The easiest thing in the world is to do well when the waters are calm, and the wind is fair.
Whether it’s your body that you want to improve and the gym is close by, you’ve got lots of free time and a supportive spouse; or it’s your business and you’re in the honeymoon period where new staff still love you, clients are excited by your latest project, and your numbers are growing week on week.
It takes a special kind of fool to sabotage the easy ride.
But what about when the going gets tough? Repeated problems grind all of us down.
Constant injuries make the gym seem pointless. A nagging partner who resents your exercise regime takes all the fun away.
In business, people – be they employees, employers, clients, or suppliers – are going to let you down. ALL THE TIME.
Back in my younger and more emotionally-volatile days, I’d have high highs and low lows, and let the lows knock me down.
As I’ve forced myself to grow up (a lot of people never bother to put themselves through the pain of growing up which is a topic for another day) at some point I had an epiphany.
Feeling sorry for myself because shit happens is the entirely wrong way to look at the problem. I flipped it on its head.
We should be stoic in the face of all adversity and that is something that I am a big proponent of, but my thoughts today are about taking it a step further and actively seeing problems as an opportunity to get ahead.
The realisation that every single one of my competitors was going to have to endure at least 90% of the problems that come my way, made me realise that every hurdle represented an extra shot at success.
We can all make hay whilst the sun shines. Every halfway-decent Personal Trainer can get a result with a compliant client.
Every business can benefit and grow with loyal staff.
But what every business cannot do is turn a bad situation around. I realised that if could handle the hurdles that were inevitably going to come my way better than anyone else around me, then my ability to progress past the so-called competition would be magnified many times over.
And that realisation changed the way that I handle a crisis.
It changed my external approach so that the people around me came to see me as a safe port in stormy waters, and it radically improved my internal approach so that my stress levels were slashed and I’ve now come to actually feel a perverse relish for tough times.
Because tough times are when I can prove my worth.
I’m not special; hurdles are a chance for all of us to get ahead.