GOALdigging Academy: How To Be Resilient When Everything Around You Falls Apart

black-woman-looking-out-window-pf-378x334

{This post is the third in the GOALdigging Academy series. To read the others, click here}

I’m going to give it to you straight: Living a mediocre life is super easy.

Barely getting by at a job you sorta hate because it pays the bills, plus leaves a little extra for happy hour, a nice pair of heels, and a vacation every other year (maybe) doesn’t feel so bad sometimes.

After all, the economy still sucks and you’re blessed to even have a job right now, right?

Right?!

At least that’s what you tell yourself every morning on your way to work.

But I’m not here for all that.

You haven’t been rocking with me this long because I champion mediocre dreams.

I go big.

No backup plans, no half-stepping, and damn sure no “just getting by.”

After all, life is too short and ain’t nobody got time for barely making it.

But I get it; it’s easy to get discouraged.

It’s easy to settle for an ordinary life when you’ve watched your dreams explode a time or two before.

Trust me, I know.

I’ve been fired—twice. Been unfairly sued by a creditor and had my wages garnished. Had to convince my thesis advisor not to drop me a month before graduation. Purposely wrote bad checks between my accounts so I could get cash to live on. Suffered with horrible credit. Could not get a regular bank account for years. Had publications fail to pay me after I completed the work. Watched the man I loved get locked up. And now, I’m forced to raise our son alone.

To paraphrase Langston Hughes, my life ain’t been no crystal stair.

But in spite of the adversities I’ve faced (and that was just the short version), one thing has helped me to keep going: resilience.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to interview Daymond John, award-winning businessman and one of the stars of ABC’s Shark Tank, and his advice for overcoming challenges was simple—bounce back.

“When I hit disappointment [or] road blocks it affects me just like everybody else,” he admitted during our chat. “The difference between a successful entrepreneur and other people is the bounce back.

“They bounce back quicker when they hit brick walls. And that’s pretty much it. You’re going to fail way more than you succeed, it’s just how quickly you bounce back.”

I would love to tell you that everything you do will be a smash hit. As a matter of fact, I hope it is. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most of us.

For most, success is a rollercoaster ride filled with exhilarating highs and gut wrenching lows. You may even lose everything—friends, family, money, a little bit of your sanity–before pulling into the station and realizing your dreams. Having a few coping mechanisms in your toolbox to help you get through the rough times is not only helpful, it’s essential.

So how can you bounce back when everything around you feels like it’s falling apart?

Remember adversity is temporary

Heard the phrase, “Trouble don’t last always”? Well, it’s true. Whenever you’re going through a rough patch it’s easy to believe that you will never make it out. But the truth is, you will. Remember that. No matter how bad things get, if you cling to the belief that the challenge is temporary, it will help you hold onto hope and remind you that soon this horrible ordeal will be over.

Continue working toward your goals

When adversity strikes, the first thing you might feel like doing is stop working toward your goals. Resist. Unless something truly horrific happens, you can still take tiny steps toward your goals. As Common once rapped, “Slow motion is better than no motion,” and any little movement toward your goals will give you the confidence and courage to continue on.

Phone a friend

When challenges hit—we lose a job, our money is super funny, our relationship ends—your first inclination may be to withdraw into yourself and struggle to deal with these issues and emotions on your own. Don’t do it. When you are feeling most vulnerable and low you need a huge infusion of support, love, and laughter. Call up your friends and let them know what you’re going through. While we may cringe at the thought of people seeing us at our worse, having a supportive circle to help you through the rough times will make dealing with adversity a little (or a lot) easier.

Take care of yourself

When the ish hits the fan go for a walk, do your hair and nails, read a book, pray, meditate, hang out with your kids, take a dance break, or work out. In the midst of adversity it’s easy to put yourself last and wallow in negative feelings. However, taking care of yourself and making sure you are mentally, physically, and emotionally ok—in spite of whatever else is going on—is absolutely essential to bouncing back. 

