Facing death. Heartbreak. Business struggles. No one wants to have to go through hard times – any kind of hard times – from staring death in the face to hearing business crickets because you can’t find your business mojo. It feels like a punishment. Something to be gotten through and never repeated. Hard times and adversity definitely don’t feel like they have a bright side or a silver lining.
Trust me, I get it! When I was 20 weeks pregnant with my second (and last) child my doctor told me something most women never hear: you have placenta accreta. What is placenta accreta? It is when the placenta forms an abnormally deep attachment to the uterus. It can even grow outside of the uterus and around other organs. Placenta accreta is a potentially fatal condition. My doctor gave me a 1 in 20 chance of dying. So I had to make preparations for what I wanted done if I was on life support. I updated my will in case I died. And I recorded videos and created gifts for my daughter and my unborn son in case I didn’t make it through the delivery.
But I did! Unbelievably. After months of tears and dread and preparing for the worst I made it through. My baby was healthy and happy! But I was changed. I didn’t take any second of life for granted anymore. Every moment was a gift. I wanted to live life so much more intentionally.
I wanted to pack every moment full of memories and laughter, and I wanted to help other women do the same. And I discovered that I was stronger. Tougher.
So, yes, sunshine really does follow the rain! It’s true. And I’m very passionate about this topic. But since any mention of hard times or adversity tends to darken our moods a bit I thought we could have some fun and look at five times popular songs got it right when they mention positive things happening as a result of adversity.
Are you ready?!
- “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” ~ Kelly Clarkson in “Stronger”
This is the best known example! I hear so many mums quoting this to their kids. It has kind of become a household phrase since the song’s release in 2011. It is of course a breakup song, as so many good pop songs are. But really the theme applies to any kind of heartbreak, like a miscarriage or loss of a loved one. Or even the loss of a longed-for opportunity.
One of the verses in the song goes,
“Thanks to you I got a new thing started
Thanks to you I’m not the broken-hearted
Thanks to you I’m finally thinking ’bout me
You know in the end the day you left was just my beginning.”
And, really, the end of an opportunity or a relationship CAN be the start of a brand new thing – a brand new chapter in our lives! No matter how devastatingly painful it is at the time. Because we learn from every experience we go through.
Each person and event in our lives changes us just a little. And a traumatic event throws that change into overdrive. Once we start to come through our traumatic event, whether that is facing our own potential death or a bitter and untrue accusation, we will notice that we have a new perspective on life. We see things differently. Place value on different things. And appreciate each moment of life more!
We will finally start thinking about the things that really matter to us and look for ways to craft our lives to be full of the people and experiences we love the most. And we will definitely end up stronger. Just like working out our physical muscles will make us physically stronger, being forced to work out our mental and emotional muscles makes us mentally and emotionally stronger.
2. “I’m a Survivor,” ~ Destiny’s Child in “Survivor”
Have you heard that song by Destiny’s Child called “Survivor”? It’s a great motivational song! The refrain goes like this:
“I’m a survivor (what), I’m not gon’ give up (what)
I’m not gon’ stop (what), I’m gon’ work harder (what)
I’m a survivor (what), I’m gonna make it (what)
I will survive (what), keep on survivin’ (what)”
The whole song talks all about turning your life around after a breakup (of course!) and continuing to reach for what YOU want, no matter how hard and no matter how many people or things try to stop you. This is perseverance! The guts to stick up for yourself and keep moving towards what it is that you really want.
Perseverance. Grit. “Stick-to-it-iveness”. It’s like a muscle. It has to be used and exercised for it to develop and actually help you go further and faster. Because it’s easy to quit. It’s easy to say, “enough is enough!” It’s easy to just give in. But perseverance helps you move past what is easy and on to what it is that you really want – that big and beautiful goal that you long for deep down in your heart.
One of the “gifts” that hard times give to us is a well developed perseverance muscle.
3. “You held me down, but I got up,” ~ Katy Perry in “Roar”
Katy Perry might not be everyones everyday go-to artist to listen to, but her song “Roar” perfectly describes the next “gift” that adversity gives us: confidence.
How? Well, once you have seen just how strong you are through your ability to persevere through your challenges and difficulties, you are confident in your ability to accomplish things! You know that you can get through the scheduling challenges, the “not enough time” challenges, and the self-doubt challenges that will pop up when you start working towards a big goal because you have done it before! (Another side benefit of the confidence that comes with persevering through adversity is that your self-doubt starts to decrease a little.)
Just like you know your own strength and are confident in it when you workout regularly, working out your perseverance muscle gives you confidence in your ability to achieve your next goal!
4. “Makes me work a little bit harder, It makes me that much wiser,” ~ Christina Aguilera in “Fighter”
Adversity teaches us more than just how to persevere! It teaches us what our triggers are during stress. We learn coping and de-stressing routines. We learn about our weaknesses. And we learn what works and what doesn’t on our way to reach a goal or get through a difficulty. Sometimes we even learn that we’d really rather never do certain things again.
Adversity is the quintessential school of hard knocks. And while we try to never choose to go to that school, sometimes it’s unavoidable. While adversity isn’t fun at all, it does leave us with the gift of wisdom. Which means we can live the rest of our life more fully, more beautifully, and more intentionally (if we use that wisdom, of course).
5. “I just want to live while I’m alive,” ~ Bon Jovi in “It’s My Life”
It’s so easy to skate by just enjoying the easiness of life. We get lulled into thinking that the path we have stumbled upon – the rut that we are in – is truly the best, happiest, and only way to go through life. And we don’t try for anything else!
But adversity shakes us awake from being satisfied with the status quo. It makes us long for LIFE! Life that is filled to the fullest. And life that is lived intentionally.
The most thought-of examples of adversity waking you up and making you live life with renewed zest is the near death experience, of course. But there are other types of hard, shocking, and challenging experiences that give you that same longing for a more intentional life. Like after you have suffered through an intense illness. Or when you go through challenges at work. A job loss or a big (perceived) failure can make you really re-evaluate your life and long for something more than the status quo. After you have gotten over the feeling-like-a-failure part. And please don’t feel like a failure! There are no failures. Just needed life lessons.
Whatever your struggle is – from waking up 10 times a night with the teething baby to looking death in the face – just know that you will get through this in time. You will persevere. You will come out the other side with clarity, wisdom, strength, and perseverance that you never had before. And you WILL make a difference through a more intentional life!
P.S. If you long to live a more intentional life while STILL running and growing your business, I can make that possible for you right now. If you are interested, you can check out some of the ways I can serve you here. And just know that I am always here for you.