Dear Fellow ALPHA,
If you are like me, you try and see the best in every situation. The silver lining, the glass half full. You look for the possibility of success when others fail to see anything good. This type of mindset will allow you to prevail when others choose to surrender. However, there is a cold hard truth about life that people rarely talk about.
That is, you need to expect adversity, hard times & setbacks.
I know that reading this might have surprised you a little. Especially since many of you know me as an intensely optimistic individual. So, how can I tell you to expect difficulty? Well, because it’s the truth.
If you truly think you won’t face adversity at some point in life you aren’t being optimistic, you are straight up delusional. If you want someone to tell you everything will be sunshine and daffodils - you got the wrong guy. I have too much respect for your potential to lie to you and throw shade on an area of success rarely talked about.
As you may be aware, I pride myself on being a realist with a surplus of faith. I work at seeing situations for what they are, no better or worse, exactly what they present. I do this so I can develop a strategy to move forward and unleash my faith. This combination allows me to attack life & expect greatness. I expect things to workout for the best. The funny thing is, they usually do in spite of the adversity I have faced. A large part of being a faith filled realist is being aware of the fact that adversity will happen.
Adversity doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, tall, short, white, black or how well connected you are. Adversity digs its claws into all of us at one point or another. Nobody is exempt. Oh and adversity hits with a fair amount of regularity.
For example, did you know since 1950 the United States has experienced 10 recessions? That means approximately every 6 ½ years our economy puts the breaks on. The stock market tanks, jobs are lost and, as a result, many people’s finances are stressed. Most people are completely unaware of this trend.
As such, many Americans are caught unprepared during an economic downturn. This isn’t a surprise according to financial guru Dave Ramsey who states 62% of Americans have access to less than $1,000 cash in case of an emergency.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a sound way to make yourself immune to troubles and adversity. Looking at your vision board won’t protect you. Visualizing adversity will go away is a futile exercise. Ignoring adversity only makes it grow in power. So, does this mean you should just walk around waiting for this Universal Bogyman to show up? Should you hesitate to move forward out of fear?
I say, "Hell NO!"
The way you deal with adversity is having a plan before it happens. If you are expecting adversity to show up, shouldn’t you get ready for it? If you were expecting people over for dinner wouldn’t you prepare for them? Well, this is no different.
Time to take out some adversity insurance by implementing the following 3 steps in adversity preparation...
Step 1: Develop a back up plan
Taking the time to develop a strategic back up plan is the first step for becoming prepared. Using the recession example above, it would be wise to start saving for a rainy day. Especially since recessions hit with a fair amount of regularity. Setting aside a few bucks every paycheck could make the difference between feeling a pinch or a kick to the gut when adversity hits.
All athletes should be aware that injuries (physical adversity) are apart of athletics. Don’t be naïve, everyone experiences it sooner or later. This means you should have a working relationship and direct access to a health care professional who specifically treats athletes. That way, in the event you have a setback, you can get things fixed ASAP. Less down time means more progress.
Whatever your goal is, be it financial independence, physical achievement or something else, developing a strategic safety net is an imperative step.
Step 2: Don’t over leverage
I have been transparent in previous articles that I strongly believe in taking risks. Calculated risks. However, taking risks doesn’t mean being foolish by over leveraging yourself financially, emotionally or physically. If you don’t have the resources available or the ability, you shouldn’t do it.
Seems pretty simple, but rarely do people hold to it. Emotion is usually to blame for people breaking this fundamental step. They want it now, so they whip out the credit card. Or they want to impress that hot brunette in the gym, so they throw another plate on the bar. Now, they are over leveraged. All it takes is a slight amount of adversity to cause a catastrophic event. Plus, the brunette probably wasn’t even looking your direction anyway.
Take inventory of your current limits and work within these boundaries. While at the same time trying to expand them. Never bet the house on a whim or an emotional reaction. Once you over leverage yourself, your guard is down and you are open for adversity to strike a knockout blow.
Many times people can over leverage themselves and get away without penalty. However, the odds are stacked against someone who repeatedly lives an over leveraged life. Stay balanced emotionally, financially and physically. If there comes a time when you need to become over leveraged, try and limit the amount of time you are vulnerable.
Step 3: Punch back
The 3rd step is my favorite, punch back! When adversity strikes, be ready to strike back. This counter strike is done with both emotional and physical weaponry. The reason punching back is vital to dealing with adversity is because when you punch back you develop grit. This grit is what stays with you and makes you stronger moving forward.
When you go through a difficult time the first counter strike comes in your psychology. This occurs by using what I call emotional intensifiers - something that gets you fired up. Say to yourself or out loud if you prefer:
"This problem just picked the wrong person, on the wrong day to mess with!"
"I never quit, I come from a family of warriors in fact my DNA reads: Never give in and never surrender."
"I am more than a conqueror."
"Adversity makes me stronger!"
Using emotional intensifiers will help engage your fight or flight response. This response will trigger you to take action and tackle the problem head on.
Next, get physically active. If you were financially kicked to the curb don’t waste a second licking your wounds. Immediately start searching for a new job or other avenues of income. If you face physical adversity, dive head first into the rehab protocol and give it everything you’ve got. Waste no time getting back in the saddle.
Adversity doesn’t like to hangout long with people who have the grit of a warrior. In fact, adversity starts to crumble once people start punching back. It may take a few swings and you will probably break an emotional or physical sweat during the process, but it will be worth it in the end.
These 3 steps can help lessen the blow that adversity delivers and it can provide a level of insurance against it. However, not unlike regular insurance, these steps won’t guarantee you will be accident free. They provide you with a back up incase an accident occurs.
When you find yourself going through a troublesome season remember you are not alone. All great men and women (you know, the ones people write books about) have overcome large amounts of adversity. Not just a few of these great people, but ALL of them. Read their stories and you will see it clear as day. These people found a way to overcome adversity.
Personal stories of overcoming adversity are the secret handshake of the elite. So, the next time adversity rears it’s head, have the resolve to tell yourself you won’t quit. You won't surrender, you won't give in. Once the storm has passed, you will have your story to share as well as your secret handshake.
Until next time,
Attack your life with passion and always punch back!
Co-Founder and CEO, RAM