Adversity doesn’t send a text to let you know it’s coming over to wreck your progress.
I know I’ve had those times when everything’s headed in the direction of my dreams, and with no warning, life sucker-punched me.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready for it. I was ill-prepared. All I wanted to do was sit in a corner and ruminate for hours about what I should have, could have, or would have done had I known this was coming.
But don’t we all know adversity doesn’t work that way?
Still, can you live your life in a way that prepares you for adversity? Yes, you can.
Intentional Living and Adversity
So, what prepares you for adversity? When you live with intention, resilience prepares you for adversity. But what does it mean to be resilient? Resilience is not only the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to challenging life experiences, it’s much more.
You see, resilience is a skill you can build for adversity. Resilience is a valuable skill that can be cultivated and practiced. As a skill, resiliency is proactive, not reactive. We can strengthen resiliency throughout our self-awareness journey.
For instance, if we have a loss, we learn a lesson for the next stage time we are faced with adversity. An example would be if you begin a project you know will put you on the map as a creative. You start the project and everything is going great, so it seems.
Suddenly, things start to fall apart and you realize your budget has been blown, but you keep going.
During the project, you get slammed with one problem after another. A vendor sends the wrong order. Now, your order has been backed up for days. The location you wanted for your event isn’t available. You just found out two people on your team tested positive for Covid-19.
Yes, life be lifing!
By the end of the project, you’ve spent out, financially, emotionally, and mentally. And after all that work, the results are lackluster.
Nothing turned out the way that you wanted.
To Overcome Adversity Own the Loss But Learn the Lesson
Alas, while you may want to lie in bed for days, cry your heart out, and sulk for days, you’ve got to pick yourself up, dust off that failure, and move on or you don’t eat. And you like to eat.
The key is to choose wisdom over defeatism, instead of throwing yourself a pity party, you decide to:
1️) Acknowledge the Failure.
Acknowledging loss failure may seem counterintuitive to positivity. Why would I ever admit defeat? Acknowledging failure is not admitting defeat.
Acknowledging a failure helps you stop beating your head against the wall when something isn’t or hasn’t worked. Once a failure or loss is recognized, you can stop to see what this failure or loss can teach you.
And even, if this loss is a relationship or someone you love has left this life, we can’t stay in a state of denial or we will never heal.
2️) Review the Failure.
We all lose. We all fail.
And yet, amid a failure or loss, the response for many is to walk away without learning how they lost or failed.
When you acknowledge the loss, that’s the first step.
When you decide to review the loss, you carefully look at what happened without any excuses.
For instance, if your showing or event was a failure, you meet with your team as soon as possible to review to see what worked and what didn’t.
3️) Trace your steps until you find your misstep(s)
After reviewing the loss, your next question is, where did I go wrong? As such, you may have to trace your steps. If you get the wrong answer to a mathematical equation, you go back to step one and trace each step.
You would trace your steps until you figured out where you went wrong.
4️) Identify the problem(s)
After we trace our steps, the problem or problems will reveal themselves. Maybe the problem is, you missed a step or forgot an ingredient. Either way, you must find the problem before truly understanding a lesson.
The problem could be you stayed on that same dead-end job for too long, and now the doors are closing. You thought the job, no matter how terrible, would always be there.
Once you have acknowledged your failure, it is important to identify the cause of your failure. This can be a difficult task, but it is essential for learning from your mistakes. There are many possible causes of failure, such as:
- Lack of preparation
- Lack of knowledge or skills
- Poor decision-making
- Unforeseen circumstances
5️) Document the problem(s)
Why do we continue to repeat the same patterns? Hey, to be honest, we forget. We think we are doing things differently but repeatedly turning the same corners.
Hence, this is why documenting the problem is vital to learning the lesson and succeeding in the future.
6️) Extract what you’ve learned
Yes, you have identified and documented the problem. Now, you sit with your loss and extract the lessons learned. While sitting with your loss, take time for self-reflection, honesty, and self-compassion.
Moreover, it isn’t the time to make excuses about why you lost or failed. Instead, you have accepted the loss as your own and are ready to learn from it. Many questions will come to mind, and it would be a great practice to write down answers and the questions.
7️) Prepare to correct your action with a strategic plan
Now, friends, it’s no longer a loss. It’s a lesson. When your loss becomes a lesson, you have to decide if it is worth the investment to correct your failure or loss and make it a success.
There will be times when the best plan is to walk away and invest your creative energy in something more productive. Other times, you have to execute your action plan.
