Everyone has been through difficult times; events that test their character, their beliefs, their emotional and physical strength. They can be significant once-in-a-lifetime events, or they might simply be the challenges of everyday life. Some have a positive outcome, like a job search, and others, like the loss of a loved one, have saddening or infuriating outcomes.
But there is always life after these challenges. Things move on and you manage, avoid, or adapt to the consequences. This is the essence of the first tenant in the SurTHRIVE model, which stands for Tested. To be tested is to have experienced significant trials like these and come out on the other wide with a greater understanding of yourself and your work.
The term “tested” may not be everyone’s go-to self-descriptor, but think of being tested as a crucial part of a more powerful quality: being experienced. For example, in any leadership position, you’re expected to handle the unforeseen challenges unique to that job because, well, you’ve probably come across that particular problem or something like it before. Problem solving when things go wrong is exactly what good leaders are expected to do, and their credibility and authority within the field grows by applying prior knowledge to present challenges.
Gaining this knowledge boils down to critical reflection. Critical reflection is not just recognizing the outcomes of a trial, but an analysis of its entire timeline, beginning to end. Capturing a full reflection requires you to consider:
- The factors leading up the challenge, and whether or not they were in your power
- The specific actions and behaviors of everyone involved, and whether the situation improved or not in response to them
- Weighing the outcome of the challenge, whether you expected it or not, and how it will affect the future.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we’re prepared or experienced, new difficulties won’t stop walking through the door. It’s just the reality. No matter their severity or purpose, though, know that we’ll only continue to see them as roadblocks until we start seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow instead—that is the truest sign of being Tested.
Next week, we’ll talk about the second THRIVE element, Hope, and how hopefulness fits with being tested within SurTHRIVELeadership.