overcome adversity build resilience

These days, seemingly everyone is creating their own business. People are talking about entrepreneurship as the Holy Grail… as if once you start your own business, everything will flow smoothly for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. While it’s possible that a startup can be successful right off the bat, 99% of the time, it’s a daily grind to get a new business off the ground.

New business owners need to be prepared for every eventuality, and that includes getting themselves mentally prepared for the arduous task before them.

My Story of Building Resilience

I will share my story with you to illustrate how someone can overcome adversity through difficult experiences, and how you can apply it to yourself.

The adversity I experienced led me to create a community website where people from all over the world are now sharing their stories of overcoming adversity to inspire others to never give up.

How I got here though, is the lesson to be learned.

My story of building resilience in business began when I was an employee years ago, tired of working for someone else. I wanted to start my own business, so as a musician myself, I came up with the concept of helping other musicians with their business.

I would offer services to musicians that would result in them saving time and money. I created relationships with vendors and worked with my clients to get them the best deals possible.

It was not an easy time. I literally had to count pennies to feed myself. But slowly, word-of-mouth spread, not only among musicians, but small businesses as well. I was developing a client base.

The Turning Point

Then came a call from the New York Times where they wanted to interview me about my business. It didn’t turn into an overnight success. This took years of hard work, but eventually, I was able to build the clientele up to where my newest business, Nova Custom Label Printing now serves Fortune 500 companies and corporate clients on a daily basis printing custom decals and labels.

As a musician, I was able to create a music and film multimedia project called X: The Human Condition. It was my “message in a bottle”, and that message was “you are not alone.” I wanted to inspire people who felt disconnected, alienated, different.

I had to fund it myself because out of all the people I approached in the entertainment industry, they all said it would be “impossible”.

Proving The Experts Wrong

Over 12 years, I struggled to get the project off the ground, but I was determined to prove them wrong.

It wasn’t easy. I came close to bankruptcy and became so ill that I nearly lost my vision permanently.

I overcame every obstacle that was put in front of me, and after 12 years we were able to release the project which became a success. The film is now featured on Amazon prime video worldwide.

These bouts with adversity led me to create the website, RiseUpEight.org, a community of people from all over the world overcoming adversity and sharing their stories to inspire others.

Mental Preparation

Out of personal experience I can tell you that when it comes to entrepreneurship, expect the unexpected. Being mentally prepared is probably more important than anything.

Secondly, have money in the bank to get through the first few years of the business, understanding that times will be tough. Preparing for that eventuality is of the utmost importance, financially as well as mentally and physically.

Long hours will be necessary, and that can mean loss of sleep. This makes nutrition vitally important. Eating junk food in a rush in order to get more work done will be counterproductive. At some point your health will break down and you will lose time off of work which will create more setbacks. Instead, eating healthy and getting enough rest results in optimal performance.

A Lean, Mean Entrepreneurial Machine

Regardless, be aware that there is no shortcut to building resilience. If someone is sheltered enough to never experience adversity throughout their life, the first time they experience adversity will be devastating. This is because they haven’t built up any kind of resistance.

If on the other hand, the same person has experienced adversity from a young age, that resistance has built up over years, to the point where handling adversity become second nature.

For people in between, which is most of us, mastering adversity is one that must be learned through trial and error. While there is some theoretical training that one can go through, there is nothing like experiencing it firsthand. But the important thing to note is that when someone does go through adversity, it toughens them up and gains them wisdom throughout the process.

“Never think of adversity as your enemy, think of it as your ally” is what I always say.

Finding A Mentor

This process can be accelerated by having a mentor who can help get through the experience with the right perspective. Having someone to lean on throughout the process is invaluable.

As entrepreneurs, we may want to handle it all ourselves, but adversity is best absorbed and deflected when sharing the experience.

Trying to handle it yourself is tremendously stressful, as I’ve experienced. Of course, this can lead to loss of work time, and result in the concentration of all energies directed to becoming well, rather than the success of the business.

Mentally, athletes have the capacity to view adversity as something normal and expected. As entrepreneurs, we need to have the same outlook. When an athlete fails and loses, they learn from the experience. Coaches arrive on adversity and train their athletes to do so as well, because you learn much more from your losses than from your wins.

The Importance of Humility

Similarly, it’s important to have the trait of humility, because in business, there will be setbacks. Humility can be learned through those setbacks, but setting out with the proper mindset can help achieve success and avoid ego driven missteps that can sink a business.

Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with people who can complement them, not compliment them. Having someone to lean on who can guide you through the obstacle course of business will help, as well as educating yourself about the process.

Reading, watching, hearing stories of other entrepreneurs who have failed or been up against obstacles that were difficult to overcome is also of great value

Having a community such as the one we have at Rise Up Eight can also help, by inspiring others through shared experience. We are giving away a free e-book on overcoming adversity, entitled, “8 Ways To Take Back Control Of Your Life NOW”, with eight things you can do immediately that will make a difference.

I hope it inspires you.


  • Michael Nova

    Entrepreneur, Producer, Director, Multimedia Artist, Musician

    Nova Custom Printing, Rise Up Eight, X: THC, Hypnotical Entertainment

    Michael Nova is Director of Nova Custom Printing, Founder of RiseUpEight.org , Lead Vocalist of the music group, X: THC, and Producer/Director at Hypnotical Entertainment. The film X: The Human Condition has been featured on Amazon prime video in all English fluent countries worldwide. His story has been covered The New York Times, Entrepreneur magazine, IHeart Radio, YMag Australia, Long Island News Radio 103.9, LA Talk Radio, AME Radio, Punch TV, Small Biz Trends, All Top Startups and many worldwide podcasts.