Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times, gave the 2014 commencement speech at Wake Forest University. Quite appropriately, Wake Forest requested she speak on resilience. Her controversial firing from the NYT just the week previous made the topic most meaningful.
As a Small Business consultant, I am often energized and inspired by my clients’ resilience. Some of them are franchisees facing years of decline of the franchisor. Many of them are hoping the franchisor will stop rearranging the deck chairs and let the ship sink because It is hard for them to continue to pay royalties for so little support in return from a struggling company. And in light of their contractual bonds, they have amazing resilience facing each day in limbo, wondering when and if the other shoe will drop.
But if there is one thing I have observed in serving only small business owners; it is their incredible resilience in tough times. As an entrepreneur, whether franchisee or independent owner, you are already taking enormous financial and personal risks to run your own business. But, the reward is immeasurable.
I, too, am an entrepreneur, and face the same sense of the mystery of the next day, month, and even year, in regard to my future. But I am grateful everyday for the resilience I have gained through being my own boss.
So, for me, and I am sure many others, listening to Jill Abramson’s commencement speech today was an inspiration. Her smile and confidence spoke volumes in terms of the positive reaches of upset and challenge. She spoke of her father’s words of wisdom in times of failures: “Show what you are made of.”