Stumbling block or stepping stone?*
I heard this great question at a Toastmasters meeting recently and love it. Though it’s been decades I vividly remember the first time I saw the poster showing how the Chinese symbol for crisis is comprised of two symbols: danger and opportunity. In that moment I began to see the world in a more opportunistic way, and have paid attention to how our judgement of a situation colors how we handle it, and move forward from it.
Studies show that the difference between coming away from a challenging situation with positive growth or negative effects is the attitude we assume. When we adopt an attitude of learning and wanting to move forward–taking the challenge as something to surmount– our resilience and courage grow. The alternative is staying stuck, or worse.
This does not mean that we immediately charge forward into every challenge, we are human beings after all. It’s important to take time to feel our feelings, process and let them flow. A colleague call this “5-minutes of martyrdom.”** I like how that honors our need to feel the frustration, fear and anger; and sets a time limit on it.
The best examples of this are companies that turn a negative situation into an opportunity to build customer loyalty. The first example I remember is the tainting of Tylenol and the response of Johnson & Johnson. A more recent example is Netflix changing their prices and how they quickly realized their mistakes, apologized and offered new alternatives.
Do you look at life’s challenges as stumbling blocks or stepping stones? Would you share an example to inspire others? Please comment below!
Happy Wednesday and my best wishes for your continued success,
* This is a quote from the bible, incorporated into much poetry and life-guidance
** Sometimes we need a day or two, the point is setting a time limit.