Accept the Unexpected: How to be Resilient
If only we knew when a challenge was about to arise in front of us. If only we had a few days notice before a tough situation hit us in the face. At least if we had time to prepare we would cope better when the challenge finally does arrive. It would be easier to navigate and we would know when it is time to be resilient. Wouldn’t that just be a fairytale way of living life?
Now I apologise if this is news to you but, life wasn’t designed to be easy or problem free. Have I shocked you? On top of this, the problems and challenges that we face are often unexpected and surprise us. I've got you now, haven't I?
It is scary to think that every single day new challenges confront us, some larger than others and we have to navigate through them and come out on top. Problems and challenges, whether in business, finances, family or personal life, are a test of character and resilience and I know first hand the best way to prepare yourself for the obstacles that are guaranteed, is to embrace the ones facing you now.
On the 20th of May 2011, I woke up to blurred shapes all around me. It was like trying to see through the thickest fog imaginable and the things that I could make out were shades of grey and blurry. After a number of different tests the specialists delivered the verdict. I had lost 98% of my eyesight. My vision loss occurred overnight to the hands of a rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. This syndrome is incurable and to top it all off, I had no idea it was coming.
By far the greatest challenge I have ever faced and with no warning at all, my life stopped momentarily. The reality of life eventually hit me and I now know that there is always an unexpected challenge around the corner that you can never predict and therefore never be prepared to tackle. I had lost my eyesight overnight but that is something I could not prepare for. It wasn't until my new circumstances hit that I could choose to act and act, I did.
The key to overcoming adversity and being resilient is to accept whatever it is that has occurred. Coming to terms with reality is the first step but it is often the hardest. Accept the situation and see it as if it is a non negotiable, something that you must take on and become content with so that you can come out the other side on top.
Secondly, give grace. Challenges are going to arise that you are not prepared for and it is natural to feel frustrated, upset, anger or disappointment. These are all natural reactions and you need to give yourself grace when feeling these emotions because they are natural, however, you have to be strong enough to control them and not let them control you.
Lastly, embrace it. Once you have accepted the challenge as reality, you accept that there is no avoiding it and you have dealt with the natural emotions and reactions caused by the problem, you can embrace it. You need to see the good in the challenge. With every problem, adversity or challenge there is opportunity to learn and grow in ways you never envisaged for yourself. Be open to this and embrace the possibilities that will present themselves to you.
Losing my eyesight crushed all my childhood hopes and dreams, or so I thought. I dreamt of becoming a helicopter pilot, I already knew what my first car would be, I thought I would play basketball for years to come. Now I know these dreams had been crushed but only to make room for bigger, better and bolder dreams. I would have continued to feel sorry for my self unless I accepted my situation, gave myself grace and embrace the challenge of living with a visual impairment. I never would have imagined speaking to audiences around the country, relocating to live in another city by the age of 20, discovering True Vision and Limitless Vision and learning and growing as I have done. If I had not embraced the unexpected challenge that life threw my way, I may very well be still sitting in a dark room feeling sorry for myself and not knowing how to tackle this daunting challenge.
Life is tough and challenging and unpredictable. Just when we think everything is going smoothly another obstacle will arise, that is why we love to live. It would be no fun if we knew already how our lives were going to play out and what challenges and problems were going to be thrown our way and when. The key to overcoming these challenges though is not to run and hide from them. Accept the challenge, give yourself grace and embrace the possibilities.