7 March 2019
Women in business
Throughout my life I have experienced a few roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances on both the personal and professional fronts. I am currently recovering from a mishap that happened to me in Bonaire, an island in the Netherlands Antilles. More than ever, it reminded me that resilience is a powerful process that allows us to bounce back.
I share many passions with my significant other: entrepreneurship (he is also an entrepreneur), sports, and travel. We both enjoy extreme sports, water, sun and sand. When we became parents of two daughters, we promised ourselves to take one week, just the two of us, every year.
This winter, we decided that Bonaire was the perfect escape to windsurf and unwind. I had been looking forward to it for months! Everything was booked and planned out. The grandparents were available to take care of the girls. I had even been working out at the gym with a personal trainer. I was captivated by the island as soon as we landed. It was paradise!
After two intense 6-hour days on the board, muscle fatigue kicked in. I decided to do one more run. On my way back, a wind gust made me lose my balance. As I fell, my hands stayed on the “boom” (the hoop around the sail). My lower body contorted as my upper body remained fixed, I heard a noise. Pop! A muffled sound coming from my knee. I cried out in pain, frustrated, disappointed. Not in this perfect place, after only two days!?
It brought me back to the day in December 2015, when I had exactly 24 hours to move my entire agency, find another office space and reinstate my team. My entrepreneurial life has seen moments where I had no choice but to be resilient, where I had to accept a situation that was out of my control, and bouncing back was my only option.
When it came to my injury, I had two choices:
1) Failing to accept the situation and have a horrible week
2) Accepting what I couldn’t change and transforming this irritating situation into a winning moment.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself and ruminating while watching everyone else windsurf from my lounge chair, I took action. I turned to scuba diving. To my surprise, I discovered an incredible coral reef, I admired boxfish, parrotfish, and barracudas, I swam with turtles and a lovely seahorse! I learned that Bonaire wasn’t just one of five places renowned for windsurfing, it is also a prized destination for diving. Talk about luck!
Against all odds, my week will be remembered as a learning experience: accepting what we cannot change. And a lesson: we often discover the most valuable things through the unexpected.
In business, obstacles always seem to present themselves at the most inopportune times. As if to force us to grow, become resilient, and develop the capacity to do the best that we can do when faced with an incomprehensible, injust, and unplanned situation.