“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles,
have strengthened me…
You may not realise it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
If you’re on this mailing list a while you’re probably aware that in my mid-20s (now scarily over 20 years ago!) I went through a very challenging personal period – a time that was extremely difficult mentally.
And part of my journey out of that terrain, was to get some help through counselling. I was lucky that I was connected to someone who was perfect for me. And he helped me to gradually turn things around and in the process learn many priceless lessons – that still stand to me today and are as relevant in my business life as much as my personal one.
But after 6 months of seeing him weekly he ‘ejected’ me… and told me that I had to figure the rest out on my own. And I’ve only seen him a handful of times since, usually for a lunch every 4 or 5 years.
And we had one such meeting in the middle of the crash of ’08/’09.
As we came close to the end of our time together, I said this: “There’s a lot of pain around right now, it’s tough for people.”
He stopped eating his lunch and looked at me straight in the eyes:
“Yes, it’s great isn’t it?”
I didn’t know how to reply to that but eventually came back with: “Why is it great?”
“It’s great because most people only wake up when there is pain. And pain can be the greatest teacher and motivator of all. It’s important to help where needed, but it’s just as important to never take away the value of pain. You of all people should know that value.”
His comments are something I’ve reflected on many times since.
Before he said that, I hand’t connected my own pain and struggle with the strength that came from moving through them.
The tough times are the ones where we learn the most personally.
In business, the tough times are usually when the innovative, breakthrough ideas start e.g. Uber, Dropbox, and Instagram all started during the ’08/’09 crash.
The tough times are when we become better and stronger.
But the block to experiencing the benefit of the ‘tough times’ is avoiding the pain.
Often we avoid it by distracting ourselves with being busy, taking alcohol/drugs, watching tv, playing games… basically anything but face the reality in front of us.
That’s not to down-play the pain or tragedy that is there for us.
But at some level, when you know that as human beings we are hard-wired to adapt and survive… it can help with the mindset of persistence.
When you show up fully in life regardless of the pain, that is when you win.
Most leaders and business owners I know, became better because of the crash. It forced them to improve things in their businesses and certainly, any of the clients I worked with during that time learned the value of physical, mental and emotional fitness. In other words, the challenging time gave them the opportunity to get better.
And we have a similar opportunity now.
Imagine if you used this time to make your business, team or yourself a minimum of +10% better?
We’d all emerge stronger and better.
And when you’re better, you adapt quicker.
What would a minimum of +10% look like to you?
And if you’re up for it, where can you start this week?
Useful Stuff For This Time: