9 Keys to Help You Grow and Thrive from Adversity
The key to awakening and unleashing the seeds of greatness within you begins with cultivating inner-strength. As Robin Sharma puts it, “Get your mindset, heartset and character up to exceptional and your life cannot help but become exceptional.”
This is good news because each of us can learn to cultivate personal disciplines that can be implemented with clear intention. We can purposefully engage our talent, knowledge and skills toward the dreams and goals we desire to manifest in our lives. Our challenge: we encounter a barrage of social influences on an every day basis which argue it is our circumstances that define who we become instead of our innate-power to choose who we become.
Millions of people for centuries have believed that we have always had the power to transform how we think and thus we have the power to transform our lives. In spite of new findings in positive psychology and neuroscience which backs up what was already known, many people are conditioned to believe that the power to change their lives exist outside of themselves. Thus, many smart and talented folks underestimate their ability to create and achieve new possibilities in their life.
If you or someone you know ruminates over the idea that there is more within you but you don’t know where to begin, this article is for you. After reading it, please share it with your friend. Perhaps you are just getting to know me, so it’s important that I make it clear to you that I’m on mission to help people dismiss the BS beliefs that have chained them to a lifestyle that is not a reflection of their highest aspirations and potential.
One of the most powerful ways for me to be a supportive companion and wise guide to you and others on this personal journey of exploration, discovery and empowerment is to provide you with details of my story which you can read about here while sharing success stories of people who were able to develop the inner-strength and belief in their power to transform their mindset, heartset and character. Their transformation empowered them to rise above daunting circumstances and create sustainable success.
One of the individuals who has been able to do this is Chris Gardner. In his book,Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be Chris builds on his personal story highlighted in his book Pursuit of Happyness by sharing with readers many of the personal practices that empowered him to go from being homeless to building a successful career with Dean Witter Reynolds before becoming the owner and CEO of his multi-million business, Gardner Rich LLC with offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Chris Gardener did not have a perfect childhood. He never knew his father. He lived with his beloved mother, Bettye Jean Triplett when not in foster homes. Despite not knowing his father and living in foster homes, he believed in his power to define his future. Gardner acknowledges his gratitude for his mother providing him with a strong spiritual foundation and belief that in spite of where he came from, he could chart another path and attain whatever goals he set for himself.
My friend, this belief that was instilled in Gardner served as an anchor to keep him afloat in the midst of the many storms he faced as a child and adult. This belief in his ability to choose how he would respond to his circumstances versus allowing his circumstances define who he would become empowered him to transform the trajectory of his life when it seemed to those who knew him that the odds against him was too great for him to succeed and perhaps he should just settle for his lot in life.
The Adversity Advantage
Have you felt as if the odds were too great for you to succeed? Are you feeling this way now? If so, don’t be hard on yourself because each of us face challenges in life when we feel uncertain about our future, doubtful about our abilities and fearful that we’ve missed our chance to change our lives. For decades, the simple truth that as long as I am alive, I have reason to hope and believe that things can be better have continuously inspired me to keep pressing forward during seasons in my life when it seemed as if all hell was breaking loose and I was spinning wheels with no tangible progress.
The most important lesson I’ve learned when life challenges me to be faithful and grateful and maintain a positive outlook regardless of my circumstances is this, during “ALL” of these moments the challenges I faced inspired me to initiate a deeper dive and tap into a greater measure of the innate-strength residing in my spirit.
My stick-to-itiveness, character and self-leadership habits were all developed as a result of challenging times in my life. This is why I have maintained a strong conviction that adversity when viewed from an empowering perspective gives us an advantage in life. Even Stephen Covey wrote in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “private victories precede public victories.”
Would I have learned the strength of my spirit and faith without the adversity I’ve faced? I’m not sure. Nor do I believe that one can only learn key life lessons through suffering and hard times. If that was the case, all of the people that live on the streets in your community and mine would have learned the lesson and been able to move beyond homelessness. I know for sure that a shift in one’s inner game often leads to a more expansive perspective towards any situation. It is through this heart space and mindset that we are receptive to the possiblity of creating new possibilities in our life.
So as you read the following list of personal traits that Gardner highlights were key to him being able to rise above homelessness and become a multi-millionaire, consider how you can embody the fullness of these traits right now in your life. Don’t think that this is just another list. It is no accident that you are reading this post. So often, people read articles like this as just something to do without considering how they can go about applying the information to create the change they desire. Put forth the effort toward developing your mindset, heart set and character up to exceptional. Raise your expectations of yourself and you’ll raise your well-being.
The following nine personal traits are outlined in Gardner’s book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. They provide you with clues as to how you can awaken the seeds of greatness dwelling within you so that you can take purposeful action towards becoming the person you were destined to be, regardless of the circumstances that you face at this moment.
