Building Resilience Mental Health Strategies for Tech Leaders Cristina Imre

Building Resilience: Mental Health Strategies for Tech Leaders

Building resilience is by far the most reliable skill you can build and acquire during your active life, aka career. It’s tightly linked to mental health status and it’s an accurate indicator of your long-term success and well-being.

The state of overwhelm and burnout isn’t sweet for tech leaders. They are subject to exhaustion and tech entrepreneurs together with the ambitious and adventurous group of all entrepreneurs are among the highest groups inclined to commit suicide. Suicide ideation and final act are not uncommon between people who aim high and then get to hit dozens of walls that were not supposed to be there but always are.

Now, there is an important aspect to keep in mind:

Resilience is not a fixed state. You may be more resilient at different times in your life than others. Most importantly, resilience can be learned, practiced, developed, and strengthened.


Why Resilience?

Resilience is like a superpower that we can all cultivate, and it’s not just important for entrepreneurs – it’s essential for anyone who wants to thrive in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing world.

Why did the resilient person go to the therapist?
To show off their mental toughness, of course!

Okay, maybe that’s more punny than funny, but the point is that resilience is all about being able to bounce back from difficult situations and taking care of your mental health is a key part of that. So don’t be afraid to seek out help if you need it – being resilient doesn’t mean you have to tough it out all on your own!

Building Resilience: The Unseen Power Behind Tech Startup Success

Sam Altman emphasizes the less obvious yet critical quality of resilience as a key determinant for success as a tech CEO. He confessed that at the onset, he didn’t fully grasp the notion that a triumphant CEO needs to possess determination, one that outstrips 3 or 4 standard deviations.

So, take a moment. Reflect upon a time when your tenacity paid off when you triumphed solely because you refused to capitulate. This could relate to any aspect of your life. In the tech industry, the ultimate goal is to reach a plateau where the demand for your product is not only adequate but also burgeoning, propelling your business into a profitable cycle where MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) and ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) flourish.

Regardless of what you’re constructing or the extent of the capital you’ve raised or invested, the primary objective remains consistent: to cater to an expanding market with escalating demand for what you’re offering. It’s about embodying the wisdom of the ant during times of abundance – preparing for harsher times, and creating safety nets for those periods when many surrender and abandon the market.

In such times, when you’re equipped with resilience and have been building resilience, you’re prepared to thrive, expand, to acquire. When prices plummet and top talent is abundant, those with reserves at their disposal seize the opportunity to triumph in the market’s winter season, establishing a powerful leverage that could serve them for years to come.

Resilience is a crucial part of this game because, often, the rewards of your hard work remain invisible, as you haven’t yet reached that pivotal tipping point despite steadily building momentum. Building resilience, then, is not just a strategy—it’s a survival skill that could determine the trajectory of your tech leadership journey.

Turning the Tides: A Tale of Resilience in Entrepreneurship and the Power of Steady Persistence

Let’s take my journey as an illustration. Last March, I ended all my previous executive roles to pivot towards executive coaching and deeply focus on 1:1s and the magic that can happen in this type of coaching for my clients.

I couldn’t accomplish true transformations with people as thoroughly while managing a company. It became frustrating, so, I decided to focus all my resources on making things happen for my ideal clients, those game-changer scaleup founders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs who are on something big and need all the help they can get and a “secret weapon” on their side.

The Start-up Nature of Embracing New Roles and Building a New Brand

Embarking on this new endeavor felt very similar to launching a startup; despite having been an executive, nobody knew what I was up to, a rebranding was needed, and a lot of resilience. Establishing my new brand bore strong similarities to creating a new product. Lacking substantial funds for marketing, my journey was characterized by relentless hustling.

For what felt like an interminable six months, my efforts seemed to bear no fruit. I struggled to locate suitable clients, and those I met were either not a good fit or simply couldn’t afford my services. These six months were akin to a bootstrapping phase, to use startup similarities.

Despite the apparent lack of progress, every endeavor, piece of content produced, helping hand extended, meeting held, and relationship cultivated contributed incrementally to my overall growth during these six seemingly invisible months. Nothing appeared to be working, but the puzzle pieces were gradually accumulating.

Then October arrived, and it was as if floodgates had been flung open. Suddenly, I began signing ideal clients, and a multitude of diverse opportunities started flowing in, from book deals to executive roles including CEO titles, advisory positions, and mentoring gigs.

Now I was facing a different type of challenge – evaluating the most suitable opportunities without overextending myself or regressing to my previous state of over-commitment. As time progressed, I found myself amidst a continuous stream of opportunities, allowing me to steer my journey in whichever direction I desired.

Resilience never quits, it quietly persists

Building resilience was key to navigating these challenging times. For some, six months might seem like an eternity, while for others it might feel like a fleeting moment. The time frame can vary greatly depending on your startup’s phase, product, version, functionality, and market adoption.

