The following is a guest piece by Fred Stuvek.
All of us will face some degree of adversity in our life, this is inevitable. You can’t run from it. You can’t hide from it. It will find you. You have to deal with it, embrace it as a learning experience, accept responsibility, take action, and move on. How you deal with adversity could be viewed as the single biggest challenge in your life. Your character is defined not by what you went through but how you went through it. Successful people do not give up faced with adversity, instead they have the resilience, strength of character, and courage to find a way or make one.
If you are faced with adverse circumstances this coming year a strong belief and faith in yourself and your mission will help you stay the course. If you have conditioned yourself, both mentally and physically, you are better able to deal with the stress and uncertainty. These experiences are also valuable life lessons and help shape your resiliency, which is a key trait in being able to effectively deal with adversity. While it may not seem so at the time, there are benefits to adversity, which are listed below:
- Adversity is a Learning Experience – You need to be tested or challenged in order to learn and grow. Every adverse circumstance is a lesson learned that helps you grow and develop your capacity to deal with future occurrences.
- Challenges are Opportunities – Adversity will challenge you in new ways resulting in experiences you otherwise would not have encountered. Facing these challenges head on, coping with them, and developing a recovery strategy emboldens you and gives you the confidence to face the next obstacle.
- Builds Resiliency – These experiences develop your capacity to maintain resolve and determination through the tough times. Being able to effectively cope with the stressors associated with adversity enables you to cultivate a range of skills which makes you stronger, better equipped, and more resilient for future events.
- Gain Perspective – Times of adversity make us more appreciative when things are going smoothly. You will acknowledge adversity is also a state of mind, have a more positive mindset in the future knowing you survived once, and will do so again.
- Helps with Planning – Another benefit to adversity is you are better prepared for the future. What you have learned about yourself, others around you, and even the organization, can be the basis for well- developed alternatives and contingency plans that can be expeditiously and confidently executed during the next unforeseen or untoward event.
When adversity strikes your mindset is your primary weapon. It is how you react, how you decide to respond, and what you do that determines your ability to overcome the obstacles you face. As you face these inevitable challenges adhere to the following steps:
- Accept – Accept what has happened, what’s done is done. You can learn from this experience but for now you look for ways to solve the problem. Focus on finding solutions instead of excuses. Accept responsibility instead of casting blame. Face the challenge head-on, view it more of an opportunity than an obstacle, move forward, understanding that every problem has a solution.
- Understand – Get the facts. Often times problems are compounded by inaccurate information or misunderstandings. Making decisions based on bad data will only compound the problem and make it worse. Ask questions instead of making assumptions, drilling down to the basic issues, and underlying causes of this predicament. Once you have defined the problem determine which factors are in your control, and those not in your control. Determine what choices you have, what resources to use, focusing on what you can do versus what you cannot.
- Respond – You want to avoid a knee jerk reaction while at the same time launch an initial response to the crisis. Focus on what steps you can take in the short term, however small, to exhibit movement and show action is being taken.
- Composure – Project a confident and calm demeanor, regardless of the circumstances. Set the tone by reinforcing your commitment and belief what you are doing and what you are about.
- Mindset – You are defined not by the crisis, but how you deal with it. Your mindset will play a key role in how things turn out. A confident demeanor and a positive attitude, laced with enthusiasm, is contagious. Exhibit a can-do attitude, focusing on what can be done, instead of anticipating the worst.
- Strengths – Focus on your strengths and what you do best. By concentrating on your strong suits you will realize quicker progress. Trust your instincts and trust those around you who are there to help you.
- Seek Help – What you are going through is not unique. It may be to you but it has happened before, in some way, shape, or form. Do not be hesitant to ask for help or view this as a sign of weakness. Seeking advice from someone who has gone through similar circumstances can be helpful and give you a different perspective.
- Values – When going through an adverse event a compelling factor in someone’s ability to effectively deal with the crisis is their unyielding faith and belief in what they are doing. Do not lose sight of what you are about and why you are doing it.
- Plot a Course – Once you have all of the facts and have considered the options develop a plan. Be consequent and deliberate in carrying out this plan, paying special emphasis to the process, since it a series of steps all properly executed that will enable you to emerge from this crisis.
- Health – Everyone handles stress and anxiety differently. Be mindful of the impact the situation is having your health and even those around you. Do not develop bad habits as a coping mechanism to get you through the crisis. Remember, there is a direct correlation between fitness and productivity, do not abandon your fitness program. If anything, ramp it up a bit during this trying time.
When faced with adversity find the inner strength to be courageous and resilient. Your attitude and mindset are central to overcoming this challenge. Bear in mind you have choices and be fiercely determined to find a way or make one to get through your current crisis. Afterwards, you will take satisfaction in the fact that you were able to successfully get through this crisis and be better prepared when adversity comes knocking again.
Remember, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
Fred Stuvek is a consultant, speaker and author of the book “It Starts With You”. After serving in the US Navy, Fred transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Fred has also been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track.