3 Ways to Deal With Adversity
Let me ask you a question: how are you at dealing with adversity when it comes to your life and/or business? Whether you’re new in business or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ve no doubt gone through some sort of adversity. Whether it’s a business setback or something in your life that came out of nowhere, adversity is something that is unavoidable . . . especially if you’re chasing your goals and dreams. Maybe you’re great at dealing with adversity, or maybe you’re reading this and thinking that adversity is something that really derails you and affects your life and your business. Either way, there is always something to learn about adversity, why it happens, what it means, and how to deal with it.
I’ve experienced my fair share of adversity in my life and business (to say the least), and today I would like to share three things that have helped me tremendously when it comes to dealing with that adversity, moving past it, and most importantly, learning from it.
The first thing to remember is that when adversity hits you and/or your business, it’s a normal thing that everyone experiences, and to try not to react emotionally to it. As I say this, I truly know how hard this is to do because my first reaction used to be something like anger, frustration, and wondering why this was happening to me. However, none of these feelings help deal with adversity, and will actually hinder you from learning the lessons that come with adversity.
So many people have what’s called an “External Locus of Control,” which means that when something bad happens or adversity strikes, they blame everything else BUT them. Some common things you’ll hear are: “It’s my boss's fault that I’m not being paid more,” or, “The government is the reason that I’m experiencing this.” The truth is it’s a lot easier to blame someone else for life not being the way that we want it, rather than doing the introspective work of asking ourselves, “What role did I play in this happening?” When you can begin to ask that question, you start to shift from an external locus of control to an internal one, and you start to realize that you have a lot more control over your life than you had originally thought.
So even though your initial reaction may be to get upset or angry, try as hard as you can to push those feelings aside and really think about the situation logically, because that will greatly help you with the second thing I want to talk about, which is trying to understand what this adversity is trying to teach you.
When you experience adversity in your life and in your business, there is ALWAYS a lesson, whether it’s immediately visible or not. It’s in these moments that these lessons are trying to guide us towards that next step in our life and/or business to make us an overall better person. A lot of times, people label adversity as “failure,” but really an experience is only a failure if you don’t learn anything through it.
For example, say you lose a client. You could look at that situation as a “failure,” or you could ask yourself: what can I learn from this situation? What could I have done differently? Where did I maybe drop the ball in this business relationship? This is where having that internal locus of control I talked about before is so important, or else you’ll say things like it’s the client's fault or someone else’s fault when really there were probably things you could have done better.
Even when you experience positive adversity, meaning that it’s a stressful situation that ends up working out in your favor, you should still be asking what you learned from the experience . . . because no matter the type of experience you have, there is always something to learn . . . which leads me to my final point, which is this:
Learn from the situation and make sure you’re taking that into future situations.
Nothing can be more frustrating than repeating the same situations over and over again, however, this is what a lot of business owners do. They don’t learn from adversity and setbacks, but instead quickly move on with their business only to experience the same things in the future. Don’t be in such a hurry to move on that forget to let the lesson of these situations sink in.
The more you can learn and the more reflection you can do, the better you’ll get, the more you’ll learn, and the more it will help you in the future. So I always suggest that when you have a situation like this, to first take some time in the beginning to ask yourself why this situation might be happening and then once the situation has resolved itself, ask yourself: what did I learn from this situation and why was I meant to experience it?
If you can do these three things, it will allow you to shift perspective of adversity from “why me” to “what am I meant to learn.” It’s not an easy shift, and one that takes time, so have grace with yourself and remember like business, everything is a process and the goal is to simply get a little bit better every single day.