Have you had a major setback you need to come back from? Maybe facing a huge obstacle right now?
I’m going to tell you a true story about overcoming adversity that turned into the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
I began my toughness trainer career as a manager at a Fortune 500 company. Now, Before becoming a manager, I was an hourly worker. One day I’m a worker and the next day I’m a manager, just like that. No training yet, no instructions, just these phrases from my boss:
“Here’s your desk and office!”
“I’ll see you at a meeting in 2 hours.”
So, 2 hours goes by and I go to my first meeting with my boss and another manager who is supposed to train me.
My boss conducts the meeting and starts talking about all kinds of things I have no clue what they’re about. I’m scribbling notes as fast as I can from what he’s saying and my partner is just sitting there listening.
My boss is giving us task after task that has to be done by tomorrow, the next day, by the end of this week, etc. Most of it is like Chinese to me, I have no idea how to do the tasks. I end up with a full notepad of things we have to get done and everything is ASAP.
The meeting ends and my partner and I get together to tackle the list I’d written. He doesn’t seem to be concerned about any of it. I’m almost in panic mode thinking my job depends on getting all of this done.
I asked him,
“So how are we going to do this?”
He says something like,
“We don’t have to worry about that one.”
I asked again,
“Well how about this next task where we have to blah blah blah by the end of the week?”
“Well, let’s deal with that at the end of the week”
and it goes on like this until he says,
“I’ve got to go do something we’ll deal with this later.”
As it turned out, A year later, he was let go.
My boss had told me that his door is always open and so I knock on his office door and sit down across the desk while he has his back to me working on the computer. I ask a few questions about the tasks and he gives me short, incomplete answers and then finally turns to me and says: “Figure it out, I’m really busy”
My jaw drops as I walk out the door to my office. I start doing what I call “dialing for answers” asking anyone in the company if they how to deal with the tasks I was facing. And I don’t quit. I keep at it. I get answers slowly, and one by one, I knock out the tasks.
Months later, I end up leading my group to their first ever BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD for the entire district and my boss tells me I’m going to be in his job some day soon.
Here’s the punchline, at the time, I did not like that boss. He was tough, sometimes abusive, and often unfair. That job almost killed me with the stress I had to deal with.
But, that was the greatest gift I’ve ever received from anyone. To this day, whenever I need to overcome adversity or deal with a new task, I say to myself and I believe it deep down in the tissues of my being that,
“I’ll figure it out”
…and I always do.
“I always figure it out”
That job, that boss, the deadlines, it all taught me that I can always figure it out.
Find your power belief from your comeback story. It’s right there. Use it!
I’m Craig Sigl
Your Mental Toughness Trainer