Is there opportunity in Adversity?
For years I had planned to move to California.
I didn’t care where I moved so long as it was SoCal where I could (try to) surf and wouldn’t have to deal with the brutally grey and crappy mid-west/Chicago winter…(which seems to last from November to June)
I finally decided to pull the trigger in January of 2011 after one of the worst winter depressions I had had in a long time. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I made the decision to move…
I began planning, prepping, and imagining my life on the beach. I would go to work at my easy(ier), laid back job during the week, work on the adventure travel web series and big freakin’ dream, Stampabout, with Jake in the evenings. I would then surf, hike, and explore on the weekends (there’s a lot to do in SoCal).
Jake and I had Stampabout planned, I had plenty of money saved, and I knew how to budget, track and manage income and expenses. Based on all these variables I just needed a simple day job to pay expenses and allow me the peace of mind to come home and work on our project.
Dude. Making your own plans is AAAAAWWWWEEEEESSSSOOOOMMMEE…
…especially when they DON’T work out that way!!!
Of course nothing I planned happened.
All the “easier” jobs, like bartending, didn’t work out. I also didn’t get hired for an inside sales jobs I really (thought) I wanted AND had inside connections for…weird. That company actually told me that I’d get too restless doing inside sales because of my past real estate sales history and expected me to quit (I prefer the word retire) in 6 months. They knew me so well without even knowing me!
I was then offered a job with a rather accomplished start-up. In fact, in December of 2011 it was named in Forbes Magazine as One of America’s Most Promising Companies…not bad.
It all sounded swell. People in my position were supposedly “making great money” (there was some puffery there to say the least) and, from what they told me, the people in their company were just all-around awesome. They were 100% accurate on the latter.
I accepted…with the same mindset, of course, that I would go to work each day, put my time in, make my money, and go home with peace of mind and work on Stampabout.
Again! Nothing I planned happened!
There was no training, no proven sales techniques or systems, and they were throwing crap on the wall, hoping it would stick, which is the way you have to do it when you’re building a business…
…but that was ruining everything I had planned for my personal life.
I was 100% commission so I was barely paying the bills, I was dipping into my savings that was running out quickly, and I was lacking peace of mind
Most importantly, I was not working on what I wanted to work on. Jake was doing most of the work and getting frustrated (he had the situation I was actually hoping for) and I was watching my dream of Stampabout slowly get more distant while my fall wedding was now more of a burden instead of a joy.
Ever had something like this happen to you?
There’s nothing like a good dose of adversity to bring you back to reality, knock you down, depress you, and try to stop you from pursuing what you want.
What do you do?
Well, turn adversity into opportunity of course!
And now you’re saying, “Easier said than done, Chad.”
Or is it?
There are people who have faced, or are currently facing, much more adverse situations than I am and they’re turning these situations into opportunity.
Some are using them to teach others, some are building businesses to fill a need discovered by adversity, and some are using adverse situations to help others realize there are no limitations in this life.
Aimee Mullins is one example. She has accomplished much more than I have with much, much less. Aimee had her legs amputated below the knee when she was a child, yet she has gone on to be a Division I athlete, a Paralympic runner, and a model.
She spoke at TED and her speech has motivated me to look at, what I perceive to be, a very adverse situation in my life and find the opportunity in it. Watch below, specifically from 7:58 to 9:13.
How are we going to meet adversity?
Personally, I’ve met mine head on with the company I was working for. I found a way to train myself, improve my own sales systems, and I’ve structured my days around what I’ve been forced to learn and I found success. Success that could actually go beyond the original plans I had.
I found success in a way that it is now used to train others in the company in the same position. I had a direct impact on the growth of One of America’s Most Promising Companies, which is pretty awesome to say the least.
BUT more importantly, I just learned through adversity how to create systems and structures that will significantly impact the progress of Stampabout and the hope that we’ll eventually be adventure travel TV hosts on a major network.
Without the adversity I would have never been compelled to find better methods, been able to build better systems, gain teaching authority on an area important to my company, and I would have never known how to apply all of this to the realization of my dreams.
While it’s not easy, and I will still dislike adversity, I’ve decided to meet all adversity head on and find ways to turn it into opportunities that will help me walk my talk.
What opportunity do you think you might find in the current adversity you’re facing?
I know you may not see it now but keep looking, I promise it’s there.
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