3 Ways to Turn Adversity into Opportunity

Personal fortunes and futures are impacted by the economy, politics, business and a host of other things, but those events do not have the final word on the matter; you do.

Playing football as a child was a favorite sport, but waiting to be picked by a team made me cringe. Unless you were endowed with special athletic powers, you probably share that dreadful feeling of being the last person chosen.

Dan Marino was chosen last in the 1983 NFL draft. He wrote about the experience saying, “I made a decision not to be bitter at the teams that passed on me. Instead, I chose to count my blessings and focus on the opportunity at hand.” Marino set a record 96.0 passing rating, the greatest ever for a rookie quarterback and that record still stands today.

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Becoming Leader

Times like these reveal who the leaders are and expose the pretenders. History has shown that leaders emerge during difficult situations. True leaders cannot stand by during crisis; they have a sense of urgency to boldly take charge of situations to make things better.

A young vice president I have the privilege of coaching has been in his new role for less than two months and is encountering resistance from his boss. During a Monday morning staff meeting the VP shared his decision to terminate an underperforming project manager. To his surprise the president told him he could not terminate the project manager. The vice president was flabbergasted. In that moment he realized that he had been given a title and a mountain of responsibility for overseeing project management, but did not have hiring and firing authority. What could he do? Should he insist on the authority to carry out his assigned responsibilities or just accept the responsibility without the authority? The way in which this VP handles the encounter will define his working relationship with the boss, and his ability to lead for years to come.

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Maintaining A Sense Of Well-Being In An Economically Challenged Environment

During economic uncertainty, feeling happy, healthy and prosperous can be near impossible. When existence and lifestyle are threatened, your personal needs, like survival, will dominate your actions. For most of us, the need to stay in control drives our decisions so we work very hard not to lose. For others, the need for security dominates, while others may fear embarrassment from making mistakes. Regardless of the type of basic need, as human beings our needs must be satisfied in order to achieve personal well-being. In this economically challenged environment, you should expect needs to drive the following attitudes within yourself, your family and your peers at work:

  1. Personal rights become more important than personal responsibility. Actions and decisions that are usually based on values and reflective of personal responsibility are replaced by selfish thinking and “my rights” thinking. An intense preoccupation with my rights suppresses the higher value of personal responsibility when wellbeing is threatened. An overwhelming survival instinct becomes the justification for looking out for self interests; level one in Maslow’s pyramid. What I “will” do to meet my needs is always stronger than what I “should” do.
  2. Scarcity mentality keeps people from sharing recognition and profit. The most threatening risk is not higher prices or loss of revenue, but how you deal with it. Your attitude toward setbacks and confidence in the ability to manage challenges becomes the critical factor in determining the outcome you will get. Stephen Covey says, “People with a scarcity mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production.”

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