Great Resilience in Challenging Times

UPDATED: April 8, 2013
PUBLISHED: April 8, 2013

Each week, it seems the sports world captures our attention and sends us on an emotional rollercoaster worth the price of admission. But this week’s thrill ride inspired me to focus on perspective. Under what lens would you view emotional moments of failure, tragedy or triumph? If you were Baylor’s 6-foot-8 women’s basketball sensation Brittney Griner, would you focus on losing to 5-seed Louisville and not being able to win back-to-back National Championships, or would you reflect proudly about a college career that finishes with you as the 2nd leading scorer all-time in NCAA history and the inevitable reality that you’ll be the first pick overall in the upcoming WNBA Draft? If you were Texas ace pitcher Yu Darvish, would your outlook be a complaint about your rare perfect game bid being ruined by a basehit up the middle in the ninth inning with two outs? Or would you allow the sensational start and a first victory of a long season motivate you to your next game? If you were Louisville guard Kevin Ware, how would you view your circumstance after a gruesome compound break of the right leg during the Elite Eight of a tournament run that your team is favored to win?

I must admit it was remarkable to see that despite being in excruciating pain, Ware visibly urged his teammates to win their tournament game. Two days after arguably the worst leg injury during a nationally televised sporting event since Joe Theismann, Ware was seen on crutches and intent on making the trip to Atlanta to watch his teammates compete for a National Title. It’s that kind of attitude that already has him working on a comeback story. That kind of resilience is a pathway to Greatness.

In recent months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with David Covey as he builds a new company, SMCOV. One of the things he pointed out in his study of business excellence is that the biggest key to successful people is resilience—their ability to bounce back from failure, disappointment, or adversity.

The truly Great companies or Great business leaders have shown the ability to recover, regroup and rebuild their success. Should there be a valley or pitfall, the Great ones refocus their efforts and energy on climbing up to new peaks.

Author Dick Ruhe recently shared a few tips for finding “Resilience in Challenging Times”. Simply put, he urged that you first cope with whatever failure you encounter with an omission of obsession. The next step is to keep all concentration on sustaining a normal routine. By not continuing a depressing or downward path, you’re more likely to eventually deal with the failure and take action. Once that happens, the only step left is to move on and to attempt a new start to success—with the lesson learned stowed away for safe keeping.

In talking to Covey, he was unwavering in suggesting that the ability to bounce back is a singular essential to all high achievers. So here’s this week’s challenge: Think of a time when you’ve had to bounce back from defeat. What did you learn from your failed business opportunity, unsuccessful sales pitch, bad decision, mishandled company crisis, or major health scare that has influenced your current perspective? How has your own resilience unlocked your true Greatness?