Adversity is a part of life. Some of us have more of it than others yet, we all experience it. The manner in which it comes into our lives is as diverse as the adversity itself. Finding ways to be resilient in the face of life’s’ challenges is a measure of who we are.
Conflict is challenging for me. I am not a good fighter. However, when faced with adversity the warrior woman in me surfaces.
Like all of us, I have navigated family, relationship, career, and financial hardships. Yet, much of the adversity in my life has come in the form of natural disasters. Living in California, fires, floods, and earthquakes are a matter of course.
I was forced, however, to face my own mortality while competing in a 100-mile endurance horse race, in the Australia Outback. Caught in the worst storm in 100 years, lightning struck inches from my body and that of the horse I was on.
So loud it became silent, so bright, I was blinded. Time stood still. The world stopped. I could not make a move, whether it was physically possible or not, I was paralyzed as the lightning struck three times…caging us within its fury. When my senses returned, survival mode kicked in and all I could think about was, I am alive…get off of the mountain.
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And we carry on. And that’s what I did.
“Adversity, if used properly, will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone otherwise” ~author unknown
Adversity is a catalyst for change
The opportunity for growth is everywhere. Adversity = opportunity.
Using the challenges we face to rise up, instead of being knocked down, is within our power.
4 Ways to Use Adversity
1. Turn the tables on adversity. Stories of people having faced great hardships are everywhere. The common thread in their success is how they turn it around. When adversity enters your life take note and ask yourself these questions.
- What is this here to teach me?
- What lesson(s) can I take away from this?
- How did I get here?
- Are there actions I can change?
2. Be open for an about-face. Knowing we have choices in life frees us from feeling trapped in any situation. An asset of a great leader is knowing they have options when faced with adversity, Change adversity to curiosity. Be flexible to explore an alternate course.
3. Laugh in the face of adversity. Laughter is great medicine. It can be an antidote for stress and inspires hope. When faced with a challenge finding a way to chuckle can bring levity to the moment. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. So laugh away!
If I wasn’t laughing I would be crying.
4. Stop, look and listen. Don’t be rash or irrational. It is time for triage. Keep your head on straight.
- What is the best possible outcome?
- What alternative outcomes would also work?
Be systematic and ask yourself
- What steps do I need to take to move towards the outcome desired?
- Are there any resources or people I can ask for guidance?
Make friends with adversity. Do not be fearful when a challenge comes your way. When lightning strikes your path or a boulder blocks the road, all is not lost.
A new path will be forged. Every obstacle is a new lesson learned. What a gift. So rub your hands together and say, I’ve got this.
Bring it on. And laugh as you jump in with both feet!
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity ― Sun-Tzu, the Art of War