Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
When you have every reason in the world to quit, what do you do? When literally no one would blame you for throwing in the towel…
…do you give up?
Not if you’re Minnesota’s Lindsey Vonn.
Career ending accidents seem to seek Vonn out. Or at least, accidents that would be career ending for people with less grit. For several years leading up to this year’s Olympics, Vonn spent more time off her skis than on, as she recovered from one spectacularly violent crash after another.
I hope Vonn wins Olympic gold. But even if she doesn’t, her resilience has already secured her a special place in the history books.
What about you? What do you want your legacy to be?
You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to leave your mark in people’s hearts and minds. You influence people every day, simply through how you move through your life. People are watching you. They’re learning from you about how to face the adversities in their own lives.
So that you can model resiliency for the people who matter most to you, when you feel like giving up, consider taking these steps:
- Tune out the crowd.
Are you too old? Too young? Too inexperienced? Not in touch with the latest trends?
Don’t listen to them. Their opinion doesn’t matter. And by “their,” I mean “anyone.” There is only one opinion you should concern yourself with, and that’s God’s. He knows you better than anyone, and what you’re truly capable of.
When God plants a purpose in your heart, have faith that He will support you to carry that purpose out, no matter how long the odds appear to you. Listen to your heart and gut. Don’t overthink your setback. After all, it’s not like your broken body just got airlifted off a mountain, right?
- Articulate the benefits of giving yourself another chance.
What do you stand to gain if you get up and try again? Make an actual list. Include all of the possibilities, in detail. Paint a picture of what could change for you if you choose to keep putting one foot in front of the other, instead of quitting.
Include not just the benefits if you succeed, but also what you will gain simply through not giving up so easily. How will you feel about yourself through knowing that you truly “left it all on the mountain?”
- Pinpoint the precise support you need.
Where are you struggling, specifically? You’re doing a lot of things right. Give yourself credit for those things. Then, zero in on the things that are holding you back. Be as concrete and pragmatic as possible. Get razor-sharp focus on the support that you need in order to break through to the next level of performance.
- Be creative about the best way to get that support.
Who can give you the support you need? Do you know?
Start asking around. I promise you that you will be amazed what happens in your life when you begin opening up about your challenges, and your desire to overcome them.
And, you will be blessed. Conversations will begin to flow effortlessly. You’ll begin to see other people in a whole new light, and they will see you in a whole new light. You’ll feel deeper connections with one another. You’ll be fluidly directed to the support that you need. And that support will be even more valuable than you ever imagined it could be.
- Give yourself permission to learn and grow.
All of that said, choosing to be resilient doesn’t mean that you begin winning all of your races all of the time. It means that you begin winning against your own self-doubt. You begin winning against your own personal best.
Once you begin winning against yourself, you’ll discover other challenges, for which you need new support. You’ll find out that as much as you’ve learned and grown, you still have more learning and growing to do. But you’ll no longer look at opportunities to learn and grow the same way. You’ll embrace them head-on. You’ll find deep joy in the journey, knowing that, one resilient step at a time, you’re becoming the leader God created you to be.
- Invite Jesus “in” as your leadership (and life!) coach.
Jesus understands resiliency. When it comes to keeping a stiff upper lip as you walk toward your purpose, Jesus can give you all the tips and pointers and informed encouragement that you need. Talk to Him. Invite Him into your life and decision-making processes.
There is nothing Jesus would love more than to serve as your personal coach, both in leadership and in life.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4