Work It Now! How Winners Deal With Adversity

By Rob “Waldo” Waldman, Lt. Col., CSP

I remember the first time I was deployed to Iraq during Operation Southern Watch.  I sat in an intelligence mission briefing with 50 of my fellow fighter pilots (my wingmen) where we were briefed on the multiple threats that scattered the enemy terrain in Iraq.  The SAM’s (surface to air missiles) and AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) were everywhere – each with the reach and power to shoot us out of the sky.

I couldn’t help but notice the anxious feeling that was in the pit of my stomach. The dread, panic, and fear were almost overwhelming.  For the first time in my military career, I was going to be tested in combat. It was ‘go time’…time to put all my training…the years of study, focus, sacrifice, and sweat…to the test. From the Air Force academy where I learned the fundamentals of discipline and teamwork, to the 79th Fighter Squadron where I learned to fly the sophisticated F-16 and the complicated tactics necessary to defeat the enemy. All of this training would soon be put to use.

But deep down I wondered if I was ready. How would I perform under this real pressure?  Would I get shot down? Was I truly prepared for this ultimate test? I thought to myself, what good was my military and fighter training if I wasn’t able to execute when it really counted? I had to get focused!

Despite my insecurity, the bottom line was that I was ready.  When I reflected on all of my training and preparation, the more confident I became. All of my previous work would allow me to win in Iraq.  I didn’t need to be afraid.

Each day, we’re faced with missiles of business and life that are being shot at us as we execute our missions.  How will you deal with them?  Will you take action, or shirk away in fear? Do you have the foundation of training, preparation and mental focus necessary to face those missiles with courage and confidence?

Winners work hard and plant seeds of success long before the enemy strikes.  That’s why WIN stands for Work it Now!

I recently received and e-mail from a friend who works in real estate (she is a very successful time share salesperson).  She wrote, “Waldo, I sure could use a sale (and some motivation from you) right now.  I know I’ll get over this slump, but business is terrible!”

I felt for her.

Yes – business is bad all over. Look at the economy and it’s quite clear that these are tough times. It’s a huge missile and it’s pointing at us all.

How we deal with this missile will ultimately determine whether or not we’ll defeat it. For it’s the tough times that determine the true character of a winner.  If you want to test the character of an individual in business, see how they act when the sales are down, when they’re having bad month, or when the competition is taking away their business.

Will you Forget Everything and Run or Focus Energy and Accept Responsibility?

Here are a few wingtips to help you to take action with courage:

  1. Flight plan your day – Get up earlier, schedule your action items, reduce or eliminate your TV time, take a course on sales. Get focused on the preparation fundamentals that lead to business success.
  2. Surround yourself with positive, successful wingmen – eliminate the Naysayers and attract the “Yaysayers.” These are your comrades of confidence who will lend you their wings to fly, but who will also hold you accountable for your actions.
  3. Be a WingGiver – Help others. Remember, there are folks like you who are struggling (personally and financially).  Find a way to help ease their suffering with your skill, connections, and compassion
  4. Be thankful – Appreciate all your blessings and take inventory where your life is going well, and don’t focus on the negative.

Life has its ups and downs.  As soon as we think we have it under control…BAM! Another missile gets launched at us.  Don’t resist it. Rather, accept it as a challenge to upgrade your flight status and strengthen your wings. Remember that winners deal with adversity by ensuring they have done the necessary work and relationship building before the missiles of life are launched.

If you wait until after the missiles are in the air, then it’s probably too late.


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