Adversity is simply defined as 'a difficult situation'. Overcoming is as simple as 'prevailing in success'. Both are easy to understand on their own, but together they are a contradiction opposed to one another.
When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with a rare heart disease, Ebstein's anomaly. Without getting into the entire lengthy story (you can read more in depth here if you'd like: Heart of a Coach), I was faced with a lot of adversity throughout my life. Some adversity is very minor, such as fatigue or limited participation, but some adversity was more serious like open heart surgeries gone wrong. This week marks the 13th anniversary of my heart surgeries, so I've been thinking about how grateful I am. I want to use my story as an example and encouragement to you and your players if you are facing the challenge of overcoming adversity. Here are three simple things that I've learned:
1. BE PROACTIVE
Adversity will present itself in your life at some point or another. Sometimes you will have an opportunity to prepare for it and other times you will not. Either way, it is wise for you to prepare yourself mentally for when that time comes. Think about how you want to deal with adversity when it comes. What will you say? How will you say it? Who will you be? If you wait until adversity strikes to prepare yourself, you will find yourself being reactive. Typically, your reactions will be negative. Be proactive!
2. BE POSITIVE
If you are proactive in your preparation mentally, you will find it much easier to be positive. It's natural for negativity to creep in and no one will think you're wrong for being frustrated, but it's how you respond to those feelings that will allow you to overcome. You have a choice to respond negatively or positively, and whatever road you choose will ultimately lead you to your destination. Sometimes you will make the wrong turn, but it will be in your best interest to re-route as soon as possible. If you stay focused on the positives, you will overcome adversity!
3. SEE THE OPPORTUNITY
Sometimes it's hard, but find the opportunity in every situation. Although adversity sucks in the moment, it is often a prerequisite for success. If you prepare mentally and stay positive through the adversity, chances are good that you will get through it and be better for it. It will be a constant battle in your mind, but keep making the right choices when it comes to your attitude. Establish a vision, devise a plan, and see the opportunity at the end of the road!
Everybody has their own way of dealing with adversity, but I hope that these basic thoughts will encourage you to keep going! I believe that God has a plan and he is sovereign in my life. Because I believe that truth, I am able to live out the gospel through adversity. It's not always easy and I don't always succeed, but I know that God is in control! I am thankful for the adversity in my life.