Have you ever wondered how you can rise above adversity?
How you can effectively harness the huge waves of economic downturns, disappointed attempts at goals, frustrations, and setbacks?
|Photo Credit: Dexterity by mikebaird on Flickr Creative Commons|
Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else and The Upside of the Downturn: Ten Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession and Thrive in the Aftermath wrote a great article in Fortune Magazine regarding this very subject.
His article was written for business leaders, but I believe that the principles are key success factors for each of us to exercise in our circles of influence, so that exemplify courage, grit, and determination in the midst of challenging times.
Success Factor: Appreciate the True Nature of a Crisis
“A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind.” Chinese Proverb
A crisis represents danger. But in the face of danger, you can choose to surf the wave, or you can turn and run in the other direction. A professional surfer respects the dangers involved with surfing, but she does not avoid the waves. Rather, s/he applies her skills and knowledge along with courage to the situation, and rides the wave.
Success Factor: Run To Face the Giants
“48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.” I Samuel 17:48-49
We each have some choices when faced with problems, challenges, danger, hard choices. We can avoid the problems. We’re compromise our values. We’re tempted to run for the hills! As leaders, however, we can inspire and help those around us and close to us, by acting quickly and fearlessly. This does not mean that we have no fear! Rather, it means that we act courageously even while feeling fearful, and perhaps terrified! David, the character in the Biblical story, faced a professional soldier 7 feet tall with no armor, a sling, and a few stones, but with great confidence in his God.
Are you facing difficult times now? Is the cash reserve low? Have you lost a job? Have you lost a relationship? Are you the midst of a challenge that feels like a giant?
Acknowledge that your situation is severe. Don’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. Respect your fear, but don’t let it own you. Spend time drawing strength from God through honest prayer (Phillipians 4:6-7). Then, face your fears, face the situation, and surf the slump! Make a habit of confronting the challenges before you, instead of procrastinating or avoiding the actions that you need to take in the midst of the circumstances.
Pastor John Ortberg has written a great book on the topic of facing fear: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
Success Factor: Watch How You Are Talking To Yourself
“He who would be useful, strong, and happy must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggarly, and impure streams of thought; and as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to command his desires and to say, with authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion of his soul.” James Allen
What do you tell yourself about hard times?
Do you believe everything the talking heads are prophesying about gloom and doom on the radio and TV?
Do you listen to your co-workers who are glum and down in the dumps?
Are you paying attention to other fear driven business owners who are sitting on all their cash and letting opportunities pass them buy?
Resilient people know how to stay strong during times of adversity. A true leader is able to acknowledge and validate the truth of hard times to his friends and family. At the same time, however, s/he draws strength from positive sources, has faith in possibilities and resilience, and is able to balance fear with courage.
Success Factor: Stay On Top Of The Wave
The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. ~Author Unknown
When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
Once you have gotten through one challenge, you may want to relax and take it easy. This will lead to atrophy and more crises. It’s critical that you stay alert to the dangers around you, that you communicate consistently with advisors, with mentors, and with everyone around you who is facing the crisis together with you. One of the symptoms of avoidance is a tendency to stick our heads in the sand a la Ostrich Complex (I made that up :). By taking one or more actions consistently to problem solve effectively, you will be staying on top of the wave and inspiring those around you to stand up and fight, instead of slinking off toward the hills.
Take courage this week! Are you going to hide in the background, or are you going to take the bull by the horns and surf that wave? Your choice will make all the difference in the quality of your life this week!
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