Top 10 responses to adversity

Your best customer defects to the competition. You lose your job. You get bad news from your doctor. Your best friend is leaving town. If even one of these things has happened to you lately, you’re a candidate for this list. Scour it for ideas that will get you back on track.

1. Keep it in perspective. Something awful just happened to you, but your world isn’t falling apart. If you don’t believe this, think back to past adversities and see that your world is still intact.

2. Grieve properly. There is nothing wrong with feeling bad. In fact, denying your emotions may slow your return to normalcy. Expect to proceed through the grieving stages of disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, self-pity, depression, and acceptance. Don’t linger at any one stage. If you are unable to progress to acceptance, get help.

3. Maintain confidence in your resilience. Don’t underestimate your power to bounce back. Use this dreadful event as an opportunity to prove what you’re made of. Recognize that your greatest limitations are self-imposed.

4. Take care of yourself. Continue to do the things you’ve always done to remain healthy and energetic. Increase your exercise regime. Build a reservoir of strength to draw from when you need it.

5. Distract yourself. Every time you catch yourself complaining, worrying, or feeling hopeless, snap out of it. Immerse yourself in an activity that will fill your mind with uplifting thoughts.

6. Find the opportunity. Every adversity represents a change in the status quo. Every change in the status quo creates a new opportunity somewhere in your life. Channel the energy that some people put into anger or despair into searching for that opportunity.

7. Take a chance. When things were going along smoothly, there was little incentive to shake things up. There was little reason to take risks. Adversity often gives you the courage to gamble for a chance at something better. Getting fired from a cushy sales job may encourage you to take a crack at that consulting dream you’ve always had but were too fearful to pursue.

8. Accept help. You probably have family members, friends, and colleagues who can offer emotional support in your despair. Don’t go off by yourself to lick your wounds. There’s safety in numbers.

9. Don’t let anything impact your belief in yourself. Remember it’s easy to take defeats and challenges on your self-esteem side, what we call your “identity.” Having what we call an “I” (identity) attack can occur easily if we do not make a conscious effort to protect our beliefs in our self.

10. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Go back and review again #1. If everything was easy in life, would you really appreciate the wins and victories? Probably not. Welcome adversity and learn and grow from it.

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