will get your minds tingling. And for all those who aren’t that interested in philosophy, get excited to discover some new perspectives that may have never crossed your minds.

My journey started with Ryan Halliday’s “The Obstacle is the Way”. He gets into some of those Greek philosophers from thousands of years ago. And it is from those philosophers that the idea of Stoicism came to be.

So, what does that have to do with business?

I realised that the notion of Stoicism truly underpins much of what we currently think about in modern times – just with some different labels. 

 

The Four Virtues of Stoicism

In order to understand how Stoicism can build resilience in your business, you must know its four main virtues. 

Wisdom, Self-Discipline, Justice, Courage.

The other part of Stoicism is also Understanding, meaning that you understand what you can control and what you can’t control too. You also understand what you can be emotionally affected by and how you can manage your responses.

Resilience is all about bouncing back. 

That’s why Stoicism is such an interesting philosophy to relate back to business. It sits with belief structures around being able to understand how to respond to situations based on what you can control. 

And when you learn to focus on what you can control, you can remain strong and resilient in your business.

 

Locus of Control

This concept centres around the idea that we can have sole control over our lives. It comes in two parts: External and Internal.

People who have an external locus of control believe that their lives are shaped by external forces. Things like chance, fate, and people in positions of power can determine the outcomes in their lives.

On the other hand you’ve got internal locus of control. This is where you believe that you have control over life events, environments, and outcomes. 

Think of them like two ends of a continuum. 

Most people actually fall smack-bang between the two extremes. 

 

Internal Locus of Control

There are certainly advantages to having an internal locus of control, which I delve much deeper into on the Podcast.

But in the meantime, let’s take a quick look of how it works in relation to your business.

You:

  • Make things happen for yourself
  • Take responsibility for your own performance
  • Have a high degree of self-efficacy
  • Believe in the power of being able to change things for yourself
  • Have a willingness to invest in personal wellness, like physical and mental health 

Sounds pretty good, right?

An internal locus of control can also be viewed in parallel with leadership. I know many allied health business owners who are working hard on their personal leadership, team leadership, and business leadership as well.

It definitely gets me thinking: How are you owning your time?

You truly have ownership over your communication, commitments, and how you present your ideas within your business.

 

Wading Through Your Thoughts

When was the last time you picked up a journal and wrote in it?

No, I’m not talking about your work diary.

I’m talking about a journal dedicated to exploring your own thoughts. Meditation and journaling are some of the best methods for reflection, if not the best.

The work of the Stoics involved disciplines of meditation and reflection, like journaling, drawing, mapping, and documenting faults.

Let’s be real: They had me at journaling.

Who knew that the glorious act of journaling was thousands of years old? Even then, they understood the simple, yet extremely effective activity of capturing thoughts by putting pen to paper.

 

Visualising Your Fears

This probably sounds like the last thing you want to do. 

I’ll admit, the saying “face your fears” has become so overused it’s lost a bit of its meaning. So that’s why I’m changing it up. Or rather, Tim Ferris is.

Visualisation is nothing new, by negative visualisations are not what we’re typically accustomed to.

He opened my eyes to the activity of Fear Setting. Yep, instead of Goal Setting, you’re setting your fears and laying them out to see as bright as day.

You’re bringing your fears into the light. You’re setting a goal of the worst possible thing that could happen to you.

What’s the benefit of that?

Well, by making yourself aware of those fears you can fully understand their impact. You can get them out of your head which leaves more room to think clearly and free from fear. 

When you understand what to do to prevent those fears from happening, you can get an incredible perspective on the things you’re doing in your business that are actually preventative.

 

 

Now, it’s time to get writing. Take out a pen and paper (you can get a nice journal with fancy pens later) and write these questions down:

How does…

 

  • Wisdom show up in the way you do life and business?
  • Self-Discipline show up in the way you do life and business?
  • Justice show up in the way you do life and business?
  • Courage show up in your business and personal life?

 

Understanding business resilience through Stoic principles can help you identify difficult situations and necessary conversations.

It brings new and fresh perspectives and a certain profile of emotional intelligence (which is a subject I want to save for another episode, so stay tuned).

Stoicism provides a sense of rationality through being able to take an objective view of problems. That’s where you can gain resilience in your business, because you can take on challenges with a level head and positive outlook.

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