by Paul Casey

What Adversity Can Lead To

While hiking our highest “peak” of our local “mountain” a couple weeks ago, I reflected on how, while it was difficult going uphill for cardio-vascular reasons, some of the downhill portions gave me more trouble.  I’m not as nimble as I used to be, and I had to step more carefully on sandy or gravel areas that were steeper declines so that my feet wouldn’t slide (and I’d end up taking a header!). The unsure footing slowed my descent and completely restricted my focus on the beauty of the views around me until I got past those spots.

Same with our lives. When we go through uncertainty of massive proportions like now in our world, it’s unsure footing for living life. We thought we had more control than we probably did. The ground gets shaky beneath us, and we take evasive measures to cope with the change thrust upon us. Consequences of this are:

  1. Adversity can slow our progress toward the vision and goals we had originally set for ourselves (and organization). Our “flow” state, systems, and processes are now altered, and the adjustments needed have tweaked our productivity in the direction of the measures we had set. Notice i said: “slows”. Life and business are more about our direction than perfection. Still making progress? That is something that is usually within your control, even if it’s incremental. Is the next step you take in the trajectory of your goals? Then right-size your expectations and keep gingerly taking that step–always ready to iterate on your decisions if they don’t work as well as you’d hoped. 

2.  Adversity can also take our eyes off the relationships we do have, and other things we are grateful for, as we “do life and business.”  If we aren’t careful, we start “cursing the darkness” instead of “lighting a candle” (Chinese proverb) on the things that truly are going well, despite setbacks. Relish what you do have instead of resenting what you are missing right now. Don’t miss the view: your garden’s flowers, your family’s laughter, the lyrics of your favorite song, the taste of occasional takeout meals. Make a habit of speaking or recording your gratitude every morning and every evening. It’s difficult to be angry and grateful at the same time.

I didn’t fall on that hike, despite a few mini-slips. Shake off your mini-slips as you make sense of your new reality. Take stock of the assets you still possess, and re-calibrate your goals for the 2nd half of 2020.  And, if you need help with that goal-calibration, that’s what coaches are for! I’m so grateful for the clarity my coach gives me with piercing questions that get to the heart of the decisions I’m making. Even if it’s not doing coaching with me, invest in yourself and get a coach! For now, let’s keep in touch! Join my Target Practice list at; the request will pop up. The Growing Forward tribe is waiting for you!


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