8) Execute your plan while standing strong despite adversity
You’ve learned the lesson and are prepared to correct your actions. And no, you’re not making corrections to restore the same old same old. If you want to bounce back harder, you do something with the lesson that will yield exponential results.
With such a commitment, not only will you bounce back harder, but your setback will become a setup for success.
7 Foundational Life Strategies To Become Adversity-Ready
As you build resilience, to be most effective, you must consider how to use it proactively and not reactively. You can fail over and over again and continue to react to your failures. To become proactive instead of reactive each time you are faced with adversity, you must become adversity-ready.
You will only be adversity-ready if you intentionally develop life strategies to prepare you for when times are tough.
To this effect, here are 7 foundational life strategies that will help you become adversity-ready:
1) Get adversity ready by building a strong support system
Research shows that resilience isn’t just an individual effort. You don’t have to be a lone wolf. Being part of a community helps build resilience.
Strong supportive relationships and networks become a buffer against stress and adversity. Community provides us with emotional support, practical help, a sense of belonging, and soul connection.
When we have strong social ties, culture, and spiritual and soul connections, we are more likely to cope with difficult times.
However, there are effective ways to be an active part of a community to reap the rewards of resilience.
- Provide emotional support. When we are going through a tough time, it can be helpful to talk to someone who cares about us and understands what we are going through. Our friends, family, and neighbors can offer us a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and words of encouragement. Of course, this must be reciprocated. There will be times that you offer support so you must learn to practice empathy and vulnerability.
- Offer practical help. When we are dealing with a crisis, it can be difficult to take care of ourselves and our responsibilities. Our community can help us by providing practical assistance, such as cooking meals, running errands, or taking care of our children.
- Give a sense of belonging. When we feel like we are part of a community, we have a sense of connection and purpose. This can help us to feel more positive and hopeful, even in difficult times. As well, you must be willing to be open-minded and willing to find common ground with others.
- Build self-esteem and self-worth. When we feel good about ourselves, we are more likely to cope effectively with stress. Our community can help us to build self-esteem by providing us with positive feedback and encouragement.
Overall, being part of a strong and supportive community can be a major asset in helping you face adversity as you strengthen your resiliency.
Interactions with people in our personal and professional lives can help us alter the magnitude of the challenge we’re facing or help us see a path forward to overcome a setback.
2) Practice stress management and relaxation techniques:
Including a regimen of exercise, which for some may include yoga or meditation, can be very important when feeling stressed. Other relaxation techniques such as guided imagery, deep breathing, or developing a mindfulness practice can also be helpful.
For example, mindfulness meditation helps you manage stress by
- Focusing on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
- Reducing rumination and negative thinking.
- Increasing self-awareness and compassion.
- Improving your ability to cope with difficult emotions.
- Promoting relaxation and well-being.
It is important to find a relaxation technique that works for you and to practice it regularly.
3) Take care of your physical health
Make sure to include physical activity in your daily routine, get plenty of sleep, create consistent bedtime rituals, and eat a healthy diet. Specifically, I practice a mostly plant-based diet rich in living and fresh foods. My diet consists of lots of raw, fresh, and living foods along with cooked foods and plenty of nutrient-rich greens, sprouted legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
As one who has suffered from fibroids, endometriosis, menorrhagia, and recently extreme weight gain (over 40 pounds in 3 years), I’ve worked very hard to try to mitigate the damage done by years of antibiotics in my system to treat infections due to bronchitis asthma, and treatments for cystic acne.
And not to mention nutrient deficiencies that went unaddressed for too many years.
Yes, I’ve had to become my own health advocate.
I also walk 3 miles a day and I’m reintroducing a light yoga practice. Yoga has been so refreshing and peaceful.
[NOTE: Soon, we will share more about Yoga, Meditative Walking, and Raw and Living Foods and how to incorporate more fresh meals in your diet here on Blue Lotus Living].
4) Adversity Will Bring Change Don’t Resist It:
Change is a part of life, and being able to adapt to it is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions.
Resisting change is like swimming against the current. It is exhausting and futile. When things are changing, it is important to evaluate your current situation and draw on your skills to work with the change, not against it. Working with change as it happens is how we evolve consciously and expand.
Change can be frightening, but it is also an opportunity for growth. When you embrace change, you open yourself up to new experiences and new possibilities. You may not always like the changes that happen in your life, but you can always choose to learn from them and grow from them.
5) Stay focused and productive
To be adversity-ready you must stay focused, flexible, and productive. You see, if you are focused and productive, you are prepared when adversity rears its head.
