7 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Overcome Adversity and Maintain Their Sense of Humor! 

by Apr 23, 2023

Successful entrepreneurs manage failure in a positive manner. Every entrepreneur faces hurdles, and it’s up to them to remain inspired and maintain a high-level motivation. They must keep going, so overcoming adversity and maintaining a positive mindset is incredibly important. They understand the power of humor in the workplace and use it to combat the negative aspects of adversity. They are naturally solution-oriented so they recognize failures and deal with them in a pragmatic, forward-thinking manner. 

 Image of a clown holding umbrella. Words include Seven Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Manage Failure and Maintain Their Sense of Humor.


What is Humor in the workplace? 

Humor in the workplace IS:

A positive. It’s like following a plan of action to put failure in its place! Use humor as a moderator.

Sometimes we break the ice for our sanity, or to bring out our creative thoughts. Sometimes humor simply to puts things back into perspective. It’s a coping strategy. There is actually something called a coping humor scale, where results show it’s a part of our inner strength. When laughter is the best medicine, humor may actually pay off!

Entrepreneurs may scoff in the face of yet another obstacle that tries to get the best of us! There’s plenty of science behind the positive effects of smiling and taking time to laugh. Always remember: a high failure rate does not equate to an inability to succeed. Consider Thomas Edison. 

Finding humor in your situation is a great way to relieve stress and feelings of frustration and anger. If you are new to entrepreneurship and starting a new venture, deemed a serial entrepreneur – or habitual entrepreneur – the need to cope with stress is the same. Life is full of hurdles. 

Humor in the workplace is NOT: 

It’s not about apathy. It’s different than ignoring problems that need to be handled. It’s not about being mean-spirited or cold. The technical term is coping humor. It’s one of the best strategies to deal with and prepare us to learn from failure. Entrepreneurs’ increased attention on failures is okay as long as you find ideas that you can use and factors that influence your ability to step forward from it, not back. 

7 ways coping humor helps us: 

  • deal with negative emotions
  • learn from the experience of failure
  • remain strong in the face of adversity
  • maintain control over stressful events
  • feel more confident
  • maintain positive thinking
  • motivate us to take a step forward

Humor in the workplace IS about using a positive mindset to manage crazy situations that could otherwise get the best of us. You cannot take risk and survive the hurdles without it. 

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. ~Raymond Lindquist 


But first, let’s define adversity and failure.

What is adversity? Simply stated, it is a continued state of misfortune or difficulty. Adversity if often very personal. 

For the purpose of this article, we are talking about adversity as related to your business, as in how entrepreneurs cope with business hurdles. That said, let’s look at the word “failure.”

Image of car with windshield wipers in the rain. Quote over image: "Laughter is like a windshield wiper; it doesn't stop the rain but allows us to keep going." - Oscar Auliq-Ice

What is a failure?

Failure, in basic terms, is a failure to meet your objective. Whatever that objective may be.

Like dealing with adversity, the pain associated with failure is all relative, right? Many times, yes. The goal is not be what’s referred to as failure focused. You want to have experienced failure in order to increase your strengthen your product and go to market strategy. Your entrepreneurial experiences do not have to be 100% positive in order to achieve enormous success. 

Granted, if we are talking profitability, you are either in the red or in the black. If your goal was to make a profit and there isn’t a penny on the positive side of the equation, then yes – argue with me if you must – that goal clearly isn’t met. That starts an entirely new set of arguments though about goals and what defines success and failure vs. company objectives. You can be successful and not make a profit; it all depends upon your goals.

In this article, we’re talking about business challenges such as the mental and physical challenges of getting started, recreating your story, and adjusting your goals. We want you to be open to new ideas and improve our self-reflection and ability to deal with one of life’s constants – hurdles. 


Let’s normalize the thought of failure in your head. Realize that little upsets or things that don’t go your way happens all the time, and you deal with them – mostly without even thinking about them. You simply fix the situation or just move on with your day. 

Start by categorizing the failure. Break it down. Remove the emotion. Even if it’s big. Ask yourself these seven questions: 

  • Is it normal? 
  • Is it expected?
  • Is it happening to you now?
  • Will it happen to you?
  • Is there a remote chance of it happening to you?
  • Does it happen to other people?
  • Does that mean lights out? No more business?

ALL OF THE ABOVE can – and should – be managed as part of your business planning session. 
“I didn’t do a business planning session,” you say? Okay. So set the goal. Or do it now.  

Sidenote:  Creating a business plan is a critical need. If you haven’t taken this step and you call yourself committed to this business, then dedicate time to create your plan on your calendar. Right now. Do it. 

