I was thinking about some of the things that have happened in my life, both the amazing and the not so much fun times. I started daydreaming about the woulda, coulda, shoulda ways the outcome might have been different and realized that things happen just as they are supposed to and that everything we do has a lesson attached to it … but what if we got a second chance to change things? What if we were able to take some of the adversities we go through and turn them around and what if we had a do-over?
When we think about fairy tales, everyone lives happily ever after. But even fairy tales have adversity … the poison apple, the lost shoe, being locked in the tower. That is something that every one of us has to go through at some point in our lives. Will it cause us to feel broken or damaged? Will it make us feel stuck? Will it define who we are? What if we decided that we are going to overcome this situation and perhaps look at it from a different perspective? Is it possible to step outside of your situation and think about the advice you would give to that person going through it? Of course, we are our own worst critics and as a coach, I can see clearly what’s going on in someone else’s life … but the truth is that I’m just too close to what’s going on in mine to step outside of it. And sometimes, you can’t even put into words what is happening in your life. Ever feel like that?
When I was working in my corporate position, I knew I wasn’t in the right situation. I loved part of what I did but what I didn’t love definitely outweighed the positive. I knew there were changes that needed to be made but wasn’t sure what, how, when it would or could happen. When I decided to think about me for just a few hours, I listened to someone, who later became my business coach, speak to a group of women. Her message was “Get Radical” and although I am a child of the bra burning, pants-suit wearing feminist’s era, getting radical and being radical was not on my bucket list. However, it was as though she spoke directly to me in this crowd of women and I knew that I could get out of my situation and start over … again. I had started over for other reasons in my life, but this was going to be a doozy. Let’s just say, I’m like a cat and land on my feet, but this time felt different. The first thing I had to do was emotionally detach myself from my situation. Sounds easy right? Well here are some ways to do just that:
Accept what is going on – The more you fight, the more you lose. Why stay in a situation that will eventually cause you more suffering, whether it is emotionally, financially or physically. What the key is in the situation is not getting rid of it, it’s how you react to it. Remember life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.
Try and look at this as a positive thing – As much as we don’t want to admit it, going through adversity can actually be a good thing. As I said, every situation you go through should give you some lessons to take you forward. If everything was easy breezy, don’t you think life would be just a little boring? I know we wish for boring sometimes, but the challenges we face bring us to understanding just how great it is to get beyond the challenges.
Keep your purpose alive – If you lose your purpose and passion, adversity wins. Remember why you started doing what you are doing. Remember who and what brought you to the dance and remember that the outcome is bigger than the present situation you are going through.
Remember your personal board of directors – Make sure that the people that are around you, can guide you away from the adversity you are going through. You cannot and should not try to do things by yourself. When you choose staying in bed with your blankets over your head rather than facing the situation head on, you are destined to go enter that downward spiral.
Let’s admit that life has its ups and downs and as we all know and have been taught, that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Sometimes the challenges we go through seem to last much longer than we had hoped for but that shouldn’t mean we give up and accept defeat. It just means that there could be a second chance heading our way that gives us an opportunity to begin again. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you get to have a complete do-over and rectify your mistakes. But it does mean you have the chance to look at ways to make different choices and try it again. Taking that second chance may just give you back some of the confidence you lost or see things in a different light or maybe even defy all odds. Sometimes life gives you a second chance because maybe the first time you weren’t ready.
When I go back through my life and think about all the different challenges I faced, it’s a wonder I am still standing and smiling. As a single mom for 19 years, I had the challenge of supporting my children emotionally and financially. I did not have the luxury of not succeeding. It was my job to create an environment where they were loved, nurtured, and had the ability to succeed. My motivation were my children. In fact, people laugh when I tell them that on my desk, where I made my calls to schedule my insurance appointments, were pictures of my children and their tuition bills … nothing more motivating than that.
I also had one hand tied behind my back because I added to my own situation when I was the only woman in my company, and I was a commission based salesperson. You see, I chose my career. I chose to do what I did and how I did it. I chose to make things happen. We all make choices and whether or not some of our adversities are because of choices we had made or not, again, it’s how we are prepared for battle. I relied on believing in myself, my family, my friends and my faith that I would get over that enormous challenge and be successful … whatever my definition is.
As Zig Ziglar said, “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful”. Cue the background music.