Business owner: how to bounce back from failure

A company director’s health capital remains the most important intangible asset of an SME. When it’s threatened, there are solutions. Coluche warned us: “Life will put stones in your path. It’s up to you to decide whether to make walls or bridges out of them”.

Supported by the 60,000 rebonds association after an entrepreneurial burnout, Marie Guth began her reconstruction with a process of introspection.

“What exactly are my personal values? How can they be put into action to serve me, without doing me any harm? Self-knowledge is a resource in which you have to invest a lot of time, especially if you want to regain your confidence and self-esteem after such an experience! My coach helped me rebuild my confidence and get closer to my childhood dream of becoming a singer.

From the time the company went into liquidation, I wrote a lot, which was as much an enforcement mechanism as a creative tool. A workshop on professional failure with the 1nspire association led me to stage my experience, once digested, with a first performance in September 2022. This humorous show explains that entrepreneurial fulfillment is a lifestyle, not a goal in itself. That you only have one life, not a professional life and a personal life,” says Marie Guth, now a singer-songwriter and professional coach.

A company director’s health remains the most important intangible asset for an SME. “If the head of a small company disappears, the risk of bankruptcy is high, which is not the case for a multinational. An insignificant event in a large group can become cataclysmic for an SME.

And yet, every business owner is very performance-oriented, which brings joy and well-being, but sometimes also disappointment, negative emotions and worries that can even lead to suffering. This is why, by listing the professional events that generate stress and those that generate satisfaction, we gave birth to the entrepreneurial stressometer and satisfactometer.

In an extensive survey of 1,200 business leaders, we studied the salutopreneurial factors that promote both good health and entrepreneurial spirit. For example, adaptability, self-efficacy or resilience, i.e. the ability to bounce back after a professional setback. With the exception of optimism, all the salutopreneurial factors tend to progress throughout the entrepreneurial career: self-esteem, adaptability, resilience, ability to assume responsibility…

We also studied stress itself, distinguishing between chosen stress and suffered stress. Both wear down the body, but chosen stress generates job satisfaction. Companies therefore tend to adopt the right anti-stress strategies, such as accepting information, focusing on the solution to a problem such as cash flow, or planning the resolution of a difficulty in small steps,” explains Olivier Torrès, professor at the University of Montpellier.

The Rebond 35 association offers a three-pronged approach to “making a success of professional failure”. “First of all, a support center, made up of volunteer peer helpers, naturally co-opted and trained to develop listening skills and a certain empathy for confidential exchanges.

Secondly, psychological support for managers in distress, provided by a psychotherapist, psychiatrist or coach who has signed an ethical charter of commitments. We pay for these 5 to 10 sessions, in response to an extreme situation.

Paradoxically, suffering managers don’t take care of themselves, but often of their employees and close circle of family and friends. They’re incapable of letting go for even an hour! Hence the need for a specialist to help them get back on track.

The final pillar is institutions such as the CCI, the Fédération du Bâtiment, MEDEF 35 and the Banque de France, with which we draw up agreements to train our volunteers who are in contact with managers, and thus take preventive action,” explains Fabrice Garrault, Chairman of Rebond 35.

There are always solutions or prevention methods that can be put in place directly by a company director to preserve his or her health. “First of all, listen to yourself, set aside half an hour for yourself, without planning any tasks, moments “to let off the valve”, to deal with emergencies or engage in physical activity.

Secondly, you need to be able to hear the weak signals, such as the transition from occasional to chronic fatigue. It’s also important not to be alone, and to find people to talk to, such as a work colleague or even a psychotherapist. In other words, someone you can show your vulnerability to.

Finally, it remains essential to find an inspiring activity, a hobby, that takes us out of our professional sphere and allows us to clear our heads to deposit the mental load. These rituals, such as going for a walk and taking time for yourself, without obsessing about performance, are essential,” stresses Claude Villain, President of1nspire.

The real challenge for a business owner is to get to know himself. “For example, if you’re looking to the future with great creativity, it can be beneficial to surround yourself with stimulating people to seek a mirror effect, participate in a network of external entrepreneurs, or be accompanied by a coach. The business project must not be carried out to the detriment of other essential things, such as family life.

The ability to delegate, the need to trust and rely on others, and even to share one’s feelings about difficulties and challenges, is essential to finding solutions through collective intelligence. Hence the need to develop managerial skills as the company grows.

In the event of burnout, coaching or a mentoring system can help the business owner to rebuild his or her life and get the word out. Failure remains a tremendous opportunity to bounce back,” asserts Franck Berthouloux.

Also read: << Business owner: how to prevent the risk of burnout.

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