By Rick Melmer – Leadership Coach
As one of the directors of the Leadership South Dakota program, I get a chance to meet 40 dynamic people each year. We travel the state, learn about South Dakota and about each other. One activity that we conduct is to ask each class member to share about “a time when my life changed for the better”. Of course, many of them could share about the day they were married or when their first child was born but we typically ask them to get more creative than that.
Interestingly, when people share about a time when their lives changed for the better – it usually begins with a significant setback. Ironically, they share how their lives became better when they experienced a loss or challenge. It seems strange that something bad can lead to something good. As people share their personal stories, the strength of the human spirit is on display. You begin to understand why leaders are so successful, they are determined to be successful and do not let mistakes or difficult circumstances control them. They see obstacles as opportunities. Like a track and field hurdler, they don’t focus on the hurdles – they concentrate on the finish line. After hearing these inspirational stories, you understand why we can learn more in the valleys of our lives than we can from our time on the mountaintops.
What about you? Have you recently experienced a setback or are you currently facing a challenge in your work or personal life? If so, are you seeing it as an opportunity for growth or a reason to explain your failure? Ultimately, you get to choose whether the events of your life are defined as obstacles or opportunities. Successful leaders become more determined in times of adversity and use it as a springboard to success. Make a decision today to turn your setback into a comeback – and then be ready to tell others about your success!