Bad news? Difficult situation? When adversity strikes, how do you handle it? And, more importantly, how can you deal with it better than you ever have in the past?
Here are five big ideas on managing and leveraging adversity:
- Have confidence. Real, genuine, authentic confidence simply refers to a belief in your ability to figure things out. Acknowledge that the situation is difficult, but also trust that you will survive and overcome it. Rather than getting sucked into negativity or sadness, remember that you’ve figured things out in the past that were equally difficult or even harder.
- Keep perspective. Out of 7 billion people and thousands of collected years of recorded human history, none of us are facing a particular adversity that’s completely unique. Keep perspective — other people have gone through what you’re going through and can help you. Also, remember that you’ve survived hardship before and you’ve come out okay.
- Schedule action. There are only two things that have the potential to change your life: either something new comes into your life, or something new emerges from within. Rather than waiting and hoping for things to get better, or taking sporadic and inconsistent action, make sure to schedule actions to deal with the issue. Even if the actions are simple, and especially when the issue is difficult, schedule actions each day to handle it. Avoidance will only lead to suffering.
- Ask for help. As soon as adversity strikes, ask for help. Asking for help can take the form of approaching your spouse, partner, business colleagues or a professional in the fields of medicine, therapy or psychology. Openly communicating, whether it entails talking about the issue and possible solutions, or listening to other people talk about how they’ve dealt with a similar issue, can truly serve you. Remember: you’re not alone.
- Honor the struggle. Honoring the struggle is a critical mindset to sustaining success in life. Accept the fact that we can’t change or influence everything, but we can change and influence our attitude and our actions each day. We can move forward by facing the issue and accepting the adversity as a necessary component in our overall growth.
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What do you do when the inevitable adversity enters your life?
A difficult situation, some bad news, you lose the job, the medical report reflects bad news. Maybe something negative or unanticipated happens, leaving you asking yourself, “Oh my gosh, what do I do?”
When that adversity strikes, rather than seeing it as some terrible moment, perhaps perceive it as a called moment; a moment in which you are being asked to rise up, a moment in which you’re being challenged and brought to task to be able to summon your real strength. It’s a moment calling you to summon more empathy, more love, more caring, more strength, more ambition, and more go-to-it-ness.
I don’t know what it is for you, but when adversity strikes, I always keep a pretty positive head on my shoulders while accepting that this particular situation is hard. I don’t pretend it doesn’t suck, but I have to be able to move through it if I’m going to survive.
So, now I’d like to share five big ideas with you that address the following questions:
- How do you manage adversity?
- What should you do when it strikes?
- How can you deal with it better than how you’ve dealt with it in the past?
If you’re reading this, then you’re already a striver. You have some of the basics down, and you have some resilience. However, maybe it’s harder now.
There are so many things going on for so many people, making it harder to bounce back.
When everyone’s juggling so many obligations, big ambition and opportunities, sometimes it feels like a real crash and burn when you stumble now. So, what do you do?
#1: Have Confidence.
I know that might sound silly, and it may sound like some self-help, motivational crap. But, here’s the deal. You need to be confident that you’re going to deal with this, that it’s going to go okay, and that you will turn it around. And, at the very least, you need to be sure that you will confidently deal with it in a way that leaves you feeling okay with the situation.
Now, let me qualify my usage of the word ‘confidence’. When I refer to ‘confidence’, I am not implying that you should approach a negative situation by saying, “I’ve got this. I can handle this.” What I mean when I refer to the word ‘confidence’ is this:
Real, genuine, authentic confidence, to me, simply refers to a belief in your ability to figure things out. That’s all.
When stuff hits the fan, just say, “Okay, I didn’t want that, but I’ll figure it out.” That’s all I want you to say. “I will figure it out. I will handle it. Things will be okay. This is difficult. I will survive.”
I know that seems so basic, but if you don’t frame everything else that comes after that, then it becomes too difficult. We’ll get sucked into negativity, dread, bitterness or sadness. Before we go to that place, we just have to immediately say to ourselves, “I’m going to have confidence. I know I can figure this out.”
The reality is that, you’ve figured things out in the past that were equally as difficult or even harder. And if you haven’t, and this is the biggest adversity you’ve ever faced in your life, guess what? You’re going to need to survive, my friend.
Believe in your ability to figure things out. That’s confidence. That’s the first stage.
#2: Keep perspective.
When it comes to the adversity that seems so difficult, here are two things to know.
