The Power of Adversity – Thrive Rather Than Survive

Follow These Six Steps to Come Through Adversity On Top!

How do you deal with adversity?

Do you succumb to the feelings of loss, abandonment, and despair, or do you sense a there is a gift, or silver lining hidden inside the defeat?

Did you know that with the right training, you can learn how to react to adversity with emotional intelligence, and,  that adversity often brings out the best in people? There is now science to prove it!

The famous Holocaust survivor, Viktr Frankl reflected on his time in a Nazi concentration camp and amazingly, was able to draw meaning from his experience. He is quoted as saying “What is to give light, must endure burning”.

His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how Frankl survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it and become a noted intellectual and philosopher as well.

He is quoted as saying, “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing:

The last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”.

After enduring the suffering in the camps, Frankl validated the conclusion that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering becomes meaningful.


Through extensive research, Six Keys to Developing Resiliency such as Frankl exhibited have been developed.

They are:

  1. Strengthen Your Support Networks
  2. Clarify Your Purpose
  3. Develop Your Self-Awareness
  4. Enhance Your Self Care
  5. Leverage Your Strengths
  6. Deepen Your Coping Skills

The researchers also found that perception is key to resilience: Do you think of an event as traumatic, or as a chance to learn and grow?  It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles, stress, and other threats that your resilience, or your lack of resilience, comes to the surface, and has to be dealt with. What do you do when you are in trouble? Do you succumb or do you overcome?

Here’s how to make resilience happen for you, and it takes some work:

Identify unique challenges that you face in your life, your workplace and in your relationships.

Clarify what is going right and what is going wrong.

Write it down now.

What are your key thoughts and feelings around being  deraied and how to either survive or thrive.

Make a list of actions that would work for you.  Are you ready yet?

Write them down now.

What is one small piece of the resiliency wheel you can explore, try, or experiment with today to make a change? Pick something really small, no big changes

Write it down now.

Researchers have discovered that It’s All About Your Mindset. Neuroscientists at Columbia University demonstrated that teaching people to think of concerns and worries in different ways—to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally “hot”—changes how they experience and react to the worry or concern. Believe it or not, people can be trained to better regulate or control their emotions, and the training seems to have lasting effects.

The same goes for your area of control or center core:  Not only is a more internal center tied to perceiving less stress and performing better. Changing your center from external to internal leads to positive changes in feelings of well-being and work performance or productivity.

Reflect on a challenge you faced in your work where you demonstrated resiliency. Ask what factor, mindset or strategy enabled you to be resilient and thrive – not just survive – the experience?  Can you list more than one?

Women, in particular, continue to face unique challenges in the workplace that block success. Resiliency is an important ingredient for career success when you can proactively develop resiliency resources.  Use those six resiliency strategies that will help you  thrive by protecting yourself against future adversity or regaining your resiliency after a major setback.  But we’ve only scratched the surface.

Remember, It’s Okay to ASK for Help!
Nobody Becomes Successful Alone! We all need help, we just have to admit it! It Takes a Village! And the right expert to guide you through.

Think of those people who faced a really tough situaltion, and as a result, came out on top. Then, dig deeper and think about how they conquered their circumstances and grew from the experience. I’ll bet these folks did not do it all alone, they had the right kind of help.You can too! Just follow these six steps and you can come out on top too!

On June 21, at the Newport Chamber, I’ll be holding a workshop on The Power of Adversity. In this interactive workshop, you will explore the 6 Keys to Developing Resiliency. Based on research, the results unlock the secrets of what it takes to actually thrive when faced with adversity rather than just endure.

You’ll learn the best way to find your own resiliency core and take action to ensure your success in learning to become resilient. You’ll test your resiliency and discover areas where you need to build more confidence.

I’ll help you discover your plan for dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty, and what to do when facing unique challenges in your workplace or personal life.

Continental breakfast and snacks will be provided.

I’m In!

Mary T. O'Sullivan

Mary T. O’Sullivan, Master of Science, Organizational Leadership, Member, International Coaching Federation, Society of Human Resource Management. Candidate, Master’s Certificate in Executive and Professional Career Coaching, University of Texas at Dallas. Member Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society. Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University. Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from SHRM. Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles, she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to new ways of thinking, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth. In additional, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education, and taught high school English for 10 years in the Syracuse, NY area.