When I wrote my memoir, “Driving Straight on Crooked Lines: How an Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind” I decided to share my own personal journey and the special circumstances that helped shape who I am today. One of the themes relates to learning to turn adversity into an advantage. I had to learn from my mistakes, getting in touch with my heart and my emotions, and follow the principle that it’s” better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Managers and leaders have to face difficult situations all the time. I learned that it is essential to be able to rely on a series of well articulated principles when faced with adversity. These are principles that I was able to think about and develop which served me in good stead in times of adversity. I think the process is akin to learning to drive an automobile on quiet roads before venturing out into traffic. Learn to drive straight first, then you can adapt to crooked roads.
When you are faced with an adverse situation, you need to know what principles to fall back on. To do this, you need to be able to articulate them and incorporate them into your life and leadership style. Being in touch with your principles will do wonders for your self-confidence which, in turn will make you a much more inspiring and effective leader. Humility and resilience are two qualities you need to cultivate. Knowing your values and principles will help you.
Here are some principles, in no particular order, which I believe in. You can think about them and make some of them your own, so that when the time comes they can help you turn adversity to your advantage.
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