How do you treat adversity? Do you retreat to the closet with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a bag of Oreos? Or do you bandage the bruises, dust yourself off and jump back in the game?
Adversity occurs in every life. In the business world it can come in the form of a missed promotion, a lost client, a layoff or a business failure, among other things. So, how do you deal with adversity in a way that allows you to come back stronger than ever instead of hiding in the closet? What do you do to turn adversity into achievement in your life?
Accept that it happened.
Ignoring your problem or trying to hide it will only keep you stuck in your adversity. Whether it’s a minor embarrassment or a total crash-and-burn, acknowledging that you’ve had a setback will allow you to move forward. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up, it just means that you recognize that something went wrong and you need a change.
Pity parties don’t help. Neither does Ben & Jerry’s, Oreos or hiding in the closet. Yes, you are allowed to grieve your loss, but put a limit on it. Sackcloth and ashes doesn’t become you and won’t strengthen you or help you to bounce back. Neither will beating yourself up or continually reliving your failure.
After you’ve taken the time to grieve your adversity, or work through it, make the decision to get yourself back on track, whatever that looks like for you. Turning adversity into achievement is something that requires conscious effort rather than waiting for things to get better on their own.
Surround yourself with encouragement.
Find friends and family who have a positive outlook. The last thing you need in adversity is a Sad Sam to drag you down. Read positive books and blog posts, listen to uplifting music, watch movies that inspire you. Find inspiring and empowering quotes that help build your optimism.
Analyze the situation.
Take a step back and try to look at the situation objectively. What went wrong? What went right? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Once you’ve assessed the worst-case scenario, you can move on to positive outcomes. What have you learned and how can you apply it going forward? Every adversity brings an opportunity for learning and growth. It’s up to you to find it.
Sometimes the solution isn’t obvious. Sometimes that’s what we need to learn. Step outside your comfort zone and consider ideas and solutions you haven’t tried before. Once again, adversity is an opportunity for learning and growth. Stretch yourself. Learn and grow.
Find something to do. Put that creative thinking to work. Get to work on making things better. Put your plan into action. If you can’t actively pursue your solution right away, find some other constructive activity to occupy your time and your mind. Too much idle time leads to wallowing.
Keep your eyes on the real prize.
Remember your goals and dreams. No failure or adversity ever need be permanent. You may have just taken a detour on the road to success, but likely there wasn’t just one way to get there anyway. As a Chinese proverb says, there are many paths to the top of the mountain but the view from the top is always the same.