“If you use adversity right, it will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone any other way!” This is a quote I saw by Tony Bennett, the University of Virginia men’s basketball coach.
For those who remember, the University of Virginia was the country’s number one-seeded men’s basketball team a few years ago, and Tony Bennett was their coach in the March Madness NCAA Tournament. Virginia was the first number one-seeded team to lose their opening game to a 16-seed. It had never been done, and it was a huge upset for the team, coach and fans. The following year, they came back and won the national championship.
Virginia took the adversity they experienced the year before, leaned into it and used it to motivate, change and calibrate. They used adversity to prepare for the next season and then won the national title. How many teams or people do you know that would fold and give up after that devastating loss? How long would it take for you to get over it and stop feeling sorry for yourself? Justifiably, most people would be down in the dumps after that significant loss. Instead, they used that adversity and turned it around to win the national championship. Tony Bennett talks about it a lot, how he used that experience to propel the team.
I’ve talked about this idea in my last few blogs: Life Is A Series of Calibrations, Embrace the Good, Bad & In Between, and Fall in Love With the Problem. Now I’m sharing how to embrace adversity. These are all parts of the journey.
This summer, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. My kids are about to be away at school, and I’ve been at Service Express for over 25 years. When I look back, it’s the times when I handled adversity well that created the most success. Part of the journey to success is embracing these steps.
When you don’t handle the challenging parts well, it delays your success. As I’ve said, I’ve yet to find anyone or any organization that’s found success without adversity, problems or bad days. It’s not a straight line up and to the right; it’s several setbacks, pitfalls and valleys. When I look back on my life, my biggest successes have come after some of my lowest points, failures or challenges.
When you can lean into adversity, embrace it and use it to learn and grow, you’ll win!