Rising from the Ashes



“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”     ― Maya Angelou

One of my favorite parts of mythology is the story of the phoenix.  The story of the great bird that burns into ashes and then rises from these ashes back to life all anew.  While I simply view this as mythological story, I see so much in this for every single person that wants to achieve greatness.  Oftentimes we must fall through our failures and struggles, only to reemerge from the ashes of defeat to rise in victory.    

When we really assess our abilities, far too often we really don’t know our true ability.  I feel that this is the reason for TV shows like “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent”. While some contestants have an idea of just how good they really are, others are simply looking for that validation for their abilities.  We have all seen it, the young singer who gets on stage, nervous, but ready to show the world just how good they are.  They begin to sing, not really sure how it will turn out, but then they hit that first high note.  The crowd erupts, applause ensues.  The contestant begins to smile and sing even greater than before.   Why?  Simple, now they believe.  They know their abilities are good enough.  They have confidence. They have arrived.  Where do you need confidence in your abilities?  

So where do we go from here?  How do we gain the confidence in our own abilities while struggling through the failures of our careers, our endeavors, our new jobs, our weight loss, our (you fill in the blank)?   Let’s look back to the story of the phoenix.  The phoenix is known to be beautiful, full of color, hearkened back to its connection with the sun.   When the phoenix rose from its ashes, it didn’t rise in dirt and grey, rather it arose in beautiful color.  See, this is us, when we fail, our skills are not diminished.  We haven’t lost any of our abilities.  We still have the same strengths we had before.  What we have learned though is a better understanding of just how good we really are.  Now we know where we can work now, we know how good we are.  We can now do the most important part of failing, RISE.

See, the response is always the most important.  What do we do when we fail?  Do we continue to press forwards to our goal, rising from the ashes of our failure?  Or do we simply give up and say we aren’t good enough?  Honestly, we may not be good enough to make our goal right now, but that’s what is so great about success.  Success demands us to RISE to the occasion. Success helps us to make us a better version.  To gain the success in life, we must reach higher every day. Every day we must strive to become the best version of ourselves for that day. 

As we strive for new endeavors remember these key thoughts:

  • For many, your goals will push you to go to places you’ve never been, into situations you’ve never seen, and to do actions you’ve never done.  You will have to pull yourself out of your comfort zone.  Always remember to set your foundation firmly and the prepare to face adversity.
  • When struggles come, focus on the solution, not the problem.  We can quickly be overcome with the struggle we are facing rather than finding the solution.  The quicker you move from being the victim to a fighter, the quicker you’ll find the solution to your problem
  • Failure will come.  Simply stated, you will face failure in some form.  Like we have talked about here, your response is crucial to the outcome of the situation.  When you face failure, you must remember your goal and why you started.  Remember the skills you have and step back up to the plate.  You must RISE from the ashes of defeat.
  • Success isn’t the end goal.  Success is just a product of the work we put in.   At the end of the day, the goal is to become the best version of ourselves.  Never let a small success derail the greater goal.  Always strive to be your very best.   You have it in you, go find it and let it roar.  

Adversity: No Longer an Adversary

CS Lewis


“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I show you someone who has overcome adversity” – Lou Holtz 

As the final post in this three part series in leaving our comfort zone, I want to focus on something we will all face in our lives: Adversity.

To many people, life revolves around the same difficulties like a record spinning.  Each new day brings the same issues as the one before, which ultimately stops them dead in their tracks.  They can only focus on treating the issue they face, constantly focusing on their situation and adversities.  Today though, I want us to take those tough times and transform them into positive situations, full of energy and motivation.   I want us to no longer see adversity as an adversary, but as a catalyst for our success.

First, we need to understand that no matter what, we will face some kind of adversity.  Hardships will be part of our lives, but the main difference between success and failure is our response.  Far too often, we allow the hardship to take control of the situation and drive our stress levels far too high.  We must remember that most of the time, these situations work themselves out. They are only short term issues that we face and will not stay forever. Our best response is to pause our action, reassess our situation, and then respond with a strategy in mind.

Secondly, we have to view adversity as an opportunity to grow.  For most of the population, adversity is a hindrance, a deterrent to continue in the same direction.    For the highly successful, adversity is the chance for them to see just how good they really are.  These people do not fear adversity, but rather they openly welcome it.  The great part of this behavior is that it is transferable to everyone.   It doesn’t take super human courage or bravery to achieve this mindset.  It only takes you deciding to walk towards the struggle confidently, rather than walk away.   Failures and setbacks may come, but what is hard today, will come easier tomorrow.  

Lastly, we must continue to seek out to better develop ourselves.   One of the greatest aspects of adversity is that it pushes us to greater heights.  In our goals for personal success, we have to become a greater version of what we once were.  We must learn from our setbacks and failures.  We must seek out new challenges.  We must continually reflect on where we are and where we are going.   Adversity opens our eyes to where we need to focus efforts to become better.   Without adversity, we would never learn our strengths and weaknesses. We must view adversity as a benefit for our lives and strive to use adversity as a catalyst for our success.

Therefore, do not seek out an easy life free of adversity, but rather find the richness of life in overcoming adversity and growing into the person you were designed to be.