Getting Back Up

How do you get back up after life knocks you down? Since I started speaking to others about safety and learning from failure, one phrase I’ve heard over and over again is you’ve turned “Lemons into Lemonade”. I’ve even used it myself and I guess it’s actually quite fitting. Trust me, it took a lot of squeezing, in the form of pain and reflection, to change lemons into lemonade. I certainly didn’t have the immediate perspective on my injury of “Wow, is this injury ever fortunate … Now I have a great training opportunity.” Over time I have come to realize the blessing, but the initial reaction was disbelief followed closely by Anger and Frustration.

So why are some people able to make lemonade while others still look like they’re sucking on the lemons? It’s definitely not in everyone’s make-up to look for “silver linings” or to realize that even a tragedy can make you a better person. I believe you have the opportunity to decide if you will be better or bitter after an apparent injustice. Weighing the pros and cons of each approach “better” seems to be the road to travel. Perhaps that’s why we have motivational speakers rather than self-help books on “Five Easy Steps to Dwell on Bitterness”

I expand on a number of these concepts within my “Unleashing the Power of Regret” presentation, but here are a few of the essential steps to dust yourself off.
1. Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up or calling yourself down and other negative self-talk serves to create drama that helps you live in self-pity. Habouring bitterness, towards yourself or others, will eat a hole in your life that grows and could eventually consume you.
2. Take responsibility. Part of forgiving yourself is taking appropriate responsibility for what happened.
3. Seek perspective. Looking objectively at your situation and seeing the fact rather than the story you’ve created. Take time to look around you and explore the situations others are facing to determine how fortunate you are.
4. Look for the Blessings. What things have happened as a result of your situation that are beneficial, who has blessed you? Did you acknowledge it? You won’t find blessings if you don’t look for them, this could become a very positive habit in your life.
5. Perseverance. Retain faith that you will overcome despite how bleak things may appear, being brutally honest with yourself.
6. Humility. Acknowledging there is a lesson to be learned and even passing this information along to others is an act of humility that will help others and help you grow. Humility may also mean reaching out to others for help.
7. Acceptance. Understanding some things have changed and you may have to learn to live with apparent hardships or that adaptation may be essential. There are often consequences to our actions or the situation we find ourselves in.
8. Adaptation. Make the appropriate adjustments by figuring out what things have changed as a result of the incident and determine an appropriate action, to correct or adjust to the situation.
9. Growth & Opportunity. Look for the Lesson. How can this event help you? What have you learned? Make sure you take time for this step. If you don’t leave room for opportunities it’s difficult to take advantage of them. Be determined and purposeful about your personal growth, not begrudgingly, but with perspective and maturity.

It takes effort to learn and grow from the events that occur in our lives. Take time to look inward, how have you responded when life has knocked you down? Which one of these steps can help lead you to freedom? Ultimately our response to events, positive or negative, help shape our character and define not only our future, but the legacy we leave behind.

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