From the Valley ~ RISE

Yea, though I walk through the valley, the psalmist penned.

Life as we knew it just a few short weeks ago has changed drastically.  Everything that we took for granted is now shut down, modified, off limits or closed.  The freedom of coming and going as we wished, shopping where and when we wanted to, having a job to go to, sending our kids to school, planning a vacation, attending a concert, going to a ballgame, dining at our favorite restaurants, even visiting friends and family, has come to an abrupt halt.  Our mountaintop living took the deep descent into a valley that we are not familiar with.  What do we do?  How should we respond?

  • Be resilient ~ No matter what you do, no matter how spectacular your efforts are, you’re not always going to be successful. You’re not always going to get the results you were after. In fact, success is really based on failure — not permanent failure, but temporary setbacks. The people who are most successful at what they choose to do, are the people who are willing to experience the most setbacks, and who are willing to quickly and decisively move beyond those setbacks.

That’s resilience. It’s getting up and bouncing back, almost as soon as you get knocked down. It doesn’t really matter how many times you get thrown off track or knocked down. In fact, if you’re experiencing a lot of setbacks and disappointments, that means you’re putting out a lot of effort. You’re ambitious. It’s gonna take ambition to get through this valley.

“All of us get knocked down, but it’s the resiliency that really matters…the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure.” — Roger Staubach

  • Choose improvement ~ Remember the Mindset of Incremental Improvements from April of last year?  Even the smallest improvement is better than standing still.  Standing still is effectively sliding backwards.  If you stand still, the world moves forward without you. So, your choice becomes this:  Either improve by utilizing the opportunities for incremental improvement or fall behind. 

We have some mountains to climb and we must take those steps forward and embrace a MINDSET of incremental improvement.  Set goals.  Go get them.

“There is always room for improvement.”  — Joey Logano

  • Think success ~ Success rarely comes in a grand moment, but gradually, bit by bit, moment by moment.  Big successes are built from small efforts added together over time.  In times like these we need to plan and then pivot.

Turn a “have to” into a “want to”.  Think about it.  Which are you more likely to do with passion and enthusiasm — something you have to do or something you want to do?  The interesting thing is that you have complete control over whether any specific activity is a “have to” or a “want to” activity.  “Have to” and “want to” are concepts which exist in your own mind.  To turn a “have to” into a “want to” requires nothing more than firmly establishing, in your mind, a connection between the activity and the desirable results that activity will produce.

“Leaders think and talk about solutions.  Followers think and talk about problems.”  — Brian Tracy

  • Gain experience ~ The reality of our “new normal” is that we gain experience that will, unfortunately, likely be necessary in the future.  One year ago, we never would have guessed that our experience with “the wake-up call” would have positioned us to be better prepared to respond again less than twelve months later.  But it did.

While others around us are reeling with grasping our new reality, we are poised, focused and mentally stable.  While the COVID-19 crisis has presented us with new obstacles, the attitude and buy-in of our teams has been nothing less than extraordinary.  Document your journey.  Make long term changes.  Come out of this stronger than you went in.  The comeback is always stronger than the setback.

“Experience is not what happens to a person; it’s what a person does with what happens to them.”  — Aldous Huxley

I grew up in a valley, literally, in the valley nestled between the Allegheny Front and the west side of Saddle Mountain.  I say the west side of Saddle Mountain because Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln’s mother, was born on the east side.  I didn’t know her….it was 180 years before my time. 

Being raised on a farm is only part of my story.  Learning to survive in the valley is another.  It’s where I learned to be Resilient regardless of what I was facing, chose Improvement over complacency, thought Success over failure and gained the Experience that would carry me through my adult life. 

Simply put ~ Faith, hope and a RISE mindset will take us through this valley.

“Everything worthwhile is uphill.”