Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
It is inevitable as a business owner that at some time on our journey we will hit that ‘T-Junction’ or worse the ‘Brick Wall’. This ‘life happening’ and what to do now, is not taught at Business School. At this point, most throw in the towel, but there are some, who dig deep and keep moving. One of the key success factors is overcoming adversity and bouncing back – perseverance and persistence.
Remember, that there are always positives that are born out of adversity:
- It gives us a wakeup call in life,
- Self exposes our weaknesses and strengths,
- Increases our willingness and the importance of doing good,
- Strengthens our faith,
- Strips us from pride, arrogance and self-centeredness,
- Prepares us for a meaningful future,
- Enables us to have empathy with others facing adversity,
- Allows us to seize new and meaningful opportunities.
As I have learned and grown through the years, I have found the following key survival strategies that have allowed me to get through the tough times.
Adversity is unavoidable. Don’t fight it, accept it. There is nothing you can do to change it. You are where you are meant to be. Everyone goes through adversity at different times in life, no one is immune to pain and adversity. Your turn is now. Learn from the past but don’t linger there or regret it.
Don’t assume what will never happen
Don’t assume the worst in the road ahead. Focus on the ‘Now’. 99% of what you assume never happens.
A positive attitude
Pain and death are part of life. Although pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. We can choose to be strong. It is not misfortune that produces suffering, but an improper reaction to it. Even under the worst circumstances, we can choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Be positive, exude happiness, build self-confidence, be energised and make today and tomorrow important in your life. Yesterday is gone forever.
This could be the hardest of all, but one of the first things we must develop when faced with adversity. The key to developing patience is to know in the end everything will work out the way it’s intended to. Surrender yourself to the fact that there is a time frame for everything. Importantly, it is just a matter of time and everything will be ok.
Forgive others for wronging you. By not allowing yourself to forgive you utilise a great deal of negative energy as you harbour old thoughts and feelings. Forgiveness is a breakthrough and will allow you to be clear-headed in your road ahead. It makes a better person out of you. It takes away bitterness and anger. It takes special people to forgive unconditionally. Become that someone special and you will get a kick-start in your new life.
Give yourself the ‘space’ or ‘freedom’ to be you. Accept that many people, places, and things in your past and current life are ‘irrational’, ‘unhealthy’, and ‘toxic’ influences in your life. Label them honestly for what they truly are and start minimizing their negative impact in your life.
Allow for quiet time to reflect. Take some time out daily to relax your mind and humble your heart. You will find your answers in the silence.
Eliminate boredom otherwise it will lead you toward frustration and depression. Take up a hobby, do some writing, volunteer your time or spend time with friends and family. Any, or all of this, will make you feel good about yourself, allowing you to want to move forward.
It could be worse
Count your blessings. Look around you. Read the daily newspapers. Become exposed to the various charities and you will see that you are not that bad off.
We need winter to appreciate summer, rain to appreciate the sunshine, and adversity to be thankful for the calm after the storm. Adversity is an opportunity to lift yourself to a higher level. A smooth sea never made a skilful mariner. Just keep moving and never give up. You must believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel and your situation is only temporary.
Have the strength to become the victor. Clear your head of the past and focus on the future. It is only you that can decide the path ahead and you can decide whatever you want.