Tuesday With Terry

When Times Are Tough, Go as Far as You Can See

If you roll back the videotape of your life, you can probably think of a time when you were accomplishing your goals, things were going great, and you were sitting up at the top of the mountain.

You were in what’s called, “The Zone.”

And as you reflect, you might think of times when you were learning the most. Was this when things were going great? Was this when you were blowing past goals, hitting quotas, and exceeding expectations?

More likely than not, you didn’t learn the most when you were up at the top of the mountain – you learned more in the valley. In the dumps. Where you were frustrated, struggling, and ready to give up. Where you had no one to talk to and no solutions to your problems, and everything seemingly just got heavier and heavier and heavier.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt there was no way out?

I have. There’s many times I felt that way. But there was one particular time that stands out among the rest, when I felt like I was losing it all.

At the time, I had a business, and I had poured all of my hopes, dreams, and money into it. I also had a partner, and he had a controlling interest. I was the operating partner, and over time, they essentially ousted me out of this role. Attorneys got involved, we tried to mediate, but the truth of the matter is that it was months full of hardship, stress, and worry. Everything I had worked so hard to build was a risk of being ripped out from underneath me.

One of the things I remind myself of during these times is that for everything in life, there’s a season. There’s good seasons where things go well, and there’s ones that don’t.

But if you can persevere, you can get through it. If you can get through the day, you can get through the week, and then the month, and then multiple months – and then before you know it, you’ve done it for a whole season.

The biggest thing when dealing with adversity is that you have to remind yourself that it is just a thing, it is just a process, and it will not last forever. 

Good things don’t last forever, but then again, neither do bad ones.

When the going gets tough, everybody wants to say the tough get going.

That’s easier said than done. How exactly does one stay determined so they can persevere in the face of adversity?

If you ask me, it’s by going as far as you can see. It sounds silly, but just bear with me for a moment.

Let’s say you have a day full of hardship ahead of you. You think you don’t have what it takes to make it through – but you can get up in the morning. You can pour yourself a nice cup of coffee. Maybe that’s as far as you can see at first, but after you do that, you can drive yourself to work. You can check your email, respond to some people, and go to your first meeting. You start small, take it one step at a time, and slowly but surely, things become clearer, and you’ll get through the morning, afternoon, and finally, the day.

And when you have free time within that day, you need to make sure you’re feeding your mind with the good, the pure, and the positive. Read uplifting books, listen to good music, find some inspirational videos or speeches. Talk to a friend and ask for some encouragement. These are the things that will make putting one foot in front of the other so much easier.

Do what you can to find your inner strength.

That’s what adversity builds, after all. It’s just like building muscle. When you go to the gym, you can’t expect to immediately be able to bench press 350. You won’t get in shape in just one work out.

The same goes for inner strength. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard, it’s hard. One foot in front of the other.

It is during these times where you start to learn who you really are, what kind of character you have, and how you’re going to deal with life. You’ll learn what you can and can’t handle, and how to handle it.

The next part of this involves taking a look at your language. What does your inner dialogue look like when you’re faced with adversity?

Are you telling yourself that you get better and better every day in every way? Are you using failure as a learning opportunity? Are you convincing yourself to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other? Are you taking the time to make a gratitude list and identify the good things in your life?

A good friend of mine told me that she keeps a happiness folder of little notes from clients, friends, and herself that remind her to keep going. Leave yourself motivational notes. Call yourself and leave yourself a voicemail. Phone a companion. 

When you’re faced with adversity, stop and take a moment to breathe. Slow down. Remind yourself that in this moment, you are growing. You’re becoming stronger. You’re building your inner muscles.

Sure, you’re experiencing adversity — but you’re also building self respect. You want to be the best version of yourself, right? I sure do. So don’t give up. You’ve got what it takes to make it through.

As always, thanks for reading my blog.

If you’re looking for more advice on facing adversity and becoming the best possible version of yourself, be sure to tune into my podcast that airs every Tuesday.

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