After seven years of working with a company, I decided it was time to move on. I had outgrown my pond. The job had been comfortable enough for so many years, but the environment sapped my energy. I knew leaving would mean less security. As a single woman with rent and bills to pay, I literally couldn’t afford to quit. However, I knew there was more for me out there. I knew I had a lot to offer if I could just find a place to bloom. It was time to strap on my boots and get to work. This was a risk I needed to take.
However, my life is not a movie. Things didn’t fall into place even though I made the right decision to leave. I struggled through inconsistent contract work and many job interviews with companies who made surface-level judgments about my skills and experience. After years of making ends meet, its natural to feel discouraged and settle for less. Many do. But it’s just not in my nature to do so. I knew my worth, and I was determined to make my mark in the world. I pushed on.
My mother always told me I was just as good as the person who holds the highest title in this country – the President of the United States. That went a long way with me. I always knew I was good enough to do or be whatever I wanted. With her words in mind, I fought adversity with all my might. I actively chose not to listen to those who deemed me worthless. Of my strengths, I know that I adapt and learn quickly. Even with minimal experience in a specific role, I knew I could master it because I am driven to succeed.
Finally, I decided if I couldn’t find my place with a company, I would just create my own. I started my own business – a positive atmosphere built on values I believe in. There are still hills to climb, but I can confidently make the trek knowing that I am where I’m supposed to be. I love my work helping others live a healthy lifestyle, and I’ll continue on until the end.
Fighting adversity with confidence may seem impossible. However, if you take the right steps, you can not only conquer adversity but become much stronger through it. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
7 Steps to Conquering Adversity
1. Determine a Destination
First, decide where you want to go. Even if you don’t know the specific destination, what long-term changes do you hope to make? For instance, I didn’t know what my next role would be, but I knew I wanted to be in a supportive, creative environment. I knew I wanted to be involved in impactful work. I knew that I had a passion for health. My next steps needed to work toward those, not away from them. I immediately tossed out options that did not move me toward my priorities.
2. Set Actionable Goals
Take it one step at a time. I knew my contract work was temporary until I could find my place. Instead of settling into complacency. I keep my eyes open for opportunities. Some realistic goals might be:
- I will research 5 potential employers this week.
- I will submit 3 applications by Friday.
- I will reach out to 2 friends this week.
- I will attend a support group once a week.
- I will put $20 in savings each week.
- I will commit to 30 minutes of therapy exercises 3 days per week to relieve stress.
Write it down. Hang it up. Check it off. Reward yourself at completion.
3. Know Your Strengths…And Weaknesses
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Identifying your strengths will boost your confidence and remind yourself that you are capable. You have something unique to offer. Identifying your weaknesses will allow you to identify possible hurdles. Next to your weaknesses, write down how you will compensate and work past them.
4. Stay Flexible
Adversity requires adaptability. Know that you will have to make changes and adjust along the way. That’s ok. Staying flexible will prevent unreasonable expectations and breakdowns when things don’t go as planned. Expect modifications throughout the journey. In fact, that’s how you grow.
5. Find Support
Don’t go at it alone. Find a support group, a best friend, a new friend, a family member – someone who will walk the journey with you.
A note of experience: be sure to give back and express gratitude to your supporters. Constantly taking without giving in return causes resentment and burnout in friends and family. Don’t let adversity keep you from being a good friend.
6. Keep Looking Forward
Keep your focus on the present and future, not the past. Remember the past just enough to learn from your mistakes and appreciate how far you’ve come, but don’t dwell. Keep moving forward. Imagine climbing a mountain. Looking back will leave you dizzy and dazed. Looking up will motivate you to the summit. What’s your next step?
7. Don’t Limit Your Worth
Some say “know your worth,” but maybe you don’t know it yet. Don’t let anyone – or yourself – limit your worth. Leave doubters behind, and use their words as motivation to push on. Instead of dwelling on the negative, use their feedback to grow and learn new skills you might be lacking. Instead of making it personal, make it beneficial. Turn it around for good.