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I was saddened to hear about the passing of Professor Stephen Hawking recently – but also inspired to read about his life and, most of all, about his resilience.

How inspirational to rise above the daily challenges of motor neuron disease to continue being a leading light in his scientific field, and take complex, mind-bending science out into the world and make it accessible to everyone. Well, almost. Even if we didn’t understand his books, most of us bought them.

His distinctive robotic voice that he used to communicate certainly made him memorable – but it was his ability to look at today’s science and make meaningful commentary on where it is taking us tomorrow that made his ideas so exciting. And when he covered topics like artificial intelligence – more than a little scary.

His resilience meant he had the self-confidence to believe in his abilities and was brave enough to take his science out into the wider world, where it could truly implement change.

The business of resilience

When you look at the definition of resilience, it is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”. It is, of course, important for a business to be resilient and to have the strength to adjust to the economic and social demands of its environment. But, I believe it is even more important for business owners themselves to embrace the power of resilience.

It is this personal resilience, as demonstrated by Hawking, that is encapsulated by successful business owners – people who have the ability to cope with failure and adapt so they learn from every experience.

Haines Watts’ For Love or Money research has shown that 52% of business owners say their family is the thing that re-motivates them to get back in the game when they lose the motivation to continue running their business.

Yet another 49% say it is their own personal drive that helps them get back up: it is a mindset and self confidence that allows them to not only survive, but learn and adapt to whatever life, or business, throws at them.

Learning how to fail

From a personal perspective, I remember having a lightbulb moment when I had personal coaching as part of the Haines Watts Leadership Programme.

I have always thought of myself as being a confident business owner. But the most valuable lesson I learned during this training is that it is okay to have the courage to follow up on your ideas and not be held back by a fear of failure.

Since then, I have had the resilience that’s enabled me to move forward and make bolder decisions and my business has been transformed as a result.

Perspective is everything – in life and in business. From our reception area in the Hereford branch of Haines Watts, you can see the poppies flowing from the Weeping Window at Hereford Cathedral as a commemoration for the many who have fallen while serving their country.

It serves as a daily reminder that some have had to show far more resilience than others – and that’s an inspiring characteristic that we could all learn from and incorporate within our personal and business lives.

Who inspires you to be more resilient and successful?

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Karen McLellan

Karen specialises in providing business consultancy, tax mitigation and accountancy services to owner-managed businesses. As a business owner herself, Karen understands the challenges of building and running a business.

She provides strategic advice to clients which has a positive impact on the growth and value of their business, and which helps the individual achieve their personal goals. Whether its advice on restructuring, tax mitigation, succession planning or preparing for sale, Karen can help the client get to where they want to be.

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