In the world of professional speaking, a lot of speakers under the umbrella of motivation get there because of very visible physical challenges. It is immediately obvious that the person on stage has every right to claim the title of motivational and even inspirational, speaker.

As I prepare to enter the world of speaking, also claiming motivation and who knows, for some perhaps, inspirational, I think of my similarities to those with “invisible” disabilities. People with brain injuries, learning disabilities, heck – high blood pressure. Now I’m certainly not disabled, but life has thrown more than a few adversities my way. More than the average bear you might say. At least at this age. I suppose by the time any of us enter the golden years, we will have met more than one or two situations with which we must contend.

What does adversity mean to you?

When you hear the term adversity, what comes to mind? A setback, an obstacle or dire circumstance? A health challenge, job loss, relationship turmoil, death? These are the adversities of most of us and so far, I’ve indeed faced them all.

For those whose adversities came not as a life long reality, but later, you will often hear them express appreciation. They may even tell you that it changed their lives for the better.  Does that seem strange to you?

Here’s the thing, if we could learn what we learned about ourselves and others through rainbows and puppies, we would. But, the truth is, it’s only by our experience of going into the depths and choosing to return with vision and purpose, that gives us an opportunity to transform our lives.

Why is this so? Because a portion of the journey is done alone. It requires you to make a choice about if and how you will show up. Sometimes that choice comes every hour. And yes, it is quite possible you may engage in a rant or two about the fairness of life. Then, once again, you take a breath and choose to continue.

Adversity and its link to values and motivation

One of the outcomes of adversity is it helps us to narrow down what is important to us. Think values. How we want to make a difference in our lives, and the lives of others. Once you realize that you will be living a new normal, your understanding of the world, and yourself, shifts. You know you can’t go back to the way things were, because you are no longer that person.

The deciding part of the journey is the part you travel alone. But then you will also find people appearing to help you in unexpected ways. It might be as simple as someone putting your carry-on case into the overhead bin on a plane, because you are unable to do so. Or, it might also be someone who gives you a book with exactly the message you need at that time. Some of it comes because you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and ask for help, other times the resource just shows up.

As I embrace this new role of professional speaker, I do so with the intention of making our hidden adversities more visible. Shine some light on those things that connect us, and offer some strategies that help when faced with our darkest moments. I can’t help you dodge life’s adversities, but I can help you re-think them.

Want to add to the conversation? Comments are always welcome.

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