Overcoming Adversity Part II

How do you view and react to adversity in your life? In Part 1 of our series on Overcoming Adversity, we discussed the importance of responding to adversity instead of reacting to it and provided a mental checklist for leaders to keep adversity in check. In part 2, it is now critical to discuss the importance of time and distance and the ripple effect.

Step 3: Time and Distance

When we are confronted with adversity, our first instinct is often to react immediately. The problem is that when we react quickly, we do so with little to no thought and out of emotion. As a leader, it's critical that you take time and distance from when you are confronted with adversity to be disciplined and thoughtful with your response. Make sure your decision making occurs with a clear mind by building in the buffer of time and distance. Go for a walk, sleep on the decision for a night, or talk to a trusted mentor. The point is you need time to make sure you are making a wise decision.

I call this the "decision safety zone" and it's a place I want to be when I formulate my final response. Find this place in your world and make sure you are in a great state of mind with a calm and positive sense when you formulate your planned response.

There is no education like adversity.
— Disraeli

When you are confronted with problems and adversity you are always one great question away from success. Sit down and write out the problems you are facing and then start to ask questions about how you can overcome those hurdles. For example, if your current sales numbers are lower than your required quota the right question to ask may be "how can I increase my activity to increase my sales?" Finally, our attitude to adversity shapes our actions and ultimately our results. Put your proposed solutions into positive terms and you will be one step closer towards success.

Step 4: The Ripple Effect


For over 30 years, I have taught my students that our decisions regarding difficult circumstances are like casting a stone into a body of water. It does not matter if the stone is the size of a boulder or a pebble... there is always a ripple. The bottom line is that our actions will always have an effect on others.

The following questions are used to clarify your final decision in a way that works out for all involved parties. Try using these questions as a part of your adversity game plan today.

  1. What effect will my decision have on our culture?
  2. What effect will my decision have on our team?
  3. What effect will my decision have on our customers?
  4. What effect will the decision have on our reputation?
  5. What effect will the decision have on me personally?

This is a time tested process that will work and assist you in dealing with the difficult calls in your career. Turn your stopping stones into stepping stones to success by following this plan. You can do it!

 ake a difference today.

— Paul

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