We’ve all been there – in any profession, in any job, even in our personal lives. We get handed a left hook to the jaw that we never saw coming and are expected to keep on moving forward. Easier said than done, right? One of my all-time favorite goalies, Grant Fuhr, said it best when asked about how he moved on after a game where he was not great and I don’t know I’ve seen it said better than this.
This quote gave me my motivation and idea for this week’s article. How do we keep going in the face of adversity. Here are my top three ways that I keep the ship headed forward even after hitting an iceberg or two.
Learn from Your Mistakes, but Don’t Dwell on Them
Nine times out of ten when we get knocked down it’s likely due to a mistake of some kind that we made. Perhaps we didn’t do a good enough risk assessment or get on that issue soon enough. Whatever the cause of the problem is, the key is to learn from it to get better and not to dwell on it. Losing sleep over something that’s already happened is not logical. We should be focused on the plan to fix the problem, not stressing out over how or why it happened even if it’s our fault.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
There’s a big reason that we work in teams. No one person can do it all themselves – teams are there to support each other and help when needed. When you’re in trouble the worst thing you can do is not ask for help. Some think that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness when it’s exactly the opposite. It means we’re self-aware enough that we can’t dig ourselves out of this problem alone and need someone to give us a hand. There’s no worse feeling than thinking you are alone and on your own in solving a big problem – don’t compound your difficult tasks with trying to do it all yourself when you have a team ready and willing to help.
Realize What’s Truly Important
This is a new one for me. Throughout most of my career, my job was my identity – I viewed myself only as successful as my last project or task. That’s an enormous amount of pressure to put on one’s self. After a few life-changing events (some good, some bad) and with a couple of extra birthday candles you come to realize that life isn’t always just about coming in 5% under budget all the time. It’s about finding that balance of working hard and enjoying what you work hard to achieve. Having a child and losing a parent helped put things into perspective for me and when I’m having a bad day or worried about hitting that next big milestone in a project it helps to sit back and put things into perspective. It doesn’t make me minimize the importance of what I’m doing but it lets me approach it with a much greater sense of calm and focus.
Part of being a leader is having the ability to keep your head when others around you are losing theirs. Bad things will happen. It’s about how we react and push forward that defines the toughness of our character. It’s being willing to push back when we are pushed. When teams see their leaders in a steady sense of calm even when things are going sideways, they will emulate that attitude and work with a similar demeanor to keep pushing forward and achieve the ultimate goal.
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