Have You Emerged Stronger Through Adversity? Four Evidence-based Lessons For Growth

Author Karen Salmansohn suggests:

The most challenging times bring us the most empowering lessons.

If Karen is correct, most of us have collected a lot of “empowering lessons” since 2020. Lest we forget, in the US alone, we’ve recently faced:

  • COVID-19
  • Lockdowns
  • Toilet Paper Shortages
  • Civil Unrest
  • Contentious Elections
  • Supply-Chain Disruptions
  • Staffing Challenges
  • The Great Resignation, and
  • Inflation

Sadly, that’s just a partial list.

What lessons have you learned, and how have you grown from those adversities?

According to Associated Press medical writer, Lindsey Tanner, responses to adversity vary greatly. She suggests in an article titled, Does adversity make you stronger? Scientists say not always:

There’s an old saying that adversity makes you stronger. Real life shows that’s not always true, but the adage highlights an evolving debate among scientists about resilience.

After traumatic events and crises such as child abuse, gun violence or a pandemic, what explains why some people bounce back, while others struggle to cope?

Consistent with that question, I asked more than 140 CEOs and Presidents of companies like Target, Verizon, Kohl’s, Microsoft, Farmers Insurance, Dairy Queen, Mercedes-Benz, Zappos, United Way, and Salvation Army what they do to ensure their people and companies “bounce back” from crises. My McGraw-Hill-published book Stronger Through Adversity outlines more than 20 “empowering leadership lessons” that emerged from those discussions.

For this short post, let’s highlight four proven ways to emerge Stronger Through Adversity.

1) Practice Self-Awareness – Andrew McDowell writing for TPC Health, notes, “Understanding ourselves and proactively raising awareness about our processes and patterns can enhance our capacity to both become resilient and grow the extent to which we feel more resilient over time.”

2) Reach Out Wisely – An American Psychological Association research review article puts it this way, “Connecting with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, which will support the skill of resilience.”

3) Leverage Your Coping HistoryGuidance from the Mayo Clinic suggests, “Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times.”

4) Seek out a Realistically Positive Narrative – Dr. Andrea Pennington, author of The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People, notes, “Positive self-talk is an effective and essential tool when it comes to becoming more resilient because it helps you to overcome the influence of your negative inner voice and your inbuilt negativity bias.”

Psychologist Donna Daisy sums up evidence-based practices for emerging Stronger Through Adversity best by noting:

When adversity occurs, you always have a choice. You can become helpless and give up, believing that nothing you do will make a difference. Or, you can choose to become empowered by acquiring the mindset, the lifestyle, and the skills.

How are you and your organization doing at emerging Stronger Through Adversity?


To learn more about ways to help your team and organization emerge Stronger Through Adversity, please contact me at josephmichelli.com/contact.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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