Firstly, you’re not the first person to be challenged with that adversity. Out of 7 billion people and thousands of collected years of recorded human history, none of us are going through anything that unique. I’ve always found that people who really believe that their adversity or difficulty is different from everyone else’s, and that nobody can understand them, either become bitter and/or fail to ask for help. So, they either get mad at everybody else or push everybody else away, subsequently avoiding the very thing that could serve them, which is seeking some assistance.
So, keep perspective. No one is the first person to ever get cancer anymore. No one is the first person to lose a child anymore. No one is the first person to lose a limb anymore. No one is the first person to be in a car accident anymore. Other people have gone through it, so keep perspective.
Remember that there’s only two stories in humanity’s narrative: struggle and progress.
Lots of people struggled through what you’ve been through, but a lot of people have also progressed through it. So, never feel alone.
Also, when keeping perspective, remember previous times in which you did have some adversity, and you summoned some kind of strength. What helped you get through it before? Remember those times; that will help maintain perspective. You’re not alone.
You’ve been through difficulty before. Believe in your ability to figure this one out, too.
#3: Schedule action.
When adversity strikes, so many people say, “Oh my gosh, that’s horrible,” and they sit and wait, or they lay in bed, depressed. They keep hoping for something to change.
However, there’s only two things that change your life. Either something new comes in externally, including a new opportunity, person, or luck. Or, something new emerges from within, including new power, strength, ambition, belief, resolve, or even a new willingness to fight and make it happen.
The reason I share this with you is this:
You can’t just wait and hope that everything gets better. If it’s real adversity, it’s going to require action.
Rather than sometimes taking action to deal with it, schedule it. Even if you set three daily goals, what are you going to do every single day to handle, deal with, and cope with the issue?
One of the three actions can be as simple as taking a shower. Sometimes your win is just getting out of bed and taking a shower to start the day. I remember when I had my brain injury, it was a huge struggle to do basic things. Sometimes sending an email, making a call, and making sure I ate lunch to keep glucose coming into my brain, were wins. But I had to schedule actions because, left to my own devices, I wouldn’t do anything. I’d end up on the seventh season of some TV show.
You have to schedule action each day, especially when it’s difficult.
#4: Ask for help.
I don’t mean that you should ask for help when you are at rock bottom, all your stuff is gone, you’re bankrupt, you’re broke, and awful things are happening. Most people ask for help way too late.
As soon as adversity strikes, ask for help.
If something seems in any way overwhelming, ask for help. Explain what’s going on to your spouse, partner, or another trusted person in your life. Share that you don’t exactly know how you’re going to deal with the issue, and ask if they have any ideas as to how you can address the issue.
Or, if it’s a bigger issue, you can ask for help by going to your business partner or team, saying, “Hey, here’s the situation; let’s brainstorm some ideas on how to deal with this.”
If the issue is very traumatic, ask for help from a professional, including individuals in the fields of medicine, therapy, or psychology. Just get some assistance in thinking through things. Sometimes, that’s the greatest help you can get.
Even just going out with some friends, sitting around the table and saying, “Hey, this thing happened on Monday. I’m wondering, can I tell you guys about it and just get your perspective?” Sometimes listening to other people talk about how they are dealing with a similar issue, or how they’ve dealt with it in the past, can truly serve you.
Remember, you’re not alone. You’ve been through stuff before, and so have other people. Believe in your ability to figure things out, and things will start to go well.
#5: Honor the struggle.
Maybe sometimes the adversity sticks around for a while; that’s when you honor the struggle. If you’ve been with me in my High Performance Academy program or any of my seminars, you know this:
Honoring the struggle is a critical element and mindset to sustaining success in life.
Sometimes, the struggle is put there for you. Sometimes, life is happening for us to get better. It can be demanding and challenging, but know that that struggle is necessary at this moment now. You need to deal with it. You can’t avoid it. You’ve got to face this thing and say, “Okay, what can I move? What can I shake?”
Accept the fact that we can’t change or influence everything, but we can change and influence our attitude and our actions each day.
We can figure out something to move forward in our lives. And when we focus on the little things that we can move forward, we feel a little bit more confident.
The struggle is something to be honored because it’s going to forge a greater capacity and character later on. So, honor it. Don’t hate it, because anything that you direct negative energy toward quickly amplifies into flames of fury. Instead, have patience with it, see it and recognize it as a necessary thing at this time of your life. Even if you don’t want it, that’s why it’s been put there.
Adopt the mentality that says, “Okay, I’m meant to deal with this now. I didn’t want to, but here it is. So how do I keep my confidence? What can I remind myself about perspective? How can I take some actions today? How can I ask for some help?” And make sure to honor this entire process.
If you do that, you will survive this adversity. You might just thrive through it. But no matter what, it will put you on that other end where you start to live The Charged Life.