This is the proactive and intentional aspect of resiliency, you do this by:
- Choosing to practice good habits: Again, this includes things like eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Eating healthy means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some grains and legumes, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugar, and processed foods. Exercising regularly helps to improve your physical and mental health. Getting enough sleep is essential for cognitive function, mood, and overall health.
- Prioritizing your days: This means making sure you are working on the most important tasks first. To do this, you can use a time management tool like a to-do list or planner.
- Improving your executive functioning skills: This includes things like time management, organization, and problem-solving. Time management skills can be improved by setting realistic goals, breaking down tasks into smaller steps, and creating a schedule. Organization skills can be improved by creating a system for keeping track of tasks and materials. Problem-solving skills can be improved by brainstorming solutions, considering all options, and evaluating the pros and cons of each option.
- Research before you jump: It is important to do your research before making any major decisions, but it is also important to avoid getting bogged down in analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is when you spend so much time researching and planning that you never actually take action. Find a balance between doing enough research to make informed decisions and taking action without over-analyzing everything.
Here are some tips for avoiding analysis paralysis:
- Set a deadline for yourself and stick to it.
- Break down large tasks into smaller steps.
- Delegate tasks to others when possible.
- Take a breather so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Avoid perfectionism
- Learn to develop and trust your intuition
6) Counter negative and nonproductive thoughts:
Negative and nonproductive thoughts can be detrimental to your mental health and resilience. It’s important to practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, such as replacing:
- “I’ll never finish this” with “I have a plan in place to finish this.”
- “No one will like this” with “I’m proud of what I’ve created.”
- “I’m not good enough” with “I am capable of anything I set my mind to.”
When you catch yourself having a negative thought, challenge it and replace it with a more positive one. This can be difficult at first, but with practice, it will become easier. And the more you practice, the better you’ll feel.
Here are some other tips for replacing negative thoughts with positive ones:
- Be aware of your thoughts. The first step to changing your thoughts is to be aware of them. Pay attention to what you’re thinking, and notice when you have negative thoughts.
- Challenge your thoughts. Once you’re aware of your negative thoughts, challenge them. Ask yourself if they’re true. Are you a failure? Or did you just make a mistake?
- Replace your thoughts with positive ones. Once you’ve challenged your negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones. For example, if you think “I’m a failure,” replace it with “I’m capable of learning from my mistakes.”
- Practice makes excellent. The more you practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, the easier it will become. You’ll eventually see a difference in your thought patterns and your life.
Ultimately, it’s a question of self-esteem. Self-esteem is essential for coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. When we question our competency, our self-esteem can take a hit and lower.
Low self-esteem can make it difficult to cope with stress and recover from loss and failure. Remember, you must show yourself some compassion and grace.
Yes, it sounds so cliche, but everyone indeed makes mistakes. It is easy to forget we are all fallible when you are ashamed and beating up on yourself.
7) Define your sense of purpose:
Finding purpose can help you find meaning in life’s challenges. Instead of being discouraged by your problems with a defined purpose, you’ll be more motivated to learn from past experiences and keep going. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich called it “definite purpose.”
A sense of purpose can give you direction and motivation in life. It can help you focus on your goals and make decisions aligned with your values. When you have a sense of purpose, you are more likely to be resilient despite challenges. You are also more likely to find satisfaction and fulfillment in your life.
There are many ways to find your sense of purpose. You can reflect on your values, your interests, and your strengths. You can also try new things and see what sparks your interest. Once you know what you love and value, you can develop a plan to achieve your goals.
Finding your sense of purpose is something that you will continue to develop throughout your life. However, the effort is worth it. Having a sense of purpose can make a big difference between living a fulfilled, rich happy life or living in a perpetual state of misery.
Examples of purpose can include, giving a voice to a social movement, leading a healthy lifestyle, learning about different cultures, making art or music, or serving your community.
In conclusion, we can use adversity as a catalyst for personal growth. As you practice resilience-building strategies you can boldly live your life and actualize your dreams in the face of adversity.
As a result, you will discover that while unpredictable, you can be adversity-ready with intention, preparation, and an unwavering commitment to your well-being.
Furthermore, by weaving together the threads of self-awareness, support systems, stress management, and purpose, you possess the strength and courage to craft a holistic foundation to build your resilience.
No, this approach doesn’t promise immunity from adversity, but rather, this approach equips you with the tools to navigate it with grace and strength.
Subsequently, the message is:
“Resilience is not just a quality possessed by a fortunate few. Instead, anyone willing to do the work can develop resiliency.”
When you implement the principles and life strategies discussed, you can rewrite your narrative from a story of shame to victory.
Armed with these insights, you can confidently journey forward, ready to meet life’s with a strong spirit.