Image of young male businessman in casual attire yelling into a landline phone

Examples of SEVENteen everyday failures that typically upset entrepreneurs:

I’m starting a business but can’t quit my day job yet and I’m frustrated. However… 

  • I didn’t work on my business today.
  • I didn’t work on my business this week.
  • Another month just passed by, and no progress
  • That guy said if I just bought the $369 kit, I’d lose weight and earn enough to pay for my product, but I’m the same weight, and everyone I talk to says they aren’t interested in these supplements.
  • My consumer is everybody, but no one is buying.
  • I never researched my target consumer. Do I even have one? 
  • I have no contacts.
  • My mom placed an order last week, but she didn’t place another one this week.
  • My neighbor complained that $16.99 for shipping was too much on a $5 order and then didn’t order anything.
  • My Facebook story = zero sales. Zero.
  • I create my product, and I sell at craft shows. I don’t know how to sell more.
  • I want to open a store. Somewhere. Selling something.
  • I want to be my own boss. Somewhere. Doing something.
  • I don’t know what I want to do.
  • My experience is worthless.
  • I wasted my education.

7 Examples of everyday failures that may also upset us: 

  • Hot water takes too long to heat up in the shower.
  • It didn’t rain, after all.
  • I caught my jacket on the corner of the cabinet.
  • I had to reheat my coffee. 4x.
  • My dog took 30 extra seconds to eat this morning, and I was almost late. By 30 seconds.
  • I forgot my coffee on my way out.
  • I got caught at that stoplight. You know the one.
  • I wanted to learn how to snorkel in Hawaii. I didn’t get to Hawaii yet. Or learn how to snorkel. 

That’s failure? That’s not what you’re talking about? 

I get that. Just realize failure is all around you. You can handle it by not feeling hopeless or allowing it to affect your physical and mental health. You most often DO handle it beautifully and without even realizing it!! YOU are a rockstar. Read on!

Image of a cute dog with a strawberry toy on his head. Text over image: it was NOT my fault.


Failure. It’s a word dreaded by most. It absolutely affects entrepreneurs’ spirits and influence an individual’s ability to cope. It’s a feeling that can crush even the strongest of spirits. Repeated failure can absolutely take a toll on even the most successful people. 

Entrepreneurial failures are a given, so manage them a part of your business plan.  

A business may start by dabbling, but growth and profitability, and the time to run this company and provide the product or service take focus. The coping humor of entrepreneurs gets them through.

Do not let trivial issues get the best of you. Do not let big issues stop you. It’s part of business.

The best of you is better than that. It is. 

Have some FUN today! Here are seven ways to break the tension! 

  1. Does your chair swivel? Take a spin! 
Quote over the image of a young person in chair: Does your chair swivel? Take a spin!

2. Say thank you to someone who made you laugh.

Image of Thank you cards with text: Thank Someone Who Made You Laugh

 3. Look in the mirror and smile. That’s it. Just smile.

Original picture image of a beautiful young lady taking a selfie with the words "Look in the mirror and smile."

4. Buy a stress ball. Squeeze it – or Go catch it 10x. (But if it happens to be a banana, just don’t eat it!)

Image of a person squeezing a banana with the words "Just squeeze!"

5. Think of 3 “things” that will challenge you today or soon…you just know it. Decide; this time, you’ll create a positive reaction and learn. Decide how. Expect it. Be ready. Then create even greater good through a smile or compliment to a stranger every time you enact your plan! *If you stumble… no worries. Do it again next week. **if you do great… also do it again next week.

6. Pull out a horn and literally toot your own horn after doing every mentally or physically challenging task for an entire day. Whew! Is it ever noisy in there?!

7. Name your projects. Funny, memorable acronyms… 

Image of words G.I.G.G.L.E., G.O.O.f., g.o., S.I.L.L.S. and a winking emoji. EnvisionaryME icon included in image

Finding the humor in failure is a coping mechanism that can be planned or spontaneous. It gets you through tough times, restores your sense of control, and it improves the greater good for you and your business. Entrepreneurs tend to empower others while also empowering themselves; recognize your own sources of inspiration and let the effect of coping humor power you through. Humor helps us through difficult times and can turn those experiences into motivational learning opportunities. 

Humor doesn’t retire, so meet your needs and use use humor as social support or however, it works best for you; the only boundaries are that it isn’t hurtful to others and fits within your budget. A smile costs absolutely nothing and is good for your soul. 

BLOG CATEGORY: Entrepreneurship

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