Stay optimistic

This is by far the most important thing you can do when you’re going through adversity. Staying positive and knowing that whatever is happening will turn out ok (even if you don’t know how) is utterly vital to being resilient in the face of difficulty. Although it sounds like new agey bullsh*t, what you think truly shapes who you become and how you operate, so if you believe that things will turn out fine, they will. Conversely if you tell yourself that you’ll never make it out of this hole, you can’t deal with the roadblocks, and you won’t make it—you won’t.

Your mind is the most powerful weapon you have, use it wisely.

While we work toward our goals, difficulties will inevitably occur. However, how we deal with these challenges will affect whether or not we live a ho-hum mediocre life full of regret, or if we push past the tough times to realize our dreams and live an extraordinary life.

No matter what happens, remember this quote by Kanye West and keep pushing on.

“…You can still be who you wish you is
It ain’t happen yet
And that’s what intuition is.”

#

How do you deal with difficulties? Leave me a message and let me know how you remain resilient in the face of adversity.

Related Post

  • Shirley

    Girl, you’ve been through a lot! I admire your guts and tenacity–you are truly inspiring. Tried to come to your L.A. event several months ago. I’m pursuing the writing thing too. Hope you have another event in L.A. Following you onTtwitter.

    • BritniDanielle

      LOL yes, Shirley…I’ve been through a few thangs. It’s all good though, I always bounce back!

      Are you in the GOALdiggers Group? Sometimes we have LA-area meet-ups. Get down with the crew: http://www.facebook.com/groups/TheGOALdiggers/

  • http://profiles.google.com/dancelovechild G G

    The most important tools in my resilience toolbox are “staying optimistic” and “remembering that adversity is temporary”. I think about everything I’ve been through so far and that I’m still standing. I think about the fact that tomorrow is not promised and I want to live everyday appreciating as much as possible and complaining as little as possible. Many people have it worse than me and better than me, but what I have is a relentless faith that no matter how bad things have been or how bleak things seem, I’m going to have a beautiful life b/c I choose to. Thanks for the inspiration and honesty, Britni. I look forward to your emails.

    • BritniDanielle

      Keeping things in perspective is a GREAT way to handle adversity. Great tips GG!

      Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nyasha.hardleyfadeyai Nyasha Hardley-fadeyai

    I have found that focusing on the things you can control keeps me sane in trying times. 3 yrs ago I cared for my aunt as she was treated for and subsequently passed away from cancer now I find myself nursing my mother through her own cancer diagnosis and treatment. Although I found myself momentarily paralyzed with terror I forced myself to focus on a positive outlook by saying ” only God knows what the outcome will be, I can better serve us by educating myself about her diagnosis and treatment and focusing on the positive changes we can make to fortify our life instead of the negatives or unknowns

    • BritniDanielle

      Nyasha,

      *hugs* But you’re so right, focusing on things we can control is key! I’ll keep your mom in my prayers (and tell her I said hey)!

  • TeeTee McMillan

    Wow!! Everytime I get an email from you, I refuse to open it until I am in my peaceful place. You ALWAYS hit home for me. I am in the process of changing how I feel about myself. It’s hard when you grow up with people telling you what you can’t do. You begin to 2nd guess everything. Self doubt is the most horrifying feeling in this world. I’ve held myself back from so much because I am afraid. Afraid to take a chance. Afraid of change, even if it’s for the better. Makes sense? It doesn’t to me either. But I am a work in progress. Trying to deprogram what has been instilled in my brain. Thank you for being so real. You’ve opened my eyes and make me take a deeper look at myself…

    • BritniDanielle

      Aww, thanks TeeTee! Being afraid is normal, just keep pushing anyway :)

  • http://twitter.com/mslorrim Lorri M. Key

    What has turned things around for me is realizing failure means I’m trying to move forward. Now, I don’t feel so bad when I suffer setbacks and I stay focused on having momentum. That’s really been the difference for me and I know I have no choice but to keep going. Great read!