How Personal Challenges Motivate Success: A Guest Post from Sara Parrish

Going through life we sometimes run into road blocks, challenges and uninvited detours. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce, and serious illness are just the beginning of a long line of challenges that distract us from our career goals. These challenges can, and often do, create upheavals in our personal and professional life. As we build our image becoming spouses, parents, college graduates, and home owners, it is easy to let “things” define who we are instead of our talents. Our true nature as leaders can never be taken away. Natural leaders don’t sit on the sidelines long. They are naturally driven and motivated to get back in the game.

“Sara has been working in Telecom for the last 15 years. She holds a BA in Communications and Public Relations and an MBA in Global Management. She is extremely active in her community volunteering for HIV/AIDS, Hospice, American Lung Association, and Domestic Violence. She is a Leader Athlete and loves snowboarding, scuba diving and other outdoor adventures.”

We grow up with the images of happily ever after all around us. In most of the world’s greatest and most memorable stories there are some common factors:

  • There is always a hero
  • The hero is on a journey
  • The hero meets the villain
  • The hero overcomes the villain

These commonalities play out many times throughout our lives, as we are the hero of our journey. The “villain” encountered is often uncertainty, change, and unwillingness to be flexible. How we prepare and react to major life changing events and challenges determines our long-term potential for success. Detaching from the things that we can’t control and focusing on the things we can, help minimize the impact of negative cycles in our lives. As people sometimes say, “the times change and we change with them”.

I have been inspired by the role model of my father, who grew up underprivileged, and despite the obstacles and challenges went on to be a very successful executive. His story has led me to pay close attention to other success stories despite the obstacles and to look for patterns from which to learn and teach.

Some Role Models

One thing the following people have in common is they all encountered tremendous challenges and turned their unfortunate circumstances into true success stories.

Neale Donald Walsh (short video on facing fear) Neil went through years of hardships including divorce and a horrible car accident that left him homeless and unemployed. He lived in a tent city gathering cans to pay for his next meal. He later landed on the international best seller list with, Conversations with God. He openly discusses with audiences how he was inspired to write the series during his darkest days.

Wayne Dyer(short video on changing from within) Dr. Dyer started life off in an orphanage and is a fine example of a self-made man. He regularly talks about how events in his life motivated him to live to his full potential. Dr. Dyer teaches the importance of positive thinking to overcome challenges in life.

Louise Hay  (short video on positive affirmations) was diagnosed with cervical cancer and claims that treatment through self-forgiveness and combined therapies cured her. She is the successful author of “You Can Heal Your Life” and created Hay House publishing.

Having a small amount of ongoing stress keeps one focused and alert to subtle changes in the environment, allowing smarter and more creative reactions. In environments completely absent of stress it is easy to become unmotivated and complacent. We must avoid the temptation to feel defeated after a fail and try again. The key is understanding our limits, not embracing them.

How do life challenges affect your work life balance and what do you do to overcome them?