Kevin Ogar severed his spine in a weightlifting competition last year. Twelve months later after an incredible rehabilitation, he was doing a muscle-up to get one precious rep in the CrossFit Games Open after 12.5 minutes of trying. Kevin's determination in the face of adversity is an inspiration to many.
My favorite part of this video is watching his coach in the blue shirt take a giant breath at each attempt and the dance of pure joy when Kevin finally gets his muscle-up.
In my work with successful executives and entrepreneurs, I have seen some suffer genuine adversity while building their businesses and creating phenomenal wealth and benefits for themselves, their employees, and their customers. Witnessing the way these individuals have bounced back after setbacks has given me much to think about, and I have distilled the lessons into these five tips that you can apply:
1. Focus on one step at a time.
It can be overwhelming when a major disaster happens in your work or personal life. Focusing on the next step rather than looking ahead to every step will prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
2. Keep looking forward.
Regrets are a waste of energy that can lead to a downward spiral of gloom. Life isn't a choose-your-own-adventure book; there's no skipping back a chapter if you don't like where your choice took you. Focus on what is in front of you, not on what could have or should have been.
3. Ask for help and immediately apply it.
In times of crisis you need to know how to filter help. Pay attention to what help you need and who you need it from. Unsolicited help can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, so allow yourself to say no thank you. Be bold and ask yourself who you need advice and help from and go and ask for it immediately. When you are out of the crisis zone, consider your own community--do you have a supportive network of friends and colleagues that you can rely on?
4. Lucky, not doomed.
Don't tell the horror story over and over; tell the story of how you overcame it. Kevin doesn't focus on the injustice of how the random bounce of a barbell caused his injury; he talks about how lucky he is to be able to adapt his CrossFit workouts to still exercise and continue his job as a coach. He also talks about the incredible community he is now part of.
5. Take credit.
My mum recently broke her hip while visiting me in LA. She had to have an operation and live with us for three weeks while she recovered. Our life with three young children while we helped mum recuperate was crazy for a while, but we did it. Now my husband and I regularly say, "If we can manage that, we can manage anything." What do you need to take credit for today?
Everyone suffers setbacks and adversity at one time or another, and some situations will be more severe than others. How you respond and bounce back will set you apart from your peers and strengthen you for new challenges.