When we find ourselves in tough situations, they become less frustrating, less likely to make us label ourselves a failure or some other negative thing if we decide we’re going to look at them as a sign that we’re growing and doing it all on purpose.
Instead of allowing tough situations to bring us down, we’re making them work for us.
It’s like: “At the time, it was just awful. But in hindsight, facing that [layoff/fight/awful person/ridiculous job] was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Real people/their stories:
- “I really don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t go through my divorce. At the time, it was terrible, but having to deal with John cheating on me woke me up to just how strong I am and how much being able to trust someone really means to me.”
- “I look around my shop and think, ‘Look what I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gotten fired and instead stayed in that awful job?’ I am so deliriously happy now.”
- “When Jill quit at the worst possible time for my business, I couldn’t deny it any more: I was a terrible manager. Once I could see the price I was paying for not having a clue how to manage people, I grew up about it—read a few books, took some courses, and most of all, changed how I acted. Then, I added more people, and my business finally started to take off.”
- “After Sara told a bunch of people that I wasn’t qualified to teach, I learned never to accept that kind of behavior from someone. I let it go that one time, and I know the consequences. I’ll be ready if there’s ever a next time.”
- “I know now to trust my gut instinct when it comes to the people I meet. I went ahead and bought a car from someone who gave me a seriously bad vibe, and it came back to bite me. Cost me thousands and a night stranded on the highway in a snowstorm. Never again am I gonna let somebody I don’t trust talk me into something. If my instincts are telling me no, I don’t do it. End of story.”
In the end, these people saw a tough situation as a stepping stone. And here’s what’s really amazing: the experiences they had were bad (and sometimes really bad), and it would be naïve and just too “Suzy Sunshine” to pretend otherwise.
So I’m not trying to make light of our tough times, but there’s a secret weapon here: when we choose to see situations this way—as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block—we automatically come out in a good place. We take the hit, but we don’t stay down. We deliberately CHOOSE to see a situation as a learning experience, not a defeat, embarrassment, waste of energy, or any other type of loss or closed door.
Unstoppable, that’s what we are.