Anna Parker-Naples on How To Bounce Back Stronger in Business
Anna Parker-Naples is the founder of Influential Breathwork, and is a leading expert on using breath to enhance performance and well-being. She took some time out to share her insights with The Industry Leaders.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur, focusing particularly on your experiences with setbacks and challenges? How has this shaped your understanding and mastery of resilience in business?
My entrepreneurial journey took a significant turn when I experienced a wake-up call in the form of a panic attack that presented like a heart attack. That harrowing experience led me to pause and reevaluate the path I was on. It served as a catalyst to pivot my focus toward something more meaningful—Influential Breathwork. Challenges and setbacks have been integral to my story, teaching me the true essence of resilience: it's not just about recovering, but evolving and redirecting your course with newfound wisdom. That episode jolted me into understanding the profound impact stress can have, and it fueled my mission to help others manage it more effectively.
In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is often seen as a stepping stone rather than a dead-end. How do you perceive failure, and can you share an instance where a failure led to an unexpected growth or success in your business?
Failure teaches us important aspects about ourselves and our resilience. It's often a chance to course-correct, to reassess what we're doing and why. For me, this truth hit home when high levels of stress led to serious health issues. That experience forced me to redefine what 'wealth' really means. I realized that money and awards mean nothing if I don't have my health. This epiphany laid the foundation for Influential Breathwork, a company that resonates with people who have come to similar realizations about how they want to live their lives and run their businesses. It's been a transformative experience that not only reshaped my business but also reaffirmed the value of embracing setbacks as opportunities for meaningful change.
What strategies have you employed to cultivate a culture of resilience within your organization? How have these strategies made your team more adaptable and innovative, especially during trying times?
In building a culture of resilience within Influential Breathwork, I've made it a point to prioritize health and family for all team members, no matter what. This isn't just a policy; it's a value that underscores the importance of well-being and balance. When your team knows that their well-being is a priority, it naturally fosters a sense of trust and psychological safety. Trust and communication are also key pillars in our organization. We encourage open dialogues about challenges, whether personal or professional, and this has made us much more adaptable and innovative. By discussing setbacks openly, we can collectively find ways to pivot or adapt our strategies, making us more resilient during trying times. In essence, our resilience strategy is built on the understanding that we're all human, with real lives and challenges outside of work. By recognizing that and creating a supportive, communicative environment, we've cultivated a team that not only bounces back from setbacks but also grows stronger and more innovative as a result.
You've spoken about bouncing back from failure, but I'm curious to know if there is a methodology you follow to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. Could you describe your process for assessing and learning from mistakes?
When faced with setbacks, I take space for myself to go inward and really notice my emotions rather than detaching from them. This emotional awareness complements the analytical data and team consultations in my review process. One crucial lesson I've learned is to listen to my intuition, as ignoring it has led to past mistakes. This balanced approach—merging emotional insights with hard data—helps us understand what went wrong and how to pivot effectively. It's a more holistic way to learn from setbacks and guides better decision-making in the future. Felt sense makes me a better decision maker, and that is accessed through the breath, and learning to take a pause to change my state.
Many entrepreneurs fear failure to the point that it paralyzes them. How do you balance taking calculated risks with the fear of failure? What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who struggle with this?
Balancing calculated risks with the fear of failure is all about perspective. I do my research and also tune into my intuition; when both align, the fear diminishes. My advice to entrepreneurs is to see failure not as a dead-end, but as a course-correcting tool. Do your homework, trust your gut, and remember that every setback is a lesson for the next step in your journey. Don't let fear hold the reins.
Sometimes, resilience requires knowing when to pivot or even walk away from an idea. How do you recognize the difference between a challenge that requires persistence and a situation that necessitates a change in direction?
To decide whether to persist or pivot, I look at metrics, consult my team, and tune into my intuition. If all signs point to an issue being more than a temporary setback, it's likely time to change course. Trusting my gut has been instrumental in making these tough decisions. It helps differentiate a solvable challenge from a fundamental problem that requires a new direction.
The global economic landscape is always changing, and recent years have seen some extraordinary disruptions. How have you adapted your business to overcome unexpected global challenges? What were the key factors in your successful navigation of these waters?
Amid the shifting global landscape, I've placed a premium on prioritizing mental health, which is now the entire focus of Influential Breathwork. Open communication, flexibility, and a swift ability to pivot have been key, but the cornerstone has been our unwavering commitment to mental well-being. By aligning our business goals with the urgent need for mental health support, we've not only adapted to unforeseen challenges but have also found a meaningful role in helping others navigate these difficult times. It's this focus on mental health that has been instrumental in our ability to adapt and make a positive impact.
Resilience in the face of failure is often linked to personal growth as well. How have your business experiences shaped you personally? Can you share a moment where your professional resilience translated into a personal transformation?
That wake-up call fundamentally shifted my approach to work and life. I've moved away from the constant hustle and instead leaned into a state of flow. Remarkably, this shift has opened up significant opportunities for Influential Breathwork and attracted like-minded individuals to our mission. The old me would never have believed it possible to experience so much growth with the foot off the gas, but here we are. This change in perspective isn't just a professional strategy; it's been a personal transformation. It has reinforced the idea that resilience is not only about enduring but also about evolving in a way that aligns with your true self. The experience has been a testament to the power of personal growth fueling professional success.