201. Strength comes from within.

Earlier this week I met with the CEO of a local, high profile company, a leader in its industry and a shining example of business success.

I heard first-hand what it takes to survive and prosper in this, the deepest and longest lasting recession in Alberta’s history.

He shared with me how he has had to make difficult and painful decisions to keep his business on a survival path and how he has taught himself the necessity of saying no when his previous inclination would have been a willing yes.

He explained he has learned a great deal about his own resilience, strength and determination while witnessing his company’s revenue slide to where it is barely at 30% of what he had come to view as normal.

Then he told me what he has come to believe to be the most powerful lesson of all. These challenges have taught him the future success of his company and the long term security he wishes to provide for his staff rest solely on his ability to manage the thoughts in his head.

He has learned that, notwithstanding the ongoing barrage of negative information regarding the economy, the state of the market and the grim view of the future, his ability to stay strong and focus on what he can do, rather than on what is being done to him by circumstances beyond his control, has played, and will continue to play a greater role in ensuring the future prosperity of his company than all the cost cutting measures and survival strategies combined.

By fighting daily to make The Habit of Staying Strong a driving force in his life he has managed to pierce the walls of negativity and despair that have enveloped many of his colleagues.

He has come to understand that the only opinion of him that matters is his and that the loss of financial status or material objects should play no role in how we view ourselves.

He has programmed his phone to buzz every hour and takes a few moments each time to check the thoughts going through his head and the feelings in his body and to do whatever is necessary to change them and chase away any hint of fear, concern or anxiety that tough times often bring out in all of us.

And every chance he gets, he sells the message of The Habit of Staying Strong to anyone who will listen.

This experience has taught him that it really doesn’t matter which cards we are dealt. What does matter however is how we play each hand. What he has learned is how big a role our emotions play in determining how each hand will unfold.

The Habit of Staying Strong it is not a recommendation. It is a requirement. Without it we run the risk of changing the lens through which we see ourselves and when we change that lens, everything changes.

To him, this is not an exercise in mental toughness but rather a way of life necessary if our long-term dreams, goals and aspirations are not to be thwarted by short-term barriers and setbacks.

I had to agree with every word he said for I believe with every fibre of my being that The Habit of Staying Strong is the differentiator between those who fall and those remained standing.

Please let me know what you think.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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