Transforming Trial into Triumph

March 25, 2013

You will face trials in your life. Notice I didn’t say “may” or “could,” but “will.” You will be tested, emotionally and spiritually. You will question the world, your choices and yourself. Whether you are ready to believe it or not, these things are all gifts.

Like the brightest metals and gems, you will discover your radiant light by polishing your perseverance. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Trials are part of living in this world and, I believe, sometimes just the nudge we need to grow in character. For it is through trials that we test, define and expand our character. Like a muscle, perseverance takes flexing.

Now, knowing there will be trials does not mean that we have to apathetically face illness, loss or change. Constructive trials, while they may not appear so at the time, provide a “moment of impact” when we are acutely awake to what we want, deserve and desire to be. That’s where the gifts come in—clarity of values, shaking off complacency and a deep passion to discover your true purpose, to name a few.

At first, you may see a trial as a hurdle, a wall or a fog. That’s alright. Here are a few suggestions for transforming trial into triumph:

  1. Lean into the emotion, journal about it, and look to friends or a group for support (there is no shame in needing help . . . we all do)
  2. Shift your focus toward all that you have to offer this world (your talents, your dreams, your spiritual gifts and your light)
  3. Any time a negative, bitter or doubting thought enters, swap it for gratitude (you have the ability to steer your perspective from degrading to upgrading)
  4. Stay active in productive tasks, like resume updates, networking, reading about new opportunities, working out (even the smallest steps can be celebrated)
  5. Give to others (volunteering and acts of kindness enrich your confidence, sense of worth and optimism as much as they do the people you help)
  6. As the emotion settles, revisit the trial to recognize the blessings in it (list the ways it frees you and motivates you)
  7. Share your story of triumph with others, using positive language and values that reflect your new outlook (it will solidify it in your mind and, perhaps, spark others)

If you just thought to yourself, “That sounds great for someone else, but I can’t just let go of my trial.” then it’s time to have a tough conversation with yourself. It may feel easier to secretly hold onto the trial than to work at transforming your life from within. It’s actually not. Imagine trying to hold back the flood of a waterfall with a sieve.

Taken while hiking just outside Portland, OR

When you surrender to that which you cannot change and let the positive transformation wash over you, it can be as refreshing and invigorating as this waterfall. Having hope and embracing change can move you from self-pity to self-confidence and your journey from worry to wonder. A fresh start awaits you.

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