I suppose at various stages of our lives, we all endure the pain which comes from sudden loss, change, adversity or failure. So it was for me in January 1990.
My very successful national Seminar Business had just collapsed due to the airline dispute and when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did! My marriage was suddenly over when my wife decided to leave me.
This was a 19-year relationship with a very special woman whom I loved dearly. I was totally devastated. On top of the failure of my business it was almost too much to endure.
I thought I was going to die, and at times I hoped I would.
As a pilot, I have an expression to describe such a situation. I call it…
“When you crash and burn!”
If you’ve ever faced such a crisis, you’ll have some understanding of how I felt.
Since then, many people have asked me how did I cope?
What did I do to get through?
How did I manage to rebuild my life and my business? I’d like to offer this advice if you ever find yourself in a “crash and burn” situation.
I’m fortunate to be able to count amongst my friends some very wise people including people like Dr Denis Waitley and the late Earl Nightingale.
Earl Nightingale’s advice
In 1987 during a brief period of adversity in my life, Earl gave me some very good advice.
He said, “Wayne, it’s not so important what happens to you in your life, as it is how you respond to what happens. Sometimes we can’t choose what happens, but we can always choose our response!”
Some people when faced with a crisis choose to lie in the wreckage while it burns around them. They let it consume them. They let it totally destroy them. They choose to become the victim of the day and stay there.
Dr Denis Waitley Crisis is Opportunity
Dr Denis Waitley tells me that in Chinese, the symbol for crisis is exactly the same as the symbol for the word “Opportunity”!
He contends that the ancient Chinese perhaps knew something that we have forgotten.
That sometimes “opportunity” comes cleverly disguised as a crisis!
What determines our outcome is how we respond to the crisis. If we look for the opportunity to grow and learn, then even the worst crisis can be turned into a learning experience.
I must confess that after this major life crash in 1990, despite the pain and anguish, I grew more quickly and wiser in the years that followed, than I had in the entire 10 years that preceded this event.
14 Steps to Recover From Adversity
If you find yourself facing adversity, here are a few ideas to consider when you feel like quitting.
1. Recognise that this situation is only temporary.
2. Look for the opportunity to grow and choose a positive response.
3. Recognise that if you’ve been successful before, then you do have the ability to be successful again. Some of history’s most successful people had incredible setbacks in their life which spurred them on to achieve greatness.
4. Recognise that most people give up too soon. High achievers achieve exceptional results because they hang in long after the average person would have quit.
5. Check that your plan is sound and if it is, make the decision to persist.
6. Seek a second opinion if you’re not sure but be careful to seek this opinion from someone who has specialised experience in this area and will support you, not discourage you, as you move forward.
7. Check to see if this situation has been created by you because of some arrogance or ignorance. If necessary, make the appropriate corrections to both your attitude and knowledge.
8. Put the situation into perspective. Is it really as serious as you think?
9. Kick the worry habit! 90% of the things we fear and worry about most, never happen!
10. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen and can I cope with this outcome if I had to?”. In most cases the answer will be yes.
11. Learn not to take yourself too seriously and learn to laugh at yourself more.
12. Reach inside and find the courage, strength, stamina, attitude, self-belief, and self confidence to rekindle your desire for what you believe you can do, and will do.
13. Hang on to your dream, no matter how big it might seem to you, and don’t let others convince you that you can’t do it, won’t do it or shouldn’t do it.
14. Be true to yourself and your destiny. You have everything you need, right now, inside of you to carry on. All you have to do is do it.
I hope that you can use these ideas. Have a great week.