Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
-- Jim Horning
Putting all self development instruction aside, when everything goes wrong the very last thing I feel like doing is being positive!
“Look on the bright side,” others will say. Because it’s illegal to kill them, I have had to consider this fluffy inspiration and advice - to try it and assume it'll be a success.
I am a female keynote speaker, so I have to believe in this Pollyanna stuff. One of my favorite motivational speeches is a spoof on all this Rah-Rah inspiration. We know from experience that we can't just push the conflict under the carpet and pretend it's not there.
Yet, when I look back at any tough times I have had, I see that's where I have learned the most. It had to get bad to make me uncomfortable enough to have to want the change, and in the end the change was for the better.
"A satisfied need ceases to motivate," said Maslow.
When things go wrong it causes breakdown that's difficult, but that creates equilibrium in that situation.
If things we wanted were easy to get, we probably wouldn’t even want them anymore. We aren't made to enjoy and respect cherry-picking for any length of time. We have to go through challenge to appreciate what we have and how far we've come.
The reason we have conflict is because we care. If we don't care, we won’t get upset in the first place. If it does not matter to us and if we have no investment in the outcome, then the outcome just doesn't matter. Leadership and change happen when we care and we have the courage to face reality.
We have to go through the challenges of life to gain wisdom, and not until you experience something can you really appreciate it.
A motivational speaker who suggests that life is to be perfect all the time, despite reality, misleads the audience. That speaker is wrong.
Sink down lower than you’ve ever sunk
It may be a cliche, but it's true: When you hit the bottom there's nowhere else to go but up. While you're building back up, you're building character through success. When you go through really tough emotional times, it can help to remind yourself that life can only get better from here. The next time things go wrong, you know that you can handle it, that you’ve done it before and were a success, so you can do it again. Life is about change. All of life is about change, from the seasons to plant and animal lifespans. You and I are changing every minute of every day, fashioned by every experience and every exchange we have with others. Like it or not change happens, and when you realize that it's usually for the better, it delights you with the motivation to face new challenges and life goals.
As a female motivational speaker, I give these three ideas about change:
Character. Change creates challenge, and challenge has the capacity to teach people about their limitations and their gifts. When things go wrong or mistakes are made it builds humility; when we overcome new obstacles, we build our gifts.
Wisdom. A new level of sensitivity and relating to others comes from surviving life challenges.
Gratitude. When we have it all, we tend to take it for granted. When what we have is taken away, we often gain a new appreciation for what we had and a new recognition of what we still have. When you fail to appreciate life you lose your joy.
By confronting problems you can find healthier solutions. In the midst of chaos, loss and frustration you may be learning to:
- Balance toughness with sensitivity
- Go deep inside and embrace fear for real self development
- Build mental and emotional toughness
- Persevere toward success
- Be on purpose when you're off balance
- Be hard on problems and soft on people
- Manage perceived threats
- Deepen social support
- Believe, have hope, and find inspiration
- See change not as interruption, but as opportunity for leadership and self development to steer your life
It's easy to disengage and detach from life when things aren’t the way you want. It can be easy to avoid struggle. However, distancing yourself from conflict, leadership, and change only makes the situation worse - it prolongs the change and postpones your date with responsibility. Passivity leads to a victim mindset, and soon complaining takes over while you feel your life is controlled by others.
Develop compassion for yourself given the circumstances, understand there will be some good in this bad. Take a deep breath and decide how you are going to handle the change in your life!