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10 ways to stay tough after being knocked back

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No one said that life is easy. Each person’s journey is filled with hurdles, hardships and downright shocks to the system — yet for each event endured, the stronger you become.

And that’s not just in our personal lives, but our professional lives too. Take AllBright for instance. As a business that supports women at all stages of their careers, the co-founders received a lot of setbacks when starting out and finding ways to raise capital.

“Not everyone is going to like your idea, and that’s okay. You just have to keep going until you find the people that do,” Debbie Wosskow, AllBright co-founder told CNBC Make It over the phone.

AllBright co-founders: Anna Jones (L) and Debbie Wosskow OBE (R)

Photo credit: Taran Wilkhu | Courtesy of AllBright

In the newly-released book “Believe. Build. Become. “, the co-founders Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones, offer practical advice for those hoping to develop their skills and mentality, including how to bolster resilience levels.

A recipe for resilience

1) Everyone has setbacks

No matter what your background is, you’ve probably dealt with setbacks and failure — and so has everyone else. This may be tough to remember when you’re dealing with a crisis, but it’s important to keep in mind, Wosskow explains in the book.

“When Anna and I started out on AllBright, we got a lot of ‘no’s’ and we got quite a lot of criticism,” Wosskow told CNBC. While the co-founder admits that receiving criticism on any scale can sting, it’s important to think about using “these experiences to grow.”

2) Set boundaries

“If people are making unreasonable or unrealistic demands on you, be prepared to tell them how you feel and say ‘no’,” Wosskow writes in “Believe. Build. Become.

While being assertive isn’t always easy, it’s crucial to ensure your work life isn’t negatively impacting your well-being or personal life.

Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford and Retta as Donna Meagle on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

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3) Hold your nerve

In the face of adversity, sometimes, gritting your teeth and persevering can be the best option. When it comes to being resilient, Wosskow has her own mantra to hand: the three Gs.

“The first is graft, you just need to work really, really hard,” Wosskow told CNBC.

“The second is grace. And that’s one of the hardest things, especially when you’re under pressure and that’s something we always work on, to be gracious, be gracious with people around you.”

“The final ‘g’ is Grit. And grit is another way of talking about resilience and for entrepreneurs in life, it’s about how do you keep going when you don’t feel like it.”

4) Inner confidence is key

When it comes to resilience, a large chunk of this can come from having confidence in yourself and bouncing back when troubles arise. Instead of letting impostor syndrome or your inner critic take over, it’s important to embrace your self-worth.

AllBright offers a range of suggestions to go about this, such as incorporating your own mantra, taking time out to focus on your well-being, and making the most out of the life you live outside work.

5) Be realistic

Life is filled with its ups and downs, and the same goes for work, so it’s important to “manage your expectations,” Wosskow writes.

By accepting the fact that not everything will always go as planned, this can help people realign their expectations and not set themselves up for an unexpected drop, the co-founder adds in “Believe. Build. Become.

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6) ‘Rhino hide’

Having established in 2018, what’s been claimed as the first-of-its-kind members’ club for working women in Britain, the co-founders of AllBright, have dealt with a fair share of criticism and sexism.

When dealing with conflict however, the co-founders will remind each other of the phrase “rhino hide,” to encourage each other not to worry about what critics may think. Put simply, embrace having a thick skin.

So, whether you’re receiving negative feedback, or having to deal with a dispute with someone from work, Wosskow states in the book that it’s important to try and “absorb it and then find a way to use the experience to grow.”

7) Give yourself a break

We are often our harshest critics, especially when failure or rejection crops up — but we needn’t be.

“Most people think that they have to punish themselves into better routines, but that doesn’t work,” Hazel Gale, author and cognitive therapist, told CNBC in 2018.

“A better way is to help ourselves to feel okay in those situations, and get ourselves to a place of autonomy, where we can actually make decisions based on what’s really right for us.”

Need an instant push? Whatever the challenge you’re facing, imagine what you’d say to your closest friend if they were in the position you’re facing — and channel that energy, AllBright’s book suggests.

8) Develop a personal structure

Having a routine or structure to your day can offer a wide range of benefits, from supporting your well-being, to becoming more productive.

Arbobogg Imagery | iStock / Getty Images Plus | Getty Images

For Wosskow, she chooses to start each day with hitting the punchbag, saying it helps keep her fired up and ready for the day.

“I think repetition and discipline, working out what your version of that is — not everybody wants to get up at half five to hit a punch bag — figure out what yours is,” Wosskow told CNBC.

By having small rituals, this can offer you the opportunity to establish healthy habits. “A structure is part of your armor and it helps you battle through,” Wosskow writes.

9) Reframe stumbling blocks

When it comes to handling setbacks, typically they can either be handled or not. If they can’t, this offers you an opportunity to examine what went wrong and learn from it for next time. In other cases, failure can lead to beneficial outcomes in the long run.

Christine Lagarde, for instance, may not have become the IMF’s managing director, if she hadn’t have failed to secure a place at the prestigious college, Ecole Nationale d’Administration in France.

As Brit + Co founder Brit Morin said in 2017, many successful people “have failed dozens of times,” but you can also deal with “micro” failures along the way too. “You have to just try and try again.”

10) Lean on your support network

Having a strong, reliable support system can be exactly what you need when your resilience levels aren’t as robust as you’d like.

Members use the facilities at London’s first women-only private members’ club, The AllBright, in central London on February 28, 2018.

TOLGA AKMEN | AFP | Getty Images

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