The pandemic, supply chain crises, a possible recession—you might think we’re passing through particularly difficult times, but we’ve passed through difficult times before. At any point, a major event could hit and throw your life and business out of whack. When this happens, you can’t just drop everything and give up. Leaders have no choice but to keep working through challenges if they want to succeed. The stronger you remain, the better you’ll come out of it.
In our current climate of uncertainty and oncoming challenges, my advice is always the same: Even when work gets hard, work harder.
Overcoming adversity can make you stronger.
As someone who spent 10 years of my life living under Communist rule in my home country of Poland, I learned early on how to overcome adversity. I had to in order to survive. My mother would send me to wait in line at the supermarket, and I had to get there early or risk facing empty shelves. Often, the food would all be gone before 8 a.m. The scarcity was palpable and seemed to affect everyone around me.
1. Rely on your team.
If you try to carry all the stress and weight of a crisis on your own, you can quickly burn out, and facing the challenge becomes even harder. When things start to look impossible, it can feel easier to give up, but having a team to fall back on removes the burden of making hard decisions. Gather people from inside your company or trusted advisors and talk to them often. Make sure everyone is aligned around the best path forward.
2. Admit you need help and accept it.
Don’t try to be a superhero and take on the world by yourself. Be open-minded about accepting help from people you might not normally turn to. Find role models or mentors, even those outside of your company. If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner. Don’t be scared to embrace the support of others willing to offer it.
3. Try new things.
It’s often been said that the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. There are many ways to achieve your goals, so try different things. Think outside the box. This is where a team of diverse thinkers can bring more perspectives to the table and help with better decision-making.
4. Be smart.
Lean into your team and engage them in deep discussions about staying ahead of what’s happening in your industry and the business world. Examine all possible solutions, and use every unsuccessful effort as a learning opportunity to improve and do better next time.
5. Stay calm.
Leaders need to demonstrate strength if they want their teams to stay strong as well. Get involved with everyone on the team and discuss what they need to feel supported. The more supported they feel, the more they can support their colleagues, too.
So often in life, when we face hard times, we find ourselves at a critical crossroads: Forge ahead or give up. I say never give up. Hard times come and go like an unpredictable tide. When you and your organization remain strong in the face of adversity, learn from challenges and push through them, you are better positioned to come out on top in the end.