Adversity is an inevitable part of life. Legendary football coach Lou Holtz has said, “Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I’ve never had a crisis that didn’t make me stronger. I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity.”
At the time of this writing, COVID-19 has thrust unprecedented adversity upon millions around the globe, with states and countries implementing shelter-in-place mandates that have shut down entire industries with almost no warning. Subsequently, our news feeds have been filled with headlines of layoffs, furloughs, bear markets, and recession forecasts. Many are facing real crisis within their business right now.
We can’t control COVID-19 or its economic impact around the world, but we do control how we respond to the crisis.
Adversity is almost always an opportunity. Adversity can be the fuel and catalyst to discover what we are truly capable of — individually and organizationally — as we cultivate new strengths while refining existing aptitudes. “Adversity is the crucible of greatness.”
Stressful situations like the one we find ourselves in right now can trigger a cascade of stress hormones associated with our instinctual “fight-or-flight” response. This near instantaneous response triggers physiological changes too, which can impair our ability to think clearly. The quality of our decisions can be compromised.
In an earlier podcast episode of “Success That Lasts,” David Miller, PhD, discussed the neuroscience of mindfulness and shared numerous strategies and tactics to reduce stress and think more clearly. If you’re battling stress and anxiety right now, you should check out the episode. Beyond mindfulness alone, how we think about and position adversity can have profound impact on our ability to respond positively to it.
What we’re experiencing right now with the novel coronavirus can be likened to a forest fire. Forest fires are unpleasant, unwanted, and destroy beautiful places. However, forest fires do have ecological benefits that rarely get discussed. Fires break down valuable minerals and nutrients within plants and forest debris. The resulting forest soil is enhanced, thus making the area more fertile. Canopies are opened, sunlight reaches the newly fertilized soil, and new forest life is made possible.
In fact, lodgepole pines have seeds that are tightly sealed by resin inside the cone. The cones can’t open unless exposed to extremely high temperatures most associated with fires. Scientists call this “serotinous,” meaning a seed that requires an environmental trigger in order to be released. Thus, years’ worth of seeds sealed inside lodgepole pinecones on the forest floor are activated during a fire and colonize the newly fertilized soil with a new generation of trees. What “seeds” were laying dormant inside of you prior to this “fire” started by COVID-19?
We recently interviewed Anthony Trucks on our podcast, “Success That Lasts.” Give the episode “Bridging the Identity Gap” a listen; it may help you better position this moment of fear and adversity as an opportunity to realize previously unrealized potential.
Anthony’s success has come from the power to understand his identity and navigate life’s shifts — good and bad — with grace and optimism. Anthony leads a company, Identity Shift, which is focused on helping people close the “Identity Gaps” that are responsible for their shortfall in potential and lack of success.
Having entered into the foster care system at age 3, and Anthony spent the majority of his life fighting to find out who he is and what he’s meant to do. He’s a former NFL athlete, former gym owner, international speaker, author, shift coach, and is on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior where he became the first former NFL athlete to hit a buzzer. He has overcome countless challenges to “Make Shift Happen” in his life. A gift he now gives to others through his life’s work.
Tune in here: delapcpa.com/podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts!