Sounds crazy, right? Initially, when I heard a friend say this over the weekend, I thought he was off his rocker. He offered no clear explanation to his line of thought. He just said, “Think about it” and we moved on to talking about something completely different.
I gave it considerable thought, and realized he was absolutely right. Nothing truly great has ever happened in my life during times of ease, comfort, and (dare I say it) complacency. One look at my LinkedIn profile will show you that I’ve experienced my share of adversity, and through it, achieved some pretty great things. Most of the time, I chose to go down the less comfortable path to see where it would take me. Other times, the forces of nature took care of providing discomfort whether I wanted it or not.
Adversity is what Leadership was created from. If life were easy, consistently comfortable, we wouldn’t need Leadership to help guide us. We would live our lives, never needing to be courageous, leaving behind the necessity to seek out the wisdom of others. Moreover, we would find no reasons to grow ourselves or those around us.
Adversity can be burdensome at times. Some people expend an enormous amount of effort making themselves “comfortable being uncomfortable.” I believe this takes away from the gifts adversity is trying to give you. Being uncomfortable encompasses a ton of different feelings. Uncertainty, fear, exhilaration, and joyfulness seem to be among the most popular expressed. I like to think of it more as a heightened sense of awareness. Those times of clarity where you note every detail around you.
Here’s what I do to use adversity as a tool, both personally and as a Leader:
- EMBRACE IT! Whether you chose it or not, adversity has come to the door. Don’t worry! Consider the possibilities of what you can do, the change you can affect in yourself and others, and open the door!
- PLAN YOUR WORK! Have the hard discussions, seek the wisdom of those who have been there before. Most importantly, record it all. Write it down, type it out, record audio or video; what ever way you are most familiar with. If you don’t document what you’ve learned and the plan you’ve built, it will never go anywhere, and you and your team will not grow.
- WORK YOUR PLAN! Execute on what you have planned out. If it’s personal, find someone in your life to help hold you accountable to executing on the plan. If it’s for those you are leading, don’t be afraid to hold your team, or team member, accountable to executing on the plan.
It really is that simple. Don’t over-complicate it. If you need help, reach out to your mentors and leaders. Find a Coach you trust, and GO FOR IT!
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” ~ Bruce Lee