It was a blustery winter day in December of 2015 and the voice on the other end of the phone was distraught with an avalanche of emotion- sadness, despair and devastation. It was 3 days before Christmas and my 24 year old daughter had experienced two adverse major life events in rapid succession and was inconsolable.
As a mom, it is difficult to describe the feelings of helplessness. My normally solid, determined, strong willed daughter was being challenged with life events beyond her control and was understandably devastated.
As I write this, I can recall thinking what do I even say here… how can I respond in any way that would bring any measure of comfort at a time when I knew she desperately needed it.
Fast forward. She grieved and took time to tend to herself physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally – in every way. And day by day, little by little, began to search deeply to rediscover the beauty of who she really is and what her passions are and what she wanted to pursue.
And then her decision to move into the realm of the MMA world came with its own set of highs and lows… some really low lows. And somehow, she exemplified resiliency and persevered through those very difficult days.
It’s not that those who persevere never have any doubts. I believe those that persevere share the following characteristics that allow them to experience triumph over trials.
1. They recognize adversity as a temporary condition. When we are experiencing painful events or difficult trials, it can seem like it’s going to feel challenging or difficult forever. Those that persevere know that more often than not, their challenging chapter is temporary. When one remembers this, it can help keep the event or experience in a better perspective.
2. They look for what they have control over. While we know that there will always be elements and events to our lives that we cannot control, more often then not there are also aspects to our situation we can control. Identify those and pour your energy there.
3. They tap into and listen to their inner wisdom. That saying “ I have a gut feeling about that” is meaningful because it is now backed by scientific research. We now know of the incredible gut-brain connection and communication that occurs in the human body. So when your body, and especially your gut is trying to tell you something, slow down, get quiet, and listen. Your body will give you many useful clues if you will simply pay attention.
4. They stay focused on what they want and need-their ideal outcomes. Knowing what you want out of a situation, and what you need is essential so that you can make intentional choices that are in alignment with your desired outcome. It does not mean your outcomes will manifest, however it does give you a road map to guide your path forward.
5. They do not lose hope of how things could be in the future. It is imperative to visualize what you want or hope for moving forward. Additionally, it is important to be open and curious about what that might look like while maintaining a hopeful outlook. When we visualize what we want over and over, we are retraining our brain- our mindset to move towards what we want.
6. They know perseverence is an internal and external exercise. Our internal thoughts matter, as we either get mired down with negative or hopeless thoughts, or we shift our thoughts to what is accurate and beneficial. Additionally, those that persevere rarely do it alone; rather they reach out for safe trusted friends or family to be on the journey with them. We all need support in our journey and especially during the times we are navigating rough waters.
7. They live in such a way as to prevent regrets. People who are intentional about their life are able to think into the future and then bring themselves back to the present. They have the ability to recognize that their choices, perspectives, attitudes, and mindset all matter now and will have a profound effect on their future. They strive to make choices that will allow them to experience life- even if that includes setbacks and failures -so they won’t have to live with regrets later on.
8. They engage in and maintain great self care even in hard times. By engaging in eating healthier foods, leaning into safe supportive people, practicing spiritual habits and exercising your faith as well as getting adequate sleep, all lead to better brain reserve. While we are all born with a certain amount of brain reserve, it gets depleted during challenging stressful times. The more you engage in healthy habits, the more you build back your reserves.
9. They know when it is time to seek out professional help when needed. While many of us keep trying to pull ourselves up by our boot straps,( a message I got growing up), we now know so much more about mental / emotional health. Sometimes the best decision is the one to bring in a professional who can help you with new ways of thinking, processing, and coping. A good mental health professional is able to guide you and help you become more resilient by providing new tools for healing as well as teaching resilience skills that when you practice, become habits.
There is no guarantee that you will be one that perseveres and overcomes adversity easily. We either learned perseverance habits and traits from the people we grew up around, or we learned the opposite. If we saw people blame, behave chronically angry, and take no ownership, it can make it feel much harder to bounce back from adversity.
Conversely, if you saw people around you take ownership; taking control of what they could in difficult circumstances than you more likely have some good resilience perseverance skills built in that you can tap into.
Either way, perseverance skills can be learned and practiced. The more you practice the above suggestions regularly, the more likely that you will be better equipped when real adversity strikes.
Whether you are a professional fighter like my daughter Lorren who has persevered through some difficult life trials, whether your moments of adversity have arisen from your own choices or life’s curve balls, it is never too late to begin practicing perseverance habits that can create the skills that help you overcome the tough stuff.
Lorren has taken the ability to persevere to the next level. Not surprising to me as her mom. She always was a driven overcomer.
For those of you who want to follow Lorren’s Pro fight journey, you can follow her on Instagram @lorrendullum, on Tik Tok, @lorrowdy, or on FB, Lorren “Lorrowdy” Dullum.