Today, I want to talk to you about seven factors to consider when you face adversity. If you're a leader, you’re either going to face adversity or you're facing adversity right now. It's just the nature of leadership. Every day we're going to face something that's going to challenge us. Or maybe you’re rocking right along with momentum is on your side and you're not facing anything. But here's what I know, momentum shifts. You can watch it in any sporting event where everything just seems to go our way, our team's way or everything seems to go against us goes against our team. When the momentum is negative, we can't catch the ball fumbling. We can't get first down, or we can't get a hit.
Whatever it is momentum can shift. So, for us, we're going to face adversity.
Leaders must be able to move ourselves and our teams through that adversity. You must keep them moving toward the goals, the vision, and the mission of the organization. So, what I want to do is share with you seven factors to consider when you face adversity.
Here's the first one: Advantage.
How can adversity create an advantage?
It forces us to get out of the box. I was just having a coaching session with a vice president of a healthcare organization that I do some work with. And one of the things that she and I talked about is the thinking that goes on in the organization. The thinking that we've always done it this way. So why do we need to change?
Here's what I know, adversity forces you to change. The worst place we can be as a leader and as an organization is in the thinking that says’ I've always done it this way, and it's worked before.’ Adversity creates an advantage because it forces you to get out of the box and look at things differently. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone. That's a good place that doesn't feel good in the moment. I know, I've been there. I don't necessarily like getting out of my comfort zone. But I force myself to do it. Because when I get out of that comfort zone, I look at things from a different perspective.
And what we need to do is learn to view failure as a healthy part of the process. To climb the ladder of success. It's adversity, it's not a failure. Failure is one of those things that is only real if you quit. It makes you get out of the box and try something new. It's a part of the process to climb the ladder of success so you can experience more success in your life.
The second factor is adversity stretches us. When I'm facing adversity on my team, in my finances, in my health, or my relationships it stretches me to be or do something different. I don't know if you're like me, but my physical body is tight. I'm not a flexible person. So, over the years, I've had to learn to stretch more to increase my flexibility because I've had back pain. When we stretch, it helps us become better. It stretches us out of this place that creates pain. We need to do that in our leadership and our relationships.
Number three, it pushes us back to our creative spirit. Now, I'm not a guy who likes to look back, I like to look forward. But here's one of the things we lose. When we become adults, we lose our creativity. As a child, we're creative. I grew up on a small farm. There was no real TV, there was no internet, and no iPhones. There were none of those things that could remove us from reality. So, we had to be creative. And I'm sure you as a child were creative. We had this creative spirit. Somewhere along the way we lose that as we become adults, because we've been told not to do that or don't try that, or you might fail. We shove that creative spirit down; we hold it back. But adversity pushes us back to that creative spirit. It forces us to get creative, it forces us to look at things differently, and try new ways. Therefore, adversity is good.
Number four opens up opportunities that we didn't know existed. Thomas Edison created the incandescent light bulb. He was once asked why he kept trying when he had failed thousands of times. And now remember the quote, he said, “I haven't failed 10,000 times I've simply learned 10,000 ways that didn't work.”
But here's the real kicker behind that is along the way, he learned a bunch of other things. Thomas Edison was known as the greatest inventor ever. It opened opportunities he didn't know existed when he faced this adversity of not being able to create what he was trying to create.
Number five, it motivates the hell out of us. When some people face adversity, they lay down and quit. For me, it motivates the heck out of me.
When facing adversity, I can hear the voice of my grandmother who told me to never quit. Pull your boots up, tighten them up, strap them on, and let's go. See, it motivates me to prove myself right and to prove others wrong.
Number six, it creates new wisdom and understanding. If you're rocking right along and everything's going your way; you never stop to learn new things. Most people never learned things from success because they don't stop and evaluate and learn from them. Adversity creates new wisdom and understanding because it forces us into a place of reflection. It forces us to examine the things that are going on, to ask questions, and look for new ways to do things. Maybe it even forces us into conversations with others to get help.
Number seven it provides a new perspective. Sometimes when we're in that box, we only see it from the inside. But when we get out of the box, we see it from different angles from different sides. Maybe it forces us to ask for different opinions. But when we bring other voices into it, they have a different perspective, a different paradigm because they're conditioned, or educated differently than we are. Les Brown says,’ it's not over until I win.’ hen we win, it's much sweeter.
The greatest way to learn something is to be a part of teaching it to others. When you do that, you’re reproducing your leadership, your wisdom, your knowledge with others, and they'll be forever grateful and indebted to you when you do that.