By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
“Grow through what you go through.”
This concept has been touted by many, ranging from singer-actor Tyrese Gibson to author Fred Famble and many in between. There is no escaping challenge throughout life, but we can decide whether difficult situations will disempower us or make us stronger.
Sometimes, such challenges even allow us opportunities we would not have had otherwise. For example, Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, took his struggles to survive in Nazi concentration camps and used them to develop the theory of logotherapy, which argues that an individual can endure and overcome suffering through finding their personal meaning in life. Perhaps this is a concept we could all benefit from in the wake of everything that’s happened these last two years.
Recently, I encountered a situation that, while not as severe as what Viktor Frankl endured, proved very challenging and fear-inducing for me. It made me reflect on the messages above, as well as the fifth step of the Faremouth Method, “Be a Hunter.” In this kind of situation, the fifth step of the Faremouth Method applies to hunting for good opportunities or lessons within a challenging experience. In other words, looking for how we can empower ourselves to reap the benefits of challenges we encounter.
My recent challenge occurred just last week as I tried to return home from a conference in the Chicago area. It was hosted by a national organization I belong to, and many of my business associates were in attendance. It was an amazing conference; I learned a lot and was able to reconnect with colleagues and business associates I had not seen in a few years.
Afterward, I was waiting on the last flight out of the airport for the day when we were informed that the flight had been canceled and were asked to form a line at the airline desk to see what other arrangements could be made. It was a full flight; there were probably over a hundred people standing in line. It was already close to midnight, my bag had been checked, and many people and activities the next day depended on me.
As we stood in line, I began talking to some of the people around me, many of whom also had connecting flights they would probably miss and activities that would need to be rescheduled. We seemed to form a special bond as we discussed how we could help each other get where we needed to go and even beyond. I feel so fortunate to have met such lovely people, bringing to mind the concept that what matters is neither the journey nor the destination but the people you meet along the way. One needed a job, one had jobs to fill, and a few others told me about many interesting events, books, and ideas. And I am sure some of those who live in Houston will become good friends of mine.
In the end, the airline put us up in a hotel overnight and gave us cab and meal vouchers. I was able to get on another flight the next day and get home late in the evening. My luggage was lost for almost three days, but it was eventually delivered to my door.
This experience empowered me to find the benefits of a not-so-good situation. Below are a few lessons that can be taken from this experience and applied to the New Work World:
- Keep the human element front and center in all that you do. Remember that how you relate to the people in your work world is of paramount importance.
- Empower your mindset to see the benefits of difficult situations. Keep your attitude positive, consider what you can learn from the experience, and don’t get stuck in a “poor me” mentality.
- Always have a backup plan. No matter how certain you are that things will go as planned, consider what you would do if they don’t. Moving forward, I definitely plan to pack extra clothes in my carry-on when I travel!
- Hold an attitude of gratitude. Always show appreciation to those who help you through tough times. By the time I returned home, my dryer had broken down, and my son immediately came over, tried to fix it, and then washed my dirty clothes elsewhere when he couldn’t.
“Grow through what you go through” is a concept I think about a lot these days. The choice is yours whether a difficult situation will disempower you or make you stronger. Don’t allow a negative situation to become a personal “concentration camp.” As Viktor Frankl suggests, search for personal meaning in what you do to allow your life to be as rich and full as possible. And hunt down good outcomes by having a mindset that allows you to capture trophy ideas!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.