3 surprising ways to prepare for failure

At best, you are courageous, energetic and persistent, with an intense drive to solve significant, wide-ranging problems to which you have committed yourself. But with the best entrepreneurs, if you don’t find a way to meet the challenges that will inevitably come your way, you face a very real risk of failure.

Entrepreneur and author Punit Dhillon says resilience is the key to overcoming the setbacks that are inherent in entrepreneurship, and believes this can be done by preparing ahead of time. Dhillon is the CEO and chairman of Skye Bioscience Inc., a publicly traded biotech company developing a new class of molecules for eye disease. He was recognized as one of the best CEOs of the PharmaVOICE 100 and a finalist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition. In her book, Catapult offers insight into how entrepreneurs can build resilience and turn obstacles into opportunities.

“No matter how successful they are, every entrepreneur has setbacks along the way,” said Dhillon. “By learning how to face the most common challenges before they happen, you can become the strongest and most resilient person you can be to successfully make a lasting impact in the world.”

1. Expect all circumstances to change

As an entrepreneur, things will inevitably happen to you that you didn’t expect. Instead of being surprised by unexpected problems, you can anticipate them and take steps now to change, adapt, and succeed.

“Things never turn out the way you think they should,” said Dhillon. “The timelines will be estimates and you will have to change the course of events to accommodate unforeseen circumstances.” You can help mitigate potential risks by considering different scenarios ahead of time and then planning what you’ll do if they arise. This will ensure that you are as prepared as possible to deal with whatever comes your way.

Problems are not uncommon when you strive for greatness. “Success depends on risk,” explained Dhillon, “meaning you can’t have one without the other.” No matter what happens, focus on getting there, but be open to the method by which you will get there. Your ability to keep a cool head and adapt calmly when things change unexpectedly is the key to success.

2. Be prepared for the inevitable long hours

Changing circumstances are one thing. Another common challenge is having to work long, hard hours to get something important done. “Sometimes we have to put in a lot of overtime to finish a work project or contract,” said Dhillon. “I’ve faced it for the last 20 years, and it just seems so much more intense each time.”

Dedicating long days to achieving an important goal is much easier when you believe in what you do and have good people around you. Moral support is invaluable, so make sure you have friends and co-workers to talk to who support your perseverance and motivation, rather than trying to force you to work less. Make sure you’re prepared too. “It always pays to be on top of your workload,” explained Dhillon. “Have a checklist of what needs to be done, take some time to sleep, and remember to breathe!”

In situations where things get out of hand, surrounding yourself with good people and making sure you’re prepared will make long hours more enjoyable. Remember that you love what you do, you chose this path, so there is no reason not to love long days working on your mission.

3. Stay healthy when away from home

Sometimes the challenge has more to do Where you work than When you work. Even though more business than ever is done remotely, many entrepreneurs still travel a lot. If you don’t prioritize making healthy decisions, Dhillon said, business travel can negatively impact your energy, health, and ability to get things done.

“For almost a decade, I got on a plane twice a week,” said Dhillon. “I’ve experienced delayed flights, detours, extreme weather conditions and even missed my flight while waiting at the gate because I had noise canceling headphones on and couldn’t hear the boarding announcement.” Whether you travel frequently or only a few times a year, Dhillon knows from personal experience how to stay healthy. “When I’m tired and away from home, the temptation to eat badly is everywhere,” he explained. “To feel my best, I focus on eating healthy and staying hydrated.”

Dhillon also suggested staying at a hotel with a gym and training once a day while you’re away, which “will do wonders for sleeping when you’re in different time zones.” Staying in the current time zone will help adjust your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall into a routine and maintain a high level of productivity, positively translating into work.

Adapt and build resilience

Prepare for setbacks ahead of time, anticipating a change in circumstances and welcoming changes. Be ready to work long hours to get through the challenges. Stay physically healthy, especially when traveling. Know that over time you will continue to experience everything that happens to you, and that experience will better inform you the next time something inevitably goes wrong.

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