What will it take for your handling adversity to become one of your primary winning characteristics? What makes it so? Willing to have a go?
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Think OF Some Adversity You’ve Dealt With
Think about situations of extreme adversity in your own journey. They can be pretty tough, can’t they? Even quite debilitating sometimes. I sense how some of you might be feeling as you relive the thoughts and emotions associated with them.
When one is in the thick of the situation, it can feel like the whole world is closing in on you, right? Completely numbed, drained, bereft of any energy left to deal with it. Most people will have great empathy with such situations. Can you relate?
Response to Adversity
Yet almost every one I’ve worked with will confirm that already a couple hours, certainly a day or so or a week later, they were already able to look upon it in a different light; having been able to “step back” from being enveloped by it (attached) to being able to look at it from further afield (detached) as I described in Attached and Detached. This is the first visible sign of the resilience each of us human beings has inbuilt.
Provided a couple fundamentals. Firstly that they are able to positively and constructively manage their Self Talk. And then to realize that no matter how bad anything might initially seem, that there are in fact choices (and usually often also reasons).
Adversity: It’s How You Deal With It That Matters
You’ve heard before: “It’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you deal with it“.
I’m well known to believe that in life we don’t get given anything we can’t cope with. So that when we are confronted with adversity, we must be ready for it. (Notice I didn’t say “if”). Otherwise it wouldn’t have come up or we wouldn’t have noticed it, right? So having now come up, we might as well deal with it.
I can imagine that someone reading that statement who is still in the thick of a really challenging or threatening adversity may well react angrily to this notion. Understandably.
What I have learned both personally and from coaching hundreds of clients through so many such situations is that Attitude Determines Altitude, no matter how confronting.
The Initial Response to Adversity
Like dealing with grief, you shouldn’t have to deal with it alone. Just being heard with Empathy helps “get it off the chest”. Diffusing the emotions. And to gain some different perspectives towards it.
It is quite natural that people will sometimes react with “Why me?“. I believe that question is futile and the very self talk that should be avoided or deflected at all cost.
I like to use a reframe (at the right time of course) that asks: “What if this weren’t a problem right now? How might you be able to look upon it“?
Another frequently used question is: “Why is this happening? What are you meant to learn from it”?
The sooner we can get thinking (fuelled by self talk) away from the problem and onto possible solutions, the better.
Adversity: Roadblock or Springboard?
You see, failing doesn’t make someone a failure. I support the notion that failure is part of EVERY success. Provided we learn from each failure.
Roadblock or springboard is an attitude question. Like an associate I have known and worked with for years did recently. Having made life changing (sea-change) decisions, they were confronted with powerful neighbourly opposition to running their globally ground breaking research initiative (life changing for people like you and me) from premises they rented for that purpose. They may well have to leave, with very significant setbacks, not just financially.
You know what he (and his wife) said: “every time we’ve encountered such adversity in our hitherto great personal and professional journey, we’ve learned we were about to break through yet another set of Thresholds. Time to get excited and plan for the next steps“. Wow.
You see, their life’s work; their purpose is not negotiable. Success and making that difference is what matters. Everything else along the way is to be managed.
Adversity. So What?
You see, we all have a choice to make in the face of adversity, no matter how threatening or confronting.
We can allow it to derail us and succumb to the inevitable and very prevalent risk of self talk inertia.
Or we can choose resourcefulness, and focus on the desired outcomes.
1 in 20 will step back, assess the situation and ask themselves who they might consult to explore possible options to keep going.
How badly do you want to make a difference?