Written by Coach Vin Kampf

“Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees.”- Thomas S. Monson

Adversity, in any form, is a part of our lives whether we like it or not. We have all faced setbacks both inside and outside of the gym. Oftentimes, this adversity can leave us questioning, frustrated, lost, and numb to everything around us. I think it’s safe to say that at some point we have had a bad workout, not hit a lift, or lost a loved one, battled illness, and had times where nothing seems to be going our way. In all of these situations, it is so easy to want to give up and throw in the towel; but this is the exact moment where we find out who we truly are and can build out strength both physically and mentally.

With every obstacle that is laid in our path, we can prove to ourselves that we are capable of overcoming anything life throws at us. It is easy to get frustrated and down when certain things just don’t go our way, and we can all use the “why me?” scenario. But, what does that really do for us? I know that life isn’t always fair and never will be. But even if it were, would we ever be able to learn and grow?

So, how can we overcome and manage adversity? To start, we have to accept that obstacles are a guarantee in life. If we can accept that things won’t always go according to plan, we can be prepared to make the best of every situation and make every situation a place for growth. Now, I am not saying we should never feel blue or upset, I’m just suggesting that instead of wallowing in it, we manage it: learn from the obstacle, and allow ourselves to use these times to grow stronger, learn from our mistakes, and only worry over things we can control. For example, if we have to scale workouts, use it as a time to work more on weaknesses, build on our foundation, and grow overall strength and ability. If we lose our jobs or come into financial hardship, use it as a time to find your passion and refocus your energy and efforts to trying new things or exploring new avenues. If we lose a loved one, as hard as this is, try to find at least one characteristic of that person and make it a fixture in your life to remember them and keep their legacy alive.  You can even start of charity or partner with a charity to help educate others and maybe find a cure.

Secondly, use the community around you for support. Connect with people, vent to them, listen to them, share experiences. It’s easy to keep our emotions, frustrations, and feelings internal, so find a few people that can be that ear for you to just let it all out. Or maybe it’s to just talk about nothing so we can get our minds off of things. It’s hard to want to be around people when our world seems to be closing in, but getting out and socializing will actually make you feel better overall.

Lastly, try to keep a journal. Sometimes its easier to write out our feelings just so we don’t keep them bottled up. Take some time every night to reflect on the day: write the good, the bad, and what you are grateful for. Also, write out daily affirmations.

So next time we are faced with adversity, take a minute to breathe, regroup, reassess, and learn from the experience. Growth and strength are often born from adversity.