Dr. Lisa Gonzales
The Upside of Adversity
I am a firm believer that obstacles are put in our way to teach us a lesson. And some of us have more lessons to learn than others. We stumble and learn to pick ourselves up. We really fall on our faces and a valuable lesson emerges that, hopefully, helps us to navigate better in the future.
But are there ways to better prepare and handle the moments when the adversity is hitting us square in the face?
One strategy is to identify what the problem really is. I've always appreciated the "why" cycle. Ask yourself why, then respond with the why to that answer. A cycle of five of those will either help you hone in tightly to the issue or drive you a bit batty, but there is a great deal of research on this approach as a true game changer. (The five why's problem solving approach is accessible below).
The second strategy? Ask yourself what is the worst that comes out of it. Some days, I'll have team members hesitant to bring me bad news for fear of what might come next. My frequent response is "did someone die" because if not, it is likely fixable. The laptop order from July 2020 was just delayed another six months? Find another supplier. A roof just leaked? Get someone out ASAP to address the issue. Time to find a new sandbox to play in? A new opportunity to hone different skills is ahead.
Coming to terms with the worst outcome is something you can get situated in your head. At times, we vacillate over what to do and suffer paralysis by analysis, but often the energy we put into worrying is often met with the challenge that doesn't happen. So the bigger question is...what if the worst does come to fruition? What might the next step be and how can you best position to respond accordingly? Are there any ways to mitigate the consequences and impacts?
That leads to the final strategy. Your attitude and reaction to the adversity and consequences. Now that the worst has happened, what are your response steps? Think through through and come up with a plan, investing in the time needed to surmise the situation while enlisting those key "phone a friend" individuals to see what else can be done to support the learning and transition.
Adversity is all around us, and the pandemic has most definitely awakened the resilience muscle that we may have let get a little weak. However, the ability to bounce back with a positive attitude only strengthens our resolve to tackle adversity better in