Did you know that the difference between the person who succeeds and the person who fails is that the one who succeeded, never stopped getting back up after being knocked down?

The one who succeeds also has awareness of what she can control and what she can’t. We have choices every single step of the way.

I was reminded of this yesterday because I got some sad news. I went for my 8th week check up at the obstetrician, and nothing. No heartbeat. I’ve been down this road before, so I knew what it meant.

I am lucky enough to have a beautiful baby already, yet it hardly dulls the heartache. I’m ok though, I cried, I’m sad but I know I will pull through.

Knockdowns happen all through our lives. They are like notches on our timeline. They take different shapes and forms and can affect any areas; or rather they can happen in any area, because whether it is work or personal, at the end of the day it is us, as individuals who are affected.

Our feelings, our emotions, our doubts, our questions, replaying scenarios, all of this keeping us awake at night or occupying our thoughts during the day, influencing our mood, our reactions and ultimately our results.

When you choose to become a leader, you expose yourself to a lot more sorrow than when you only manage yourself.

When you are in charge, when you are responsible for others, when results are your responsibility and when you might be called to make difficult decisions that impact others, you’ve got some tough times coming your way.

The rewards are worth it, but you must learn how to make it through the hardship. You need to be able to pull through and protect your emotional well-being. If you can’t handle stress and adversity then you will either not succeed as a leader or you will jeopardize your happiness, sanity and health.

The comparison might seem trivial. Miscarriage compared to work issues.

But when you’re the one facing the upset, no matter what it is, at that very moment it feels like the worst pain in the world.

And it’s even more than that; it’s the fact that how I do resilience right now is how I do resilience all the time. For smaller issues, different problems, any situation that knocks me down a little or a lot, I run the same strategy to get back up:

  1. Take the time to feel

First I pause and take time to know how I feel. I take note of it without judging, simply noticing.

If I feel like crying I give myself permission to. You need to be your own best friend. I didn’t always do that step and it wasn’t a healthy resilience.

Find some alone time (in your car or later at home) and let the feelings come to you. What are they? Anger? Disappointment? Sadness? Hurt? Incompetence? Fear? Acknowledge them.

  1. Look at the whole picture

Did you miss out on the promotion? Has a supplier let you down and “you” have stopped the line? Right now it feels like the end of the world especially if on top of that you stubbed your toe in the morning, broke your heel on the way to work, and spilled tomato sauce on your shirt.

I can promise you that this is not the whole picture.

I am not talking about having a positive outlook on the situation, although you are more than welcome to do that. It’s about getting some perspective.

After taking a narrow view of the current situation and how you feel about it, take a bird’s eye view and notice that right now in your life, while this sucks, not everything does.

Maybe you have a great partner, an adorable pet, child or great friends that you are catching up with soon, or some holidays coming up?

  1. Focus on the solution

Until someone creates a time machine, we can’t go back in the past, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still influence the future.

This is about the outcome you want, and focusing on how you are going to achieve it.

This is powerful for 3 reasons.

First no one has ever achieved anything by remaining angry, fearful or in tears. So while it’s good to acknowledge what’s going on in the feeling department, this helps you snap out of it if you were starting to feel too cozy in there.

It’s also a great way to move you towards the direction of achieving your goal and you don’t have to wait to hit a snag to do this.

And finally when everything seems to go out of shape, this gives you back some control by focusing on what you can actually do rather than dwelling on what you can’t change.

So feel it, look at the whole picture and start thinking about what you would like to achieve.

Imagine the alternative. Bottling up your emotions, focusing on everything that’s going wrong and that you can’t change. What sort of results would that give you?

As I said earlier, you have a choice every step of the way, the event itself is not what matters; what you make it mean and what happens next is what makes all the difference, and that is all up to you.

Nathalie Gevinti helps first time managