Adversity = an unwanted outcome or a departure away from the ideal scene in our minds. This happens all day every day around the world and it is only a matter of degree of how much adversity we will face. The question then becomes what we do with this adversity and how can we use it to accelerate our progress vs. stagnate our movements. No matter how much we try and steel our minds with positive energy or content when that blow strikes it still de-stabilizes our equilibrium and can keep us down and out for months, and for some years. Our confidence is shaken to the core.
One of my favorite years as a women’s basketball coach was a year that we had all kinds of promise. We had a talented team with a super star player and local darling to the community named Anne Marie Lanning. She was such a warrior and ultimately scored over 2,700 points for us and lead our team to the first ever championship. This was her junior season and we were picked to win the district. Moving along nicely early in the season Anne Marie suffered an injury that caused her to be absent for 10 total games. Everyone was devastated and believed our chances at a championship run was over. I knew immediately I had to devise a plan and sell our players on how we would use this unwanted outcome to “accelerate progress” vs. “stagnate our entire season.” I remember Jack Welch coming up with certain rules he would use in a crisis. This was a form of a crisis for us (a departure away from the ideal scene).
Here are the five rules I came up with and then sold them to our team:
- Replace the question: Why is this happening to us to what is this trying to teach us?
- Ask this question: What was our direct contribution to this unwanted outcome vs. blaming others.
- Get stable. We can’t make good decisions when we are emotional.
- Get help. Reach out to those who have been through similar scenarios and seek wisdom and guidance.
- Get busy. There is power in taking action, even sometimes when it’s the wrong action. Energy and action can solve a good funk.
I went in and sold these five things to our team. I said, “We are grateful for this adversity because it will allow others who have held back to step up and show what they are truly capable of becoming.”
Guess what? We won 9 out of the 10 next games and everyone got better. When Anne Marie came back we continued to improve and finally won that championship we had been looking for for all of those years.
Use adversity this week to accelerate your progress and remember these “Five rules of a crisis.”