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Strategic Discipline Blog

How to Defeat Adversity & Achieve Your Goals

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Mar 1, 2021

Four human footprints in rippled sand, all heading toward you, near sunset2020 was a challenge. For many 2021 hasn’t been any easier.

How you handle adversity reveals a great deal. As you learn in this blog, preparing for adversity, is critical to achieving your goals.

Recently in reading Joel Osteen’s book The Power of I AM I found a story about Rachel Smith a Miss USA and Miss Universe Contestant who faced adversity yet responded admirably.

Most of us didn’t have to face the kind of public humiliation and embarrassment Rachel did.


In 2007 Rachel Smith won the Miss USA beauty pageant. She then competed in the Miss Universe pageant. As she walked out on stage during the evening gown competition, with millions of people watching around the world, and on live television, she lost her footing and fell flat on her backside. Embarrassed, she got up quickly, put a smile back on her face.


The video isn’t the best quality; however, did you see how quickly she got back up and smiled?

Her ordeal wasn’t over! The audience wasn’t forgiving. There were jeers, laughter, and boos. Despite the fall, she made it into the top five of the competition. Next she had to answer a question randomly chosen by the judges.

Watch as judge, Tony Romo picks her question.

Her question, “If you could relive any moment of your life over again and do it differently, what moment would that be?” Her most embarrassing moment was just twenty minutes earlier. How many of us would say, “I want to redo that.”?

Her answer, “If I could relive any moment of my life again, I would relive my trip to Africa, working with the orphans, seeing their beautiful smiles, feeling their warm embraces.”

Instead of reliving a moment of pain, a moment of embarrassment, she chose to relive a moment of joy, a moment when she was making a difference, when she was proud of herself. All this despite the jeers and boos of the crowd!

How many of us have the resilience to do the same? How many of us have been disappointed, frustrated, and despairing this past year, without the additional burden of an audience reminding us of our mistake, and rooting for us to fail?

HOW TO BE RESILIENTstockdale-paradox2

Many of you know I went through a difficult period in 2012 when I discovered I had AML. Throughout my journey one source of inspiration was the Stockdale Paradox. What the Stockdale Paradox doesn’t reveal is how to become resilient.

Being resilient doesn’t suddenly come to you. It’s the result of facing difficulties, struggles, challenging situations, and prevailing. It’s one reason why former athletes, regardless of their status, often succeed in business and life. They know the rigors, training, and discipline required to succeed. They have faced failure.

You probably know of an athlete, a natural when he very young, yet when he grew older competition caught up. He or she’s failure to train, practice, and do the necessary disciplines to achieve their success, fail because these internal resources aren’t available to them. Everything had come too easily for them early on. They peaked to early! With no adversity early, when it came later, they were unprepared or unwilling to do what it required to continue to achieve.

The people you see how survive, even thrive in the face of adversity, have chosen to be disciplined previously. Their mettle has been formed in the face of previous adversity, either practiced, endured, or prepared for with mental and physical training.

It’s a lesson Emily Balcetis, PHD associate professor of psychology at New York University, author of Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See The World shared in Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up Summit this past Wednesday.

She outlined this 3-step formula to Setting Better Goals:

  1. Think Big Picture
  2. Form A Concrete Plan
  3. Foreshadow Failure

For this blog I’m going to focus on the last principle: Foreshadow Failure.

Charlie Munger not be stupidCharlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett; Buffett spends inordinate amount of time reading, discovering where others plans, and forecasts went wrong. Why? To prevent him from making the same errors and suppositions others have.

Prepare for Every Possibility

Balcetis shared Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and how he practiced for his goggles to fail. Dr David Grier explains the principle in What we can learn from swimming star Michael Phelps about being prepared and this video:

“I’ve always tried to find ways to give him adversity in either meets or practice and have him overcome it,” Bob Bowman, Phelps’ swim coach said. Discover more about this goal achieving method here: PHELPS, VISUALIZATION, AND THE SUCCESSFUL MANAGER

Want to set better Priorities for your business? Contact us today to schedule a free exploratory meeting to get started now!

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Disciplined People Thought Action Chapter06-01-1To build an enduring great organization, requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, to produce superior results, and make a distinctive impact in the world

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics and Meeting Rhythms.  3 Disciplines of Execution (Strategic Discipline)-2 Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

priority-stamp-resized-600NEXT BLOG – Priority Lesson

Monty Moran, former co-CEO of Chipotle, author, Love Is Free. Guac is Extra, provided an engaging, and enthusiastic advice on how to set priorities. He crystalized what your people want. That’s next blog.

Topics: Goal Achievment, Adversity, Resilience

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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