In my case, I’ve experienced long periods of up to two years before reaping the fruits of my labor. Each time, my resilience was rewarded. Building resilience, in my experience, has always been a solid investment. Even choosing my niche shows resilience. Coaching tech CEOs and founders aren’t easy, they are a different kind of group.

The Powerful Benefits of Building Resilience

Resilience helps you bounce back from setbacks: Life is full of ups and downs, and setbacks are inevitable. Resilience helps you bounce back from setbacks: Whether you’re an entrepreneur dealing with a failed venture, a parent dealing with a challenging child, or a friend dealing with a personal crisis, resilience can help you bounce back from setbacks and keep moving forward.

Resilience improves your mental health: Resilience is strongly linked to mental health, including lower rates of anxiety and depression. Building resilience can help you manage stress and maintain a positive outlook on life.

On this same note: Resilience builds mental toughness: When you cultivate resilience, you’re building mental toughness and emotional strength. This can help you handle stress, manage conflicts, and stay focused on your goals.

Resilience enhances your relationships: When you’re resilient, you’re better able to manage conflicts and maintain healthy relationships. Resilience can help you communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and build strong connections with others.

Resilience boosts your productivity: When you’re resilient, you’re better able to handle challenges and stay focused on your goals. Resilience can help you be more productive and achieve your desired outcomes.

Resilience inspires others: When others see how resilient you are, they’re inspired to be resilient themselves. Building resilience can help you be a role model for others and create a positive ripple effect in your community.

Overall, resilience is an amazing trait that can help you navigate life’s challenges with grace and strength. Whether you’re facing a difficult personal situation or a professional challenge, building resilience can help you thrive in the face of adversity.

Forging Mental Strength: The Intrinsic Link Between Resilience and Mental Health

Resilience is not simply about weathering the external storms of the business world. It’s also about maintaining your inner strength, bolstering your mental health, and staying grounded amidst adversity. The trials we encounter on our professional journeys often extend beyond tangible challenges. They can seep into our mental well-being, demanding an additional form of resilience – mental resilience.

Mental resilience goes hand in hand with our overall mental health. Just as resilience can define our professional trajectory, mental health influences our capacity to cope with stress, handle adversity, and bounce back from hardships. It can determine our ability to persist through the ups and downs of a tech leadership journey. In essence, building resilience becomes a dual task that benefits both our professional success and our mental well-being.

In this realm, resilience becomes a form of emotional intelligence, a psychological armor that helps tech leaders endure the pressures and demands of their roles, preserving their mental health in the process. By building resilience, we are investing in our mental health, setting the foundation for not just a successful career, but a balanced, fulfilling life.

Now that we've explored the importance of resilience and heard a real-life example of how it can be built, let's dive into some practical strategies that you can use to build resilience in your own life.

Tips for Building Your Resilience From Famous Examples

Tip #1: Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that involves being present and fully engaged in the present moment. You can practice mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and let go of distractions.

Jeff Weiner, the former CEO of LinkedIn, is a proponent of mindfulness meditation. He has spoken about how practicing mindfulness has helped him manage stress and maintain focus, both of which are important for building a successful business.

Tip #2: Prioritize self-care. Self-care refers to any activity that promotes your physical, mental, or emotional well-being. This can include exercise, getting enough sleep, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing a hobby that brings you joy.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, is known for his adventurous spirit and commitment to staying physically active. He regularly participates in extreme sports such as kitesurfing and has emphasized the importance of maintaining physical health in order to maintain mental clarity and focus.

Prioritize meaningful relationships: Building and nurturing meaningful relationships is critical to success in business and in life. Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time, places a high value on relationships. He has cultivated long-term friendships with business leaders such as Bill Gates, and regularly takes time to connect with people on a personal level. By prioritizing relationships, Buffett has built a strong network that has helped him make successful investment decisions and build a successful business.

Tim Cook: As CEO of Apple, Tim Cook is known for his focus on well-being and the right balance between physical and mental health. He wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every day to exercise and has spoken publicly about his commitment to taking care of his body. Cook also encourages his employees to take care of themselves and offers wellness programs such as standing desks and on-site fitness classes.


Remember, building resilience takes time and practice, but the benefits are well worth the effort. By incorporating these practical strategies into your daily routine, you can improve your mental health and achieve greater success in your career and personal life.

So, take a moment to think about which of these strategies resonates with you the most and commit to implementing it into your daily routine.

Remember that resilience is not about being perfect or never feeling down. It’s about being able to bounce back from those tough times and keep moving forward. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to prioritize your well-being and seek out support.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or other mental health professional, a coach, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to take a step back or make some changes to prioritize your health. Remember that self-care is a key part of resilience, and taking care of yourself will ultimately help you be more resilient in the long run.”

It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness and that taking care of your mental health is essential to being able to maintain your resilience.

There is always wrong when coaching is the lowest priority. Coaching is the highest priority cause getting the human right determines the outcome.

Eric Schmidt

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Cristina Imre – Global Executive Coach Who Cares & Helps You Ride the Dragon Road with Ease & Joy