Leverage Your Adversity

Last Update: March 17, 2018

In my previous career (which now feels like a previous lifetime), I managed several distribution centers across Canada. One thing I noticed with employees was their fear of making mistakes, of screwing up…

In recent years, I’ve noticed this in my daughters… and although I’m a big supporter of public education, this is one area I feel needs work. We put a lot of emphasis on getting things right... but not enough on getting them wrong.

Mistakes are not bad. They are our greatest teachers.

Like employees of the past, I encourage my kids to make mistakes. I ask them to share and talk about their mistakes, so we can learn from them (not be afraid of them).

And… nowhere is this more important than when we’re dealing with adversity.

Adversity adds pressure, it rattles us, makes us second guess our decisions… and it’s during those times we’re most susceptible to making mistakes… which is one reason adversity often leads to indecision…

So, (in my opinion) the first thing in leveraging adversity, is to NOT be afraid of screwing up.

Step into your adversity, make your decision… right or wrong, you’re going to learn from it.

By focusing on the experience, rather than the outcome... we give ourselves permission to navigate challenging situations freely... without the pressure of being right or wrong.

The point of adversity, some might argue, is to lift you up to the next level. To help you gain insight, experience… and to build the character needed to achieve at the level you’re aiming for.

Of course, it probably won’t feel that way at the time…

But, facing your adversity without the fear of error, will allow you to observe, and execute.

Does your adversity bring clarity? Is it the kind that propels you forward even faster because your only way out is through?

Or… is if the kind of adversity that forces you to slow down, to focus on the long-game, rather than the quick win?

An example here (applied to your online business) might be to stop chasing quick money and conversions… to refocus on helping others and build a source of traffic that pays dividends for years to come, not simply weeks or months.

Adversity can provide new and different ways of looking at things… solutions to stay the course (if staying the course is your priority), or strategies to pivot in a direction you hadn’t previously considered.

To quote writer Haruki Murakami,

“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

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GomMagtibay Premium
Wow, I like the quote you shared! I can relate to it so well. Thanks! :)
RogerHumbke Premium
Great article about how to handle adversity. I like your attitude toward making mistakes and then progress because of how handle each situation. Your girls are lucky to have such an encouraging father.
NicoAlpaca Premium
Thanks for sharing. We must always encourage other to step up and do action instead of trying to make it perfect and over think every movement.
J-KWest Premium Plus
Hi Nicole, I couldn't agree more. Perfection prevents many of us from moving forward. Thanks for you comment :-)
cramervod Premium
Stories about adversity also make for great introductions.
J-KWest Premium Plus
Very true Eric, it gives meaning to the journey, and helps us relate to one another.
Thank you,
MKearns Premium
There is no fear reaction! There IS meeting a challenge!
J-KWest Premium Plus
Depending on the scope of the challenge, as well as the person being challenged... I would agree. I know it's a common saying that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger... but the truth is, I've seen some (friends included) that have been thoroughly defeated by adversity and left more fragile than they were before.
I think what doesn't kill us CAN make us stronger... but it's not a given. It's up to us how we handle that adversity.
Thank you for reading,