“My dear, In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… In the of midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy for it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” —Albert Camus
Two of my clients that I provided my services to this past week wanted me to help them build their deeply shaken teams. You see, we don’t change merely because of what we know, but because of how we feel about what we know, this is so important to understand. As an organization, you may provide the best training to your employees from the best institutions and by the best facilitators, all this stuff goes to the head. True and sustainable change is brought about by the marriage of the mind and heart. I mostly find that the main reason for poor performance is that there’s no marriage between the heart and the mind and that’s what I specialize in correcting.
This poem above by Albert Camus, is one of my favourites especially when I am building individuals and teams. You have to train yourself not to run away from your challenges and setbacks, I’m talking about your winters of life because in them, there’s your invincible and beautiful summers. We all experience the bangs of life and they become defining moments in our lives. After these moments, you can either live in the past where you are defined by your bangs (past challenges and failures) or you use them as raw material to build the future. You can use your bangs as a catalyst to build a better future.
One other important thing I emphasize in my interventions is what you need to do when the bangs of life bring you down on your knees, that is:
Whenever you are knocked down, try not to pick yourself up too quickly. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about what brought you down, how it brought you down and what to learn from all that for the future. Many people fail to learn the lesson when they are down and rush to move forward and get knocked down again and again by the same thing, this you can avoid. You’re always a work in progress, whenever something goes wrong in your life, use the lessons from it to build and prepare for a better tomorrow.
As a kid, I lost my dad. As a young adult, I lost both my mother and my brother. These were the defining moments in my life. I share with my clients on how I survived these bangs and how I found my invincible summers in my harsh winters. You see, as a results coach, I’ve worked with so many people who are stuck in certain thresholds or bangs in their lives. Some people got stuck when they lost their loved one. Some got stuck when they were fired or retrenched from their jobs. Some got stuck when they were overlooked for a promotion or raise. These are the most common reasons why most people get stuck. This unfortunately forms the foundation on which they see and define themselves. In these organizations and teams I get to work with, I find a lot of employees who are so toxic to themselves and the teams they work in because they’ve allowed themselves to be defined by the past challenges and failures. They didn’t go beyond the past setbacks. They didn’t look for their invincible and beautiful summers in their harsh winters. Their failure became their undertaker instead of becoming their inspiration.
Let me share with you, without delving deeper into them, the three of the many critical skills I teach that you need to develop for you to be able to see the invincible and beautiful summers in your harsh winters:
- The ability to self-motivate. This is so critical. This is the hallmark of winners. They’re able to keep themselves going forward even when no one believes in them. They become the majority of one.
- Develop the skill to firstly see things for what they are rather than what you want them to be. When you develop this perspective, you are then able to calmly look for the good in what appears to be messy. This is when you are able to transform your mess into a message.
- Learn to accept. There are two types of acceptance: Passive-Acceptance and Active-Acceptance. Passive-Acceptance is accepting things that are beyond your control, like COVID-19. This is not quitting or a giving up response. Active-Acceptance is about accepting failure or setback as a temporary thing instead of seeing it as something permanent. If you see something you can change as permanent, that’s resignation. That’s when you apply a permanent solution to a temporary situation which is called learned helplessness.
The world sells us this illusion that if we have all these external toys and things, we will find true happiness which is why you see so many people with a microwave mentality of impatiently believing in instant solutions to anything. Happiness is a fleeting feeling mostly driven by external things while joy is an everlasting contentment from deep within. So, joy is the way to go!
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of four books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON! And Set Your Soul On Fire!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773