The first physical step for a turnaround is accepting the reality of what has happened, and accepting the fact that this isn’t something you can go back and change. This is a difficult thing to do with honesty. Responding effectively to adversity is challenging but many people have done it effectively. So you too can!
“Many people have been able to climb out of the hole of adversity. It is likely for some people to reject the God factor, but in their book, Supersuvivours: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success, David Feldman and Daniel Feldman show that super survivours find strength in something larger than themselves. Faith becomes a determining factor in helping to overcome trauma. Some feel God has literally called out to them, while others find a set of beliefs helps ease suffering. Whatever their belief system, these people are able to tap into the power of a connection with something larger than themselves.” We said all that last week.
I have used the God factor to address adversity, so I can relate to it, and even recommend it. The following are some of the things I did without indeed knowing. But now described lucidly by experts below, I know.
Trusting God: Believing God and reflecting on His ways to remember that He has been faithful in the past is helpful.
Perseverance: Even when we don’t understand and the suffering seems too great to bear, we should never quit. We continue seeking the Lord through His Word and prayer. Cling to hope in God, and praise Him in the midst of the pain.
Remembering that God is in control: He’s allowing this adversity for a reason and will demonstrate His sustaining power through it. Even though the pain might feel intolerable, the Lord will always prosper His children. Scripture compares our growth to gold, which is refined through fire. We will encounter difficulties—sometimes intense and painful trials that seem too much for us. Yet we can rely on our heavenly Father to deliver and grow us in ways we could never imagine. He doesn’t demand that we endure on our own, but He does want us to respond and trust Him.
Acceptance: The first physical step for a turnaround is accepting the reality of what has happened, and the fact that this isn’t something you can go back and change. An expert, who calls himself simply Joel cautions that reliving past events and allowing yourself to become consumed with disappointment, anger, guilt or regret is not a healthy process.
You should never deny the reality of what has happened or the emotions this has stirred, but rather than worrying about what you could have done differently, you should start thinking about what changes you want to make moving forward. At the same time, you should accept that there are things beyond your control, and allow yourself to let go of any fear of the difficulties you might face in the future. Otherwise, you will end up living in a state of paralysis.
Taking responsibility: When adversity strikes, people often feel like victims. People like to be able to find someone to blame when things go wrong in their lives, and find some sort of transient comfort in the notion of their own innocence or misfortune. Ultimately, however, this is not a constructive way to approach the situation.
In some cases, such as the death of a loved one from natural causes, there really is no-one to blame. In others, such as losing a job, you may be able to identify someone who could have treated you differently, but focusing on that person won’t get you anywhere.
Recognising what you have learnt: If you have managed to accept the unpleasant experiences you have endured, and you have taken responsibility for the way you react, Joel says it’s important to stop and reflect on the ways in which that journey has affected you. Has it made you a stronger person, better prepared to take on challenges in future? Are you wiser now, more comfortable with your place in the world? Perhaps you will even be able to pass on the insights you have gained to others facing adversity of their own.
Identifying new goals: He says that there is no better time to take stock of the direction in which your life is heading. If you lost your job, this is the time to be honest with yourself – were you 100 per cent happy with your career path so far, or does your passion lie elsewhere? If you lost a parent to a preventable disease, you could use this to motivate yourself to live a healthier life. Or you might just be more grateful for the time you’ve got, and think of new things you want to achieve, places you want to see, or experiences you want to have. Once you’ve set some new goals for yourself follow your dreams!
How Some CEOs Handled Adversity
The following, excerpted from Comebacks: Powerful Lessons from Leaders Who Endured Setbacks and Recaptured Success on Their Terms by Andrea Redmond and Patricia Crisafulli, is an interesting narrative of how some top-shots in business handled adversity.
Christopher Galvin: Being asked to step down as CEO of Motorola , the company founded by his grandfather, just as a turnaround he had put in place was coming to fruition, was deeply painful. To endure the setback he relied upon inner resources of resilience that allowed him to “gut it out.” As he observes, “Nobody can talk you out of what you are feeling. People say all kinds of nice things, but that doesn’t take away the pain.”
Patricia Dunn: Her strategy for facing felony charges related to the corporate spying scandal at Hewlett-Packard while she battled cancer was to make a “cosmic distinction between those I knew and didn’t know…” To endure difficult days of being vilified in the press, she relied on the support of family, friends, current and former colleagues, and others who reached out to her. “If the world had gone silent,” she says, “I would have been devastated.” Patricia was suffering from cancer, so unlike Christopher, she needed people around her.
Jamie Dimon: Following a setback, most of the leaders we interviewed advocated taking a break, physically and mentally. Jamie, CEO of JPMorgan Chase , explains that after being fired as president of Citigroup in November 1998 he engaged in ”a thought process” to figure out his next step. “What did I want to do? I didn’t want to fill up my calendar before I decided.”
David Neeleman: He responded to the upset of leaving JetBlue Airways, which he had founded, by focusing on what he could do next. Even as he processed the emotional upheaval of leaving behind his “baby,” Neeleman launched his next venture. He found it was better to “find something else to focus on… Think about people other than yourself.”
Jac Nasser: In the midst of a career disappointment, a common experience is to return to one’s roots. After stepping down as CEO of Ford Motor Company , Jac took several months off to return to Australia where he had been raised and where his 98-year-old father still lives. Nasser credits his father for having an “unwavering level of confidence and a belief that things will work out in the long term if you work at them.”
Harry Kraemer: After resigning from Baxter International, Harry relied upon his lifelong practice of self-reflection, which he adopted in high school. Through self-reflection, Kraemer was able to look at his life honestly and with new perspective as he weighed his choices of what to do next. “You have to take some time to really stop and think through what you are all about,” Kraemer explains.
David Pottruck: David, who left as CEO of Charles Schwab & Company, where he had worked for 20 years, has also engaged in an honest and candid self-assessment of his strengths and accomplishments–as well as his shortcomings and failures. As he observes, “There are always setbacks. Success in life demands the ability to bounce back.”