Time to Read: 7-10 minutes

We all have those times at work that are “the worst”. Nothing seems to go right, you go down a rabbit-hole that leads to another one, no one is willing to accept ownership, and long hours. Long hours that take away from your personal self, relax time, and time with your family. You don’t know where the day begins, what happened in between, and where it ended; you were just somewhere lost in that shit storm of the day. We all have it and can relate to, some more than others. But the silver lining in all of this, all of this confusion, fumbling and jumbling, lowly time, and misery is that it makes us stronger if we don’t let it break us, if we embrace it. We, as humans, generally have always became stronger not from the good times – we celebrate in those – but in the misery. This is where the human spirit is grown and developed. We strive to survive, to get out of it, to get past it by ourselves and with others. Think about a time at work or your personal life where it was just a miserable situation or event. Did you let it defeat you or did you embrace it and have an elite response to make the best outcome possible?

I can remember starting my current job – I was inexperienced and a rookie. I was thrown to the wolves on project after project only to my defeat because I didn’t know what data to look for or how to report it. I had no leadership to rely upon and it was a pretty miserable time with meeting after meeting I had, I was told by doctors and executives that the data was wrong and pretty much had nothing to present to them. I relished in this time. I took it all in as experience, development of myself. I kept the same behavior throughout – always be honest and work your ass off to get better. After about a year, that miserable time became not so miserable. I started to thrive; I understood what I was talking about and was giving insight and direction to the doctors and executives that I had failed before. I developed the job skills on my own since I wasn’t given leadership to build those, but there was always one thing I could rely on during the misery – my behavior. It was unwavering, unchangeable, rock steady. I took my defeats and failures and learned from them. Learned what I wasn’t good at and made myself better in it. I knew where my deficiencies were and had to make them not deficient, even make one into strength.

My behavior was key. I had the patience to learn in the misery of failing, of being told I was poor at my job, not being the best I wanted to be. I had the discipline to keep working and not let it defeat me, to keep on coming back for more. I learned from the misery and made sure I would get out of it, to never let myself fall back into it. From then on, I was always hungry, to stay ahead of the game, and out work everyone else. The misery enriched my human spirit that was so weak when I started. Now I wanted to win, to outperform, to take things to the next level.

But what if you already don’t have the behavior already to stay disciplined, to be patient, and hungry to “embrace the suck”. What can you do? Choose one and do it. It’s not a game of strategizing which one will help you out the most, all of them will help you stay disciplined in times of misery. They all lead you to the same end, to creating an elite behavior. Self-talk with yourself and figure out what your scapegoat is and why. Why do you have or not have the discipline to do the work day-in and day-out? Or why are you inspired or not inspired to get out of your misery? I ask myself these questions still to this day when I get into the suck and misery. I have to remind myself to stay disciplined which will drive my outcomes and that I am inspired to never let the misery engulf me, to always get out of it. We are more powerful and capable than we think – the human spirit has shown this time and time again in different people and events in history. It is engrained in our DNA for us to strive to get out of misery. Sometimes we can do this ourselves and other times, we have need our “tribes” to help us. The thriving of the human spirit during times like this is something that is on both a personal and group-based level.

Think of a big project or timeline you and your team had. Same story as before but now in a group setting. You all worked hard, relied on each other, and at the end of the day, a bond was made. The bond came from the misery – it is a shared experience with your team. No one else understands your team’s experience and how it happened expect for you all. That is the bond, and the bond creates trust. The team keeps you accountable, a support system – you are not doing it just for yourself, but for them also, to not let them down. In addition to your standard, you have the team’s standard. During this time, the true leaders will become apparent to the team. Are you the one to lead with an elite mindset and example?

The misery and suck are events that can be life altering depending on the magnitude of it, but also on what our behavior is during it. If we come in with an elite mindset and behaviors, we can defeat the misery; if not, the misery will defeat us. We must make the decision on which path we will take, but must look within for the answer.


Key Points:

  • The human spirit surfaces in times of misery
  • We can relish and overcome if we have the behavior to be elite
  • Our behavior drives the results
  • If you do not have the elite behaviors already, figure out what your scapegoats are and why
  • Once you figure those out, be disciplined and don’t let them be your normal behaviors anymore
  • Teams are essential in times of misery for a support system
  • Teams who work through the misery create a bond
  • If in a miserable event, keeping the elite behavior creates the best outcomes along with the bond of comradery and trust