Building resilience in business

25 May 2018

About the event

Building resilience in business with Rabia Siddique: Bankwest Connect Event highlights

International human rights lawyer and former British Army officer Rabia Siddique spoke at a recent Bankwest Connect Event about finding, building and maintaining resilience for business owners.
Video transcript (PDF)

Business owners don’t need to be locked up in a cell to be held hostage as many entrepreneurs, directors and CEOs are prisoners to their own negative self-talk and perceptions, according to Rabia Siddique, an Australian born international human rights lawyer.

Ms Siddique, who garnered international attention when she played an integral role in rescuing two Special Forces soldiers from terrorists while she was deployed in Iraq in 2005, said many small business owners were being held captive mentally.

“What holds us hostage, as business owners as human beings, is primarily the negative perceptions we have about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us,” she told an audience of small business owners at a recent Bankwest Connect Event.

“It’s the negative self-talk we tell ourselves everyday about the past, the present and the future,” she said, adding that business owners must be willing to challenge and change their perceptions to become the best versions of themselves and drive success in business.

“You don’t have to be in a war zone in a stone cell to be held hostage, we all hold ourselves hostage in life all the time,” she said. 

How to build resilience into your business

Ms Siddique spoke to the crowd of small business owners about finding, building and maintaining resilience – a topic she is highly intimate with having faced and overcome enormous challenges in both her personal and professional life.

As a child she was the repeated target of sexual abuse from a close neighbour and, being a Muslim with Indian heritage in an era of the White Australia Policy, experienced discrimination from others in the wider community.

In her adult life she was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a major with the British Army and took part in a daring rescue mission of 2 Special Forces soldiers from local insurgents. She later won a landmark case in which she sued the British Government for discrimination after she was snubbed for her efforts in the mission when her male colleague was awarded a Military Cross for outstanding bravery, while she was slapped with a gag order and her involvement in the rescue was covered up.

In addition to being aware of what’s holding you hostage Ms Siddique said there were 3 other steps small business owners could take in order to build resilience.

The first is to confront your own realities.

“Unless we are prepared to acknowledge the beautiful truth but the ugly truth – the stuff that’s hard, the stuff that challenges us – we can’t begin to overcome and progress and thrive,” she said. “So we must be willing to confront our realities, in order to overcome, in order to impact change.”
The next is to maintain hope.

“What I mean by that is hope, faith if you will, belief, self-belief, is that you can create ripples of change in your life and in the world around you,” She said. “Hope is the greatest tool we have in our arsenal. Hope is what facilitates change and success and happiness.”

The third is to be prepared to do something uncomfortable.

“Take a risk, back yourself, make mistakes, fail, but do it quickly and then pick yourself up and see those failures and mistakes, not as failures and mistakes, but as gifts in unusual wrapping. Gifts that will bring wisdom, strength and compassion and resilience.”

Relying on the right people for support

Ms Siddique attributed much of her resilience to having great mentors and a tight circle of people in which she could go to for support and guidance.
She said small business owners should do the same and that there are 3 levels of support that they can build around them.

Your inner circle - “They are the people that will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. And they are the people that ultimately will be the ones there in the times of greatest need,” Ms Siddque said, adding that you don’t need to sanitise what you say around these people as they know you intimately.

Your mastermind - “The people that you have a personal connection with but they are men and women that you aspire to be like and that have an alignment with you,” she said, highlighting that these could be your colleagues.

Your tribe - “Not necessarily people that are in the same profession or industry as you but people who are doing it for the same reasons. So like-minded people you can come together with to share, learn, develop and challenge,” she said.

“For me, having great mentors, a reliable tight inner circle and a tribe that has continued to support me and challenge me has absolutely been the reason and the ingredients, for my success, for my happiness and for my ability to pick myself up when I fail dismally,” she said.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.