Working with Adversity

“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” William Shakespeare

Being at the centre of a large organisation as a CEO or manager can be extremely challenging. You may often find yourself facing disruptive situations,
such as the departure of a valued employee, loss of a favourite customer, shortage of funds or even a lawsuit. Sometimes what may seem like a trip
to hell can change your whole perspective.

As the “Queen of Media”, Oprah Winfrey’s success in the media world is indisputable. Starting her career as a news anchor at the age of 19, she went on
to become a billionaire with her own television channel. Yet she encountered numerous hardships in the process of building a media empire.

Life is not always a steady string of successes and corporate life is no exception to this rule. In a bid to constantly push ourselves higher and higher,
at some point we are all bound to stumble and fall. That’s the law of averages. The only people who never fail are the ones who never mount the high

Even though great leaders are lauded for their success, what make them great leaders are the trials and tribulations of failure. When adversity strikes,
great people find ways and means to carry on. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom to learn from those who have faced catastrophe and won.

Maintain a strong belief system and values

Great leaders and CEOs are driven by a different set of objectives beyond mere outcomes, KPIs and the bottom line. The environment and competition may
change, but something needs to stay the same. This is about alignment and a deep coherence in what they truly value and believe in. They know that
accomplishing their objectives will truly add value for people, the ecosystem and the greater good.

Seek help from others

Successful leaders seek timely assistance from experts or people around them who are genuine and highly supportive. They create opportunities for strategic
alliances with related industries that are doing well and can help them manage tricky situations. Corporate leaders know they can’t win the battle

Adopt a positive outlook

Great leaders maintain a positive outlook and keep their chins up. They don’t let negative emotions rule their day and instead look to the future with
optimism and hope. However difficult the situation may be, they keep their composure and don’t panic. There is always a silver lining.

Never quit

The best leaders keep trying again and again, getting back on the horse that threw them down. They learn lessons from their failures and make the necessary
improvements to ride again.

As corporate athletes, we are all bound to experience obstacles in business. Sometimes you may fall down into a hole that looks like failure. It’s okay
to feel bad for a while and mourn for what you have lost. But after that, it’s time to get yourself up and prepare to strike again. However, this time
you will take a new approach based on what you have learned, adjusting your sails to the direction of the wind so you can reach your destination.

If you would like to find out more about how a mindfulness practice can help one to develop resilience and deal with adversity, check out our MBSR program at

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