By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

David Freund, MACNY_2015Writer James Allen wrote, “Circumstances do not make a man; they reveal him.”

So often we hear people complaining about situations that they are in. Perhaps it is their boss, manager, or company in general. As a society, we have become prone to engage in this type of victim mentality. It is always someone else’s fault. If our children get a bad grade, it is the teacher’s fault. If they do not get enough playing time, it is the coach’s fault. We cannot get ahead because of the economy. If we get a speeding ticket, we wonder why we were singled out. Didn’t the officer see all those other people going much faster? Was James Allen correct? Do circumstances simply reveal who we truly are?

In his book “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn,” John Maxwell writes, “Adversity writes our story and if our response is right, the story will be good.” John went on to write, “Some people treat adversity as a stepping stone, others as a tombstone.” Several years ago, I had a conversation with a good friend that was visiting from out of town. Sam is someone who loved having constant changes taking place in his life. During our conversation, I commented in a rather superior way that I need to have things well planned out and consistent. Shortly after this conversation, my career was turned upside down, and I found myself needing to not only cope with change but make more changes happen. If I am honest, my greatest times of growth were when I met challenges and circumstances that seemed to be against me. They forced me out of my comfort zone and caused me to reflect on who I am and what I believe in. Sometimes they cause me to see that I am not the person that I think I am. To admit that I am the problem or not yet up to the task is always a tough pill to swallow.

Seeing is only the beginning, and then I need to decide how to act. To be completely honest, I frequently start by engraving the epitaph on my tombstone but thankfully, and often with the help of others in my life, I am moving away from that practice and on to new learning.

How about you? Is the adversity you are facing a stepping stone to greater things or are you allowing it to be a tombstone bearing the epitaph of your resignation to the most recent circumstance? Do you have others in our life to help you? The choice is really up to you. Choose well; your future depends on it.