1. Think Like an Entrepreneur: You do not have to be an entrepreneur to think like one. Employees who take ownership of their professional success understand the importance of contributing what is deemed most relevant to the success of a business. They make it their business to do so, day in and day out, without having a need to be told to do so. They also realize that their professional reputation is their personal brand. Their brand communicates their ethics and trustworthiness.
2. Move Mountains: In addition to mountain moving faith, the power of focus enables you to develop and execute successful strategies to achieve your professional and personal goals and objectives. Attention is energy. The greater its intensity, the greater your capacity to maintain the laser-like focus necessary to dismiss distractions that would delay or prevent your success.
3. Unify Your Efforts: Scattered efforts produce scattered results. When you are able to focus on purpose and concentrate your energies towards that which is deemed priorities related to your goals and objectives, you will increase your effectiveness and level of success.
4. The Calvary Ain’t Coming: You have to take responsibility for the success you want in life. See challenges as opportunities to discover how capable you are. Failure is not permanent. It serves only as feedback which is always useful in strategizing a campaign to achieve specific goals. People can and will support and assist you but at the end of the day, your life is your responsibility. Blaming your past, your circumstances, your parents, your family, and hard breaks in life for the reason why you choose to abdicate taking responsibility for your life will not empower you to create and sustain the happiness and success you want in life.
If it’s to be, it’s up to your faith in God and your willingness to do what it takes to make it happen. Period. Assuming that anyone wants to take on the full time job of making sure your needs are met and that you are happy and successful is foolishness and borders on self-deception. Gardner writes, “Victory against the odds had everything to do with ending the reliance on a calvary coming to rescue him.”
5. Identify Your Personal B.S: Gardner asserts that we have to call ourselves on our own BS. He says, “We give too much credence to chance and not enough to choice. The millions of people who defy statistics and succeed in life not in spite of the odds but because of them.”
How often do you make excuses about why you can't be productive? Or, why you can't focus on what needs your attention to move the needle in your life? If you can control it, your excuse is merely a disguise for your lack of discipline. Unless, you have a health issue that prevents you from taking the action.
6. With Action Comes Traction: Gardner writes, “Find whatever it is within your current situation you can control and start there. Whenever you own your choices, good or bad you empower yourself. The habits of thinking take longer to change then behavior. The key is to start and allow the initiation of action to create momentum- this is not an opinion, it’s the law of physics.”
What actions have you taken today that is aligned with creating the life and success you desire to experience in your life? If you continue to do what you are doing, what will have changed in your life within the next 3 months, 6 months or 12 months? The change you want to experience requires you to expect more from yourself.
7. Baby Steps Count, too!: Gardner says, “Remind yourself- no matter how slow your progress baby steps count. What matter is that you are headed in the right direction. Sense of purpose keeps you moving forward and helps guide you when choosing which step to take next.”
At the end of each day, identify what went well for you. It doesn't matter how small the win is, just make sure that you start to acknowledge the progress you are making on a daily basis. Progress is a process. This process is made up of small things we do overtime. Make sure you are mindful of the progress you are making.
8. Maintain Oceanic Persistence: Gardner points out, “the ocean is relentless, always moving with the power and purpose nature has given it – the tide inching forward with every wave. The dynamics of our situation changes once we become purposeful and directed.”
When you are faced with overcoming daunting odds to achieve any goal, the strength of your inner game is critical to maintaining the stick-to-itiveness necessary to accomplish it. If you are challenged by this, find out how my Living Strong Inside Out Masterclass can reduce your learning curve on how to develop, build and nurture a strong inner resolve.
9. Face Your Fears: Gardner writes, “Fear is the most common obstacle that stands in our way or holds us back from our highest self and aspirations. No one, except us can make the fear we feel disintegrate. We have to take it upon ourselves to develop the skills necessary to manage our fears in a way that works personally for us. The means to doing so is unique as our DNA.”
In my book Find Your Brave, I share the process of how I learned how to shift my relationship with fear and how it helps me to see fear as a gift that presents me with a door to new opportunities.
I end this post with this poem:
Your Dimension of Greatness
No one can know the potential,
Of a life that is committed to win;
With courage- the challenge it faces,
To achieve great success in the end!
So, explore the Dimension of Greatness,
And believe that the world CAN be won;
By a mind that is fully committed,
KNOWING that task can be done!
Your world has no place for the skeptic,
No room for the DOUBTER to stand;
To weaken your firm resolution
That you CAN EXCEL in this land!
We must have VISION to SEE our potential,
And FAITH TO BELIEVE that we can;
Then COURAGE TO ACT with conviction,
To become what GOD MEANT us to be!
So, possess the strength and the courage
To conquer WHATEVER you choose;
It’s the person WHO NEVER GETS STARTED
That is FOREVER doomed to loose.
It's Your Move. Aspire Higher.
References: Your Dimensions of Greatness by Angel Valdez found on www.poemhunter.com.