Adversity in life is a given. Although it’s never going to escape the picture, we don’t have to see it as a negative. We can triumph over obstacles we encounter each day to ultimately gain great experience from them.
According to John Maxwell in his soon-to-be-released book, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn: “Adversity can signal a coming positive transition if we respond correctly to it.”1
Seasons of change and difficulty come and go. With change comes adversity – adversity that can dictate whether we succeed or not. If we react in a positive manner, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and grow from them. However, reacting negatively results in more negativity. This cycle perpetuates itself if we don’t learn how to stop it.
Here are three ways to overcome adversity and end the cycle of negativity before it begins:
1. Recognize that adversity doesn’t exist to bog you down, but rather to teach.
We can see adversity as a burden – as simply a mountain to climb – or we can see it as an opportunity to strengthen our bodies and minds for future obstacles. We learn from moments of difficulty – and once we reach the peak of the mountain, things are much clearer. Then, we’re prepared for the next mountain to climb.
2. When you encounter adversity, take a step back, assess the situation and determine best next steps.
When adversity is running high, it’s likely that emotions are as well. In order to best overcome hardships, we must take a step back from the problem. With a moment out of the chaos and our minds clear, we see the good aspects of the situation. From there, we can determine how best to overcome the issue.
3. Remember why you started on the path in the first place.
In moments of adversity, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like everything is against us. However, keep goals in perspective and focus on the original motivation to begin the journey, then the adversity will seem like a minute speed bump in the road. Those tiny obstacles can make the end success that much sweeter.
Overall, “Adversity writes our story and if our response is right, the story will be good.”2
Each leader’s story is different, but encounters adversity over and over again. If we take these 3 tips for overcoming adversity and apply them in our daily lives, our stories will be better than we expected. In fact, we may even attribute much of our success to those hardships that once seemed terribly difficult.
Leaders, when has adversity created new learning opportunities for you? Have you ever encountered a hardship within your organization or personal life that resulted in a positive outcome?
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1 John C. Maxwell, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn (New York: Center Street, 2013), 136.
2 John C. Maxwell, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn (New York: Center Street, 2013), 139.