A boss once informed me that if I could not adjust my thinking and comply with the demands, I could, “get the hell out of their facility.” Shocked, my jaw dropped, simply due to the unforeseen turn the conversation had taken. For a moment, I considered whether to park my principles of professionalism and share “my” own personal feelings of the anger brewing inside me, or process the adversity I was faced with.
Wisdom won out – I chose to do what I teach – P-R-O-C-E-S-S.
Have you ever felt you face more adversity than others? Does it appear that everyone around you is living the good life while you’re not? Have you ever started feeling sorry for yourself and think, “Why does this stuff always happen to me?” This “stuff” comes in many forms – social injustice, tragedy, illness, loss, financial problems, relationship issues, etc.
Although adversity is a series of troubles that distract us from attaining goals and finding contentment, and experiences we go through can lead to depression and hopelessness, what’s interesting is that everybody – at some point in their lives – will experience adversity. With the right attitude and mindset, and with a refocus on our perception of adversity, it can be overcome.
Many people believe they can make a difference, some even believe they can change a nation. We often begin enthusiastically and fully commit to the plan we have in place. However, we do not consider the magnitude of adversity we may face. Your mental checklist may look like this:
- Did I do enough strategic planning? Yes.
- Had I set up goals and objectives? Absolutely!
- Did I sharpen my skill sets for the tasks at hand? Of course!
- Did I prepare myself for the adversity I would face? That, I had not!
We are often blindsided by adversity and never see it coming.
For me, just when I thought I was ready to change a nation, I was sidetracked. That’s when I found them… uncovered emotions! I was that person who appeared like I had everything in control, with no care in the world. As I write this, I hear an isolated phrase from Patti LaBelle singing, “If only you knew.” It was during this moment of uncertainty that I felt the fire was turned up high. I found myself screaming inside during this adverse situation, “When will this ever stop?”
Last year, I experienced a period of sickness that was extremely scary. I was emotionally in a low place, with a lot of quiet time to reflect on my situation. This quiet time changed my perception of adversity, and a new word was on the horizon. O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y.
As a Mindset and Wellness Coach, I have heard stories of tough times and circumstances from those I have come in contact with. Those anecdotes, coupled with my own experiences, have proven instrumental in my understanding of the power in refocusing perception of adversity.
When a photographer is getting ready to take a picture, he/she will adjust the lens to get a clearer picture. In that same way, we need to adjust our lens as it relates to adversity, so that we let our emotional intelligence guide our perception and behavior.
When faced with adversity, we often find ourselves stuck in the emotions of the situation. As you are reading this, stop right now to determine and prioritize the challenges keeping you from attaining your purpose. Recognize those things that cause anxiety and give you that sense of hopelessness.
With that in mind, it’s time to make a paradigm shift – change the perception of those challenges. The key – the most important thing to remember – is never to give up! Adversity is always going to be there; the struggle is real, but defeat can be avoided. Do not let outside influences affect the end goal. Rather, use them as opportunities to become a better person. You do matter!
Paradigm Shift for Adversity Using the 7 Pillars for Living Strong
There are three practical steps to ensure a paradigm shift:
- Don’t stop believing in yourself. Most people have experienced obstacles before.
- Act upon seeking out a coach or mentor – people who are willing to be supportive and will help you to keep your eyes on the “prize.”
- Come up with a healthy habit such as writing in a gratitude journal. I am a huge fan of the value found in being grateful. When we develop a grateful attitude, we change our perception of adversity.
When faced with adversity, it’s easy to become sidetracked by disappointments and obstacles. When we don’t refocus our perception of adversity, it can quickly build and become overwhelming. It is during these times that a change in perception of adversity is needed so that we can see through a new set of lenses known as opportunity. It’s crucial to let these paradigm shifts take place if we want to attain our goals.