In life, there are many times that we look up at our life and wonder how we are ever going to climb out of the hole we have dug for ourselves through either self-inflicted crises or an injury or illness that hinders our ability to work or compete in our given profession.
It is during times like these that the enjoyment factor of life is at its lowest ebb and we must just work through the bad days in the hopes that all our effort will one day pay off…
And, bring us the success that makes all the effort and pain worth it.
In the song, “Bang a Drum,” written by Jon Bon Jovi and sung by Chris Ledoux, there is a lyric that tells the story of getting back on our feet. “Well, I called upon my brother, just the other day. He said, “Jon, I’m gonna die if I don’t start to live again. I work each day and night like clockwork, just tryin’ to make ends meet. Well, I could kick this bad world’s ass if I could just get on my feet.”
Tiger Woods has to be the most prominent example of someone who fell off the precipice of life through both a self-inflicted crisis and serious injuries but has worked hard to “get back on his feet.”
And, we can, too.
In 2009, Tiger Woods seemingly had the world by the tail, and he was winning PGA Major Championships at a clip that would soon allow him to overtake his hero, Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus owned 18 Major Championship wins. But, on Thanksgiving Day, Tiger’s world unraveled with his exposure as a serial cheater, and he has not won a major championship since 2008 and a regular tour event since 2013. With career earnings totaling 113 million dollars, one would think after four knee surgeries and four back surgeries which included a spinal fusion Tiger would just retire and call it a career.
Yet, from his self-inflicted crisis through his numerous injuries, he has continuously pushed himself to return to the sport and competition of the PGA Tour. What would make someone who has reached the pinnacle of success go through the pain, stress, and the immense effort needed to return to the highest levels in sport or in business?
What is perseverance?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. In life, everyone, at one point or another, will face struggles either self-inflicted or just the vagaries of life. We can either determine to work through them or run from them. One will set us up for success and the other will set us up for continued struggles.
So, how do we determine to work through our issues instead of burying our head in the sand like an ostrich when life’s travails hit us?
The old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
This is precisely the mentality one needs to put one foot in front of the other and move forward when life wants you to quit. For some of us, like Tiger, it is about just being able to live life pain-free and heal enough to allow us to move forward.
For others, also including Tiger, it is overcoming addictions, situations, and attitudes that cement our lives in a place that until we take charge and change those things that hold us back…
We will never be free.
After successful spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, Tiger was finally free from the pain that had derailed not only his career but his life. He was finally able to start practicing again. And, as Tiger told ESPN at his lowest points, “Coming back and playing golf was never in my thoughts,” Woods said. “It was just, ‘How do I get away from this pain?’ How can I live life again?’” — Quote from Business Insider Article
After almost eighteen months of working not only on his golf game but his personal image, Tiger is on the threshold of achieving win number 80 on the PGA Tour at the Tour Championship at the Eastlake Course in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be one step closer to returning to the pinnacle of his profession. At this point, you might wonder what someone without the resources of a Tiger Woods could do to get back on their feet again.
First, take each day one day at a time, do one small thing to move your life forward in a positive direction. If you do not have a job, then your first small step might be to write your resume and prepare that first application.
If you have an illness or an injury that prevents you from doing what you love, your first small step might be to see a doctor to find relief from the affliction. And, if you are overcome by self-doubt and fear, your first small step might be to talk to someone who understands where you are and give you guidance to help you master the doubts that our mind plays over and over at our weakest moments.
After you take the first small step, you should build upon that success experience and string together another tiny step which might be to apply for that dream job. You could then seek treatment for the injury or illness that has been ailing you. You could even write that first story that lays out your self-doubt and pushes it aside.
Will, any of this, be easy?
No, life has a way of complicating everything we try to do because of a lack of resources, either time or money, or it conspires to make us believe that we are not worthy of success. But, success can be ours by just understanding that for each negative reaction there has to be a positive outcome at some point. We just have to believe and keep striving for the success we know will be ours at some point.
It’s all about your mentality. If you believe you can overcome, you will. If not, your life will continually be stuck in a negative feedback loop.
Again, in the lyrics of, “Bang a Drum,” “but, as long as my heart keeps on banging, I’ve got a reason to believe.”
Tell me how you have overcome adversity, how it made your life better, and what you did to continue believing that you would eventually persevere and overcome.
Your life is extraordinary, and you are worthy. Keep working and keep believing.
If you enjoyed this piece, I believe you will find these equally enjoyable including how I overcame my own crisis.