One of the best kept secrets in this life is unlocking the key to surviving and pushing through adversity. Oftentimes, as human beings, we feel defeated and overwhelmed when we hit a roadblock in our life’s journey. We feel the weight of disappointment deeply and succumb to the possibility of full defeat long before we ever actually experience it.
Developing strength in difficult times builds character, establishes your ability to face future obstacles, and prepares you for a destiny that you have not yet experienced. So the question becomes: how do you face adversity?
When faced with adversity, it often seems as though the obstacle itself is our test – it is our practice for future life events, surviving hard times, and learning to embrace our future. But the reality is that life’s journey is actually shaped more by our reactions and not necessarily our actions.
I have shared in the past about my journey with LuLaRoe and our journey to “accidental” leadership. When we started, it was not our intention to become leaders, but life had other plans for us.
So while our path to leadership is being shaped, we experienced (and continue to experience) our own share of adversity. Why is that?
1. Adversity is preparation you do not think you need for a role you have not yet taken on.
When you think about adversity, the first response is usually “WHY ME?!” Doubt is cast on your vision, you wonder why life is out to get you, and you oftentimes become swallowed up in negativity. But if we were always prepared when adversity arose, we would never be ready to take on the next level of challenges. We would not learn how to solve new problems, face new struggles, and live to tell about it. The adversity you face right now is not preparing you for this moment. It is preparing you for the future role you will take on in your life and the lives of others.
2. Your journey through adversity is not always about you.
This is a difficult one – EXPERIENCE ALL THE REALLY CRAZY HARD THINGS SO SOMEONE ELSE CAN LEARN FROM YOU. Say what?! Sometimes, life throws us a curveball that we navigate through so that someone in our life can see that it is possible to survive it. Your path through adversity may be so that you can shape the life of someone who experiences their own obstacle and sharing with them that you survived yours and lived to tell about it.
3. Adversity is temporary.
This is everything. The pain, obstacles, adversity you experiencing is temporary. Sometimes, it’s a long temporary – one that you think may go on forever. Other times, adversity is quick, but painful. In either circumstance, it is surviving that temporary in the hopes of gaining something in the eternal – a life lesson, a character trait, leadership skills. But the difficulty is remembering the temporary while you are in the midst of experiencing it.
4. Your reaction to adversity is key – both in that moment and in the future.
When you face difficulty, the initial reaction is often woe is me. After some times passes, however, you have the opportunity to use that circumstance for your development and grow, progress, and change because of what you have experienced. The most important lesson of adversity is to actually react and change – it is embracing change and thereby progressing in your life’s journey.
Too often, people experience adversity and choose to become obsessed with the ins and outs of a specific event, a specific moment in time, and just how much a single moment affects the rest of their life. My challenge to you is to view this adversity as a blip in the radar – something preparing you to be your best self.
Marisa shared something from this past weekend at our Leadership Conference that has really shaped some of my thinking. The way you decide to react to adversity is everything. You have the opportunity to either tell everyone just how hot the temperature is and how the pressure is getting dialed up or you can control the temperature and pressure by your actions.
Just because a person doesn’t share their depth of despair over adversity does not mean that they have not or are not experiencing it. It simply means that they have chosen not to give up truly living their best life because of a temporary negative event.
“We affect the world around us by our actions and attitudes. Where do our feelings come from? Our feelings come from the vision we have of the world and our place in it. The story we tell ourselves creates our emotions. When we are filled with negativity, what story are we telling ourselves? We should not give one single negative event that much power in our lives.” Paraphrased from Mark Stidham
My challenge to you is to view adversity for what it is – a temporary life experience designed to challenge, shape, and encourage you to pursue your best life – for yourself and others.