Adversity happens to everyone. But it is not adversity that defines an individual. Rather, definition occurs in how one chooses to respond to adversity in light of his or her greater purpose. Unfortunately, too many of us – coaches, athletes, leaders – experience adversity in some way, shape, or form and immediately adopt a victim mentality. We complain; we blow it out of proportion; we react brashly to those around us.

But from what I can tell, adversity comes to those who are doing something in this world, or have the potential to do something great…regardless of how “small” that may be. Diamonds are made under extreme heat and pressure; pearls are made through pain; katana blades are forged in fire. If we would only embrace adversity as part of the refining process, the often-painstaking experience of trial would inherently lose its spirit-crushing effect and instead be a spirit-fueling force. Instead of asking “Why me?” perhaps the better question is, “What now?” Then, get to work using the adversity to move into the next phase or mission of your life.

In any and all situations, there are three ways that we can shift our mindset from that of a victim to that of a Victor:

  1. Choose to Persevere – Make the decision up front that you are going to stay the course. If doubts come, release them and slap your mind back into focus. Excellence, greatness, change, and success are ultimately a choice. Only those who have made the steadfast decision to persevere despite adversity will lay hold of the intrinsic reward of true success.
  2. Trust the Process – We don’t always “win” as the world would define it. We don’t always see “results” immediately. Most people want to be great – to be a Champion – but they are not willing to do the things that Champions do. True success involves a process, and in moments of trial and tribulation it is critical that we focus on the process and the things we can control. We must continue to make daily progress, regardless of how small that may be. As the Pittsburgh Pirates say, “Get at least 1% of 1% better, every day,” and trust the process that those will add up to be your differentiator.
  3. Change your Perspective – If you are standing smack dab in front of a brick wall, it’s fairly difficult to see what else is going on around you. Take a step back. See the big picture. This shift in perspective often liberates your heart and mind to see this moment of adversity as a small blip on the eternal radar, minor in comparison to the adversity that some face, and indeed, an opportunity to be refined toward your greatness.

If your’e facing adversity, smile…you must be doing something right, and about to do something great!

Make the choice. Stay the course. Embrace adversity.

Be a Victor, not a victim!

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