Want to be a more effective leader? Take our quiz to learn about your delegation style!

From Stress to Success: Practice Meditation to Build Resilience for Business Founders

A man meditating on a city street - image to promote the idea of the power of meditation for business owners

As founders and business owners, resilience and a growth mindset are skills and qualities we must possess and protect to succeed. We don’t need anyone else to tell us that higher stress levels tend to accompany these entrepreneurial adventures we pursue with passion and excitement. We know that going into this, we’ve chosen a path with numerous obstacles. If it were easy, everyone would do it! Yet with these high levels of stress and decision pressures, building resilience may sometimes feel difficult. 

As I’ve been on a personal journey to elevate awareness of my physical and emotional states and needs, meditation has proven to be a valuable tool for building resilience and maintaining a growth mindset. Meditation has many benefits and techniques that business leaders can practice to adapt more quickly to the changes and challenges we face as we lead our teams and grow our companies.

Understanding Stress and Resilience in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but hard work and dedication through challenges produce an even greater reward in the long run. As founders, we endure stressors such as decision fatigue, more significant financial pressures, and our neverending leadership responsibilities. Our inner voice may remind us that our team, clients, and families depend on us, too. This weight on our shoulders is real. We need to maintain awareness of our influence but not buckle under the gravity of it all. 

This is where building resilience becomes imperative to our success and growth. In the psychological sense, resilience is the ability to withstand challenges and adapt quickly to changes. With greater resilience, we are better prepared for unexpected curve balls such as an industry disruptor like artificial intelligence, a key employee giving their notice, or even an injury that may prevent you from performing your job. 

The Science of Meditation: How It Builds Resilience

Recent research has illuminated the profound benefits of meditation, positioning it as a crucial practice for anyone looking to enhance their mental well-being and cognitive abilities. Studies consistently show that regular meditation can significantly reduce stress, primarily because it decreases levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. This stress reduction not only helps in managing anxiety and depression but also fosters a more balanced emotional state, enabling us to approach challenges with clarity and calmness. 

Meditation has been linked to improvements in cognitive function, including attention, memory, and problem-solving skills. Neuroscientific research reveals that meditation can alter the brain’s structure and function, leading to increased gray matter density in areas associated with learning, memory, and self-regulation. These benefits form a compelling case to integrate meditation into daily life, particularly for business founders looking to enhance their resilience, decision-making capabilities, and overall mental health in the fast-paced and often unpredictable world of entrepreneurship.

Personally, I usually meditate in the morning before I start my day. This sets me in a calm state and allows me to be intentional with my attention and energy. However, I have also been adding extra sessions during the day when I feel overwhelmed or creatively stuck. 

I recently moved back into my home after an extensive renovation. Everyone who has ever moved knows it is one of the most stressful experiences, and moving day can be incredibly emotionally and physically taxing. On our moving day, my wife and I were both feeling the stress and time pressure. I invited her to meditate with me for 10 minutes. She asked to change it to five minutes, but I knew this would help us if we took the time to slow down. We sat on the floor, meditated for ten minutes, said a short prayer of gratitude, and then got busy with the move. Everything went smoothly! We didn’t argue or get emotionally elevated, and I believe meditating before getting started was the key to making the day a success.

Meditation Techniques for Busy Entrepreneurs

When I first started practicing meditation, I set a goal to meditate for just 10 minutes a day. Surprisingly, that was a challenging goal! Most days, I told myself I was too busy right now and was eager to get on to my next task. But as I’ve continued to learn more about the benefits of meditation and am working with a coach who holds me accountable to my personal development goals, I’ve discovered that meditating daily actually allows me to make up this time exponentially throughout my day. My focus has improved, which enables me to work more efficiently.

Many types of meditation produce different results, so it can be helpful to explore using an app like Calm or Balance to choose a meditation that aligns with your goals. That said, I have been practicing simple meditation, where I focus on my breathing and try to clear my mind of all thoughts.

If you are new to meditation, remember that, like anything we practice, when we start small with repetitions, our brain and body begin to learn the process and create neural pathways to make the practice easier over time. Have patience with this process. Here are some basic ways to start integrating meditation into your busy schedule.

  • Start with one five-minute session per day for one week, then increase to 10-minute sessions daily.
  • Set a timer on your phone and resist the urge to check the time. Yes, even in a 10-minute session, you will be tempted to see how much time you have left!
  • When you start your meditation, close your eyes and take at least three deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth. Focus your attention on the cold feeling in your nose as you breathe in.
  • Allow your breath to return to normal after the first few breaths, but keep your attention on the breath and notice different sensations you may experience in other parts of your body.
  • Be patient and kind to yourself. You may notice that when your mind wanders, you reprimand yourself for getting distracted. When you recognize these inner dialogues, try changing the language as if you are helping a child learn. 
  • As thoughts of your to-do list, a TV show you watched last night, a conversation you are anxious about, etc. pop into your mind, thank those thoughts for being there and then tell yourself that they are not necessary right now. I like to remind my brain that I appreciate the help, but it can rest for now.
  • When the timer goes off, and you are ready to get back to your day, notice how you are feeling. Part of the practice is noticing what we are feeling, and the time during and after meditating is the easiest time to acknowledge those feelings.
  • What gets measured gets improved. Find a way to track your progress. When you start out, a simple documentation of “I meditated” or “I didn’t meditate today” is usually enough to help you develop a consistent practice.

Meditate to Keep Growing

Here at Trusty Oak, our first core value is “Keep Growing.” To reach our full purpose-filled potential, we must commit to ongoing sustainable growth and development, professionally and personally. Meditation has been a notable tool to help me “keep growing” by building resilience and managing stress. By practicing meditation, we can stop feeling frazzled and frenetic and show up for ourselves and our teams with greater clarity and confidence. I invite you to join us and keep growing, and I encourage you to consider incorporating meditation into your leadership strategy for enhanced resilience and success.

Did you like this post? To get more helpful tips and insight from me, sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Delegation Download, to keep growing!

Amber Gray

Amber Gray is the founder and CEO of Trusty Oak, an Austin-based virtual assistant company providing administrative and marketing support to small business leaders, authors, and creative teams. A people-first approach to hiring, along with a scalable growth model have positioned Trusty Oak as a flexible, dependable, and affordable alternative to hiring administrative and marketing employees. In 2021 and 2022, Trusty Oak was named Freelancer Hiring Platform of the Year, and in 2021 Amber was recognized as Austin Business Woman of the Year.

Before founding Trusty Oak, Amber spent five years at a rapidly growing digital agency based in Austin, TX. Four of those years, she was responsible for hiring and leading both local and virtual teams while working closely with clients ranging from CEOs to bestselling authors to build their brand online. As VP of Operations, Amber helped lead the company’s growth to #15 on Austin Business Journal’s Fast50 List in 2014.

As a female founder and leader of a company that has quickly established a recognizably special culture within a non-traditional workforce, Amber has energized and empowered women from diverse professional and personal backgrounds to go against the grain of historically standard female roles in business, technology, and leadership. Trusty Oak provides an opportunity for experienced admin and marketing professionals to work independently as freelancers, but with a supportive internal network consisting of other ambitious and resourceful remote workers.

Tag Highlights: