The score is tied with only seconds on the clock. You have possession. Time seems to have sped up exponentially and the pressure is so intense you feel like you’re about to burst. Suddenly the official calls you out on a bogus penalty and your shot rickashays off the rim. The chance is gone. The glimmer of hope for a win is a thing of the past. It’s not going to be a fun post-game locker room.
Every athlete in their career has faced some sort of adversity, whether big or small, and no matter what the circumstances, it still triggers a flood of emotions. Frustration, resentment, discouragement, pain. The key is learning how to use these emotions to your advantage. Adversity can be the catalyst to create great change in your life. To help you grow into the person and leader you should be.
What is adversity?
When I think of “adversity”, the word that comes to mind is setback. I think of adversity being like a roadblock that can keep you reaching your destination. This can manifest itself as
- Physical – an injury (been there!), or sickness
- Emotional/Mental – Anger, fear, doubt
- Financial – poverty, bankruptcy
- Social – relationships
Overcoming adversity means you actually have to be better at identifying and solving a problem. What can you do to fix this to allow yourself to keep moving towards your goals?
Adversity and Resilience
In my previous blog post, I talked about building up resilience. How does resilience play a role when faced with adversity? Simple. Adversity builds resilience. Recognizing adversity helps you determine how you are going to bounce back from setbacks. If you don’t have some kind of adversity in your life you can’t really grow. Building up your resilience is going to help you face your challenges head-on when they do happen.
So what does this all mean and how can you apply it to your daily walk and long-term goals? I’ve found that when faced with adversity it can reveal certain characteristics that you can use for self-improvement and building your character.
Adversity Builds Empathy
When was the last time somebody told you a story about a difficult time in their life and you could relate to them? We grow through our experiences with one another. Facing adversity means learning to relate to each other’s struggles and gives us a desire to take action to help relieve their pain. That’s why I love surrounding myself with people that have overcome their hardships only to give back to others who need help.
Adversity Exposes Our Weaknesses
When we are faced with a difficult situation, it makes us vulnerable. How many times has something happened to you when you realize how unprepared you really were? Adversity exposes our shortcomings and brings to light those problem areas we need to focus on to improve ourselves.
Adversity Gives Us Wisdom
Remember the phrase, “work smarter, not harder?” When we’re staring in the face of adversity, it forces us to think outside the box, to discard those so-called solutions that didn’t work and come up with a new gameplan. Think of adversity as your teacher and you’re about to learn a valuable lesson.
Adversity Gives Us Focus
We are bombarded everyday with other people telling us how we should think, act and feel. When adversity rears its head, it will throw you off course distancing you further away from your vision and goals. Don’t be discouraged! Use this opportunity to plant your feet, stand strong and refocus your attention on the things that matter. Zero in on that goal and visualize yourself going for the win.
Adversity Makes Us Willing to Take Risks
I recently read a quote that said, “Take the risk. If you win you’ll be happy. If you lose you’ll be wise.” Facing adversity can make us afraid. It can paralyze us and keep us stagnant, afraid to take chances for fear of failing again. Don’t let it. You’ll be happy with yourself if you can look back and recognize that even when you were unsure, you took the leap of faith and pushed through. The worst thing you can do is let adversity keep you standing still.
Adversity Gives Us Motivation
What are you passionate about? What drives you? Let’s face it, there’s going to be times when you get clocked. Sometimes you may feel like Job from the Bible, constantly getting beat down with one more problem after another. But remember, God is never going to give you more than you can handle, even though sometimes you may feel like the weight of the world is crashing down upon you. Have faith, stay strong and use this experience to push you to keep fighting the good fight.
When somebody tells you it can’t be done, do you believe them? When somebody tells you you’re not going to make it, do you just accept it? I think it’s a rite of passage as you work towards your goals that somebody is going to tell you at some point that you’re not good enough. The key to success and failure is how you respond. Overcoming adversity means breaking through the barriers, learning how to identify your strengths and weaknesses and betting on yourself even when the odds are stacked against you.
That’s going for the win.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast, Betting on Yourself. Make sure to subscribe to my email list to stay connected with me and never miss an update!