The Advantage of Adversity


“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.”

-William Arthur Ward

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I was driving to one of the offices when I received a call from my doctor insisting I see her right away. A couple weeks prior, I had a very small bump removed from my thigh as part of a routine check-up. I’d had this small growth for some time and didn’t think anything of it. Despite the doctor’s insistence, my reaction was to put her off, not taking her request seriously. I was focused on getting to the branch and reminded her that I was very busy going so far as to suggest seeing her next year. Against my better judgment, I drove to her office.

Adversity can signal a coming positive transition IF we respond correctly to it.”

I was told that the small bump I’d ignored for so long was cancerous and could have possibly spread throughout my body. To make matters worse, I couldn’t see an oncologist until after the holidays and New Year’s. I felt like everything had come to a complete stop and was sitting in a void without sound or feeling. This was the first time I’d heard of anyone in my family having cancer, let alone where to begin or how to deal with it. I had been so focused on work and now it was the last thing I could think about.

“You need to know yourself to grow yourself”

Saying I was overwhelmed with the situation was an understatement. All I could do was worry and reflect on life. I wondered if I had told my wife and daughters often enough or how much I loved them. Had I told my team members at work how much they meant to me and that I valued working with them? I also realized that a tremendous shift was occurring within me. I began to realize that I’d been too busy to think about my life. My entire focus had been on others and work. Now the paradigm was shifting and a new perspective was unfolding.

“I feel God wanted me to reflect for the two weeks before finding an oncologist. It was much more than removing cancer, it was an important life changing opportunity as well.” 

What once seemed important didn’t matter anymore. Previously being busy at work had changed to being efficient. Communication had transitioned to connecting with people. I realized that striving for quality time and not quantity, was the best time spent with my family. It became crystal clear that spending time being busy with others was empty and now wanted the time to create memories. I was taking a stern look at how I had placed a lot of value on success. That too had changed with my need to live a life of significance.

“There are seasons in a leader’s life when adversity, failure and hardships seem to be the only thing we encounter. It may feel like we can’t catch a break.”  

Fortunately, I had the cancer removed and learned it had not spread throughout my body. From this experience, I had a profound life change.

I’ve learned to think of challenges not as being bad or a setback, but as an opportunity to grow and take action. For some, challenge is a roadblock and an easy way to give up. Challenges are part of our everyday life, some greater than others.

Lessons Learned From Adversity:

When you encounter adversity, take a step back, assess the situation and determine best next steps.

Remember why you started on the path in the first place.

Overall, “Adversity writes our story and if our response is right, the story will be good.

And more… 

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