Adversity is Good!

Now before you roll your eyes and discredit the title, let’s take some things into consideration. The challenges, obstacles, roadblocks and hurdles that we experience in life can and will be daunting. And you are reading this post from someone who has experienced much adversity in his own life. But really, why must I place into the title that this is all for the best? The answer is meant to prepare you as you continue your career and life journey.

If you are anything like me, you also have many goals, aspirations and a lofty bucket list to boot. You don’t just want to make a living, you want to own your career. And just working for someone else for the rest of your life is not the secret to your success. Nine-to-five is probably not your cup-of-tea either. Here’s the crazy thing about all this, I know that I am going to accomplish all of my goals. I know that I will achieve whatever I set out to do. And I know that nothing can stop me (unless it is time to meet my Maker). And how do I know? Because I have survived way too much in my life and career not to.

Life is tough

A great phrase that we all know states that “what doesn’t kill will make you stronger” – and I am a huge advocate and proponent of this statement. Life’s not fair at all. Just when you get things rolling a bit, something occurs that derails you. But just like that train that is temporarily derailed, you can and will regroup and continue on your journey.

You might ask, what kind of challenges might you be referring to? Below are some examples that I have encourntered (both personally and professionally):

Personal Professional
Death of a loved one Layoffs
Divorce Reorganizations
Debt Changing careers
War (Military) War (Military)
Moving Unsupportive management
Children (need I say more) Murky future

Societal or self-imposed

Then there is the adversity that society places on us that we really have no control over. Examples of these may include your age, race, handicap, or gender. You may be a veteran who is finding it terribly challenging to make the transition into civilian society and career. You may be an individual who is trying to transition from being incarcerated and trying to make it when it seems that no one is giving you a chance. And lastly, you might be new to this country and just trying to find your place. All of these situations make it challenging to achieve and accomplish your goals.

But for any one of you who has overcome these challenges or situations, you would probably agree with me that the challenge itself was a big catalyst which allowed you to get to where you are today.

Overcoming

Let me start out by stating that you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last to overcome difficulties in your life. And secondly, it helps to have a keen sense of self-awareness in order to better handle situations (positive or negative) as they arise. A Harvard Business Review article written by Joshua Morgolis and Paul Stolz tells us that we need to build up an increased level of psychological resilience in order to respond to crises situations. And when this resilience increases, it becomes much easier to respond instead of react to the crisis. And take it from me, the response allows you to better shift from disbelief to strategy, then execution.

How do I do this?

I am glad you asked. The #1 thing not to do is think that you can overcome this situation on your own. Success stories rarely occur inside of a bubble. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or even Martin Luther King, Jr. are prime examples – none of them became a success story without the help or assistance of a friend, a buddy, a mentor or an accountability partner (AP). All of those individuals who have won an Olympic medal have some story of overcoming and how someone in their lives was instrumental in helping them to reach the pinnacle of sports (and NBC loves to tell their story). Therefore, it is important to identify someone who can help you overcome.centro_rio-olympics

And this can also be more than one person (i.e. mastermind group that help to build each other up). Depending on your situation or circumstance, it may be necessary for your AP to be a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Life Coach, Counselor, or a Pastor. We are in 2016, folks. The days of not seeking out professional assistance as needed should be put to rest.

Breakthrough

Here is the best thing about adversity – after the storm, there are usually blue skies, albeit for a while. Nevertheless, take time at this point to reflect on what you came through, what you have learned, and lastly, how you might be able to help someone else or yourself through the next set of adversity. Because it will come.

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