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Staying Focused in Adversity

Louise Woodbury

Author of The Invisible Partnership: How to Work With Your Spouse Without Getting Divorced

For most businesses, the landscape in 2010 is vastly different to what we’ve ever experienced. And, a key message for us all is to stay focused, no matter what challenge or opportunity is thrown our way! Of course, this is easier said than done.

Too often when major challenges arise in a business–such as a financial crisis, loss of a major client, the client’s needs and expectations start shifting–it can seem like a hurricane is hitting your shores. And, in a storm, people typically panic and take flight, or worse still, pretend nothing is going on. Too often they stop thinking rationally and become confused. That makes them less likely to survive the storm. Then, as the hardships seem to overtake them, they can easily lose hope and become resigned to their fate.

In a similar way, our current political landscape might trigger some of this behaviour. For most people, operating in a state of limbo is their worst nightmare. For leaders in business it can affect their decision-making processes. For entrepreneurs who have just embarked on their journey into business it could be overwhelming. And, for any new employee who has just started their new career, there may be some concerns about the stability of their future.

However, every day is a test of our commitment, focus and resilience no matter what is happening in our environment. Do you choose to get stopped by the challenges? Or, do you choose to take them head on and see what opportunity lies within?

Having been in my own business since 1992, and subsequently working with my life partner for the past 17 years, I can honestly say that I totally understand how overwhelming some of the business and life challenges can be. Our own struggles at one time seemed to be insurmountable, and we almost gave it all away.

So, if quitting isn’t an option – what is the solution?

The best outcome is usually achieved when you work with another person–such as a life and work partner, colleague, mentor–to solve the challenges at hand. Both parties can uphold and encourage one another. They can apply their unique talents and abilities to help solve the problems. But don’t underestimate the power you have within to dig deep and learn to overcome the challenges that you face.

Personally, I see the biggest challenges as always being the biggest opportunities. It’s when you grow as a person– become a better leader and you never go back. It’s like you master that challenge and can tick it off the life mastery list.

Gaining strength from others

If you find that you are going through a challenging period, then I encourage you to not do this alone–find a buddy, stay focused on your primary goals while the storms of life hit. After all, the storms do pass by. Never lose site of those aspects of life that motivate you and that make you who you are. Stay relentlessly focused on those foundational principles of your life. Always remain hopeful in a positive outcome. In our book The Invisible Partnership, we share the story of Admiral James Stockdale, who spent eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Through that entire hellish ordeal, he said that he never lost hope that one day he would be freed and that his experience would enable him to make a larger, better contribution to the world after the war. Indeed, that is what happened.

Like Stockdale, you should strive to always keep your dreams alive, always believing that the adversities of life can make you stronger—if you are willing to persevere, stay focused, and hold strong to your commitment! I encourage you to never give up. You’ll find, like we did, that by persevering and staying focused you will overcome the difficulties of life and become stronger as a result.

Take charge of your biggest challenge

Write down your biggest challenge and start creating a list of possible solutions. The sooner you begin, the sooner it will be resolved! And, don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate your achievement.

Republication of Invisible Partnership articles are permitted, given the original link and author are referenced. High resolution photos can be provided upon request.

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