Today is my “Alive Day!” It is the 19th anniversary of the accident that ended my illustrious show jumping career and left me with a traumatic brain injury. I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate today’s post to overcoming adversity with 5 steps to take when life knocks you down.
My brain injury forced me to re-learn what most take for granted; such as reading, writing, walking and talking. Sometime later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I became a single mom to a wonderful baby daughter after we lost her father when I was five months pregnant. When she was three, my daughter and I were victims of a home invasion that caused us to lose our home and entire family. We would endure 4 1/2 years of homelessness before I was able to get us back on track again.
Sick, scared and alone with a young daughter depending on me, I had no choice but to be strong. I utilized my professional athlete training and my faith in God to bring us both to a better place.
How do you keep going when all you want to do is fall apart?
Through my adversity, I learned to focus on the things that I could change, allowing myself the grace to let go of what I couldn’t, and use the smallest victories of the day to nourish my wounded self-confidence and exhausted spirit. Each tiny victory stretched my comfort zone and enabled me to do what I didn’t think I could. A strong faith and trust in God did the rest.
I also learned that the best way to overcome challenges and to be strong in my weakness, was to seek out opportunities to help others. This was a true life-altering discovery for me! Getting me outside of my own circumstances enabled me to grow spiritually and gave me the emotional boost I needed to pick myself up and keep going; even when I initially didn’t want to.
Are you going through a storm in your life? Don’t panic! I’ve navigated some pretty harsh life-storms myself, and have charted a course for you. Take these steps one at a time and be sure to implement the last one with gusto! I promise you won’t be sorry!
When life knocks us down, we need to:
1. Focus on what we can do in that very moment to obtain the desired goal. Put “blinders” on the things you can’t control and really dive into what you can at that moment. Each tiny step will give you confidence and fortitude to overcome adversity and move forward to the next step.
2. Let go of self-defeating statements, thoughts, and deeds that will only add to our burdens. Our minds are such powerful things! We need to catch ourselves in negative statements and turn them around; even if we don’t quite believe it yet. Speaking positivity over our situation is a very important step to creating the reality we desire.
3. Seek the gold-nuggets of wisdom in every fall; and learn from it. Use it as a stepping stone to the next level of success. Instead of bemoaning life’s inevitable setbacks, glean the lesson from it and be flexible enough to allow it to help you grow.
4. Regain lost confidence and start dreaming, believing, and taking measurable steps towards the goal we set for ourselves. Without dreams and goals, we remain “stuck” in our problems. We are meant to grow from challenges, not be paralyzed by them. Continue to dream, even if your original dream got detoured. Be willing to go around the next bend and boldly claim what life has in store for you next!
5. Have faith that your storm will come to and end, and with it, you’ll be left with an enormous amount of wisdom to share with others. That, my friends, is the true gift of being strong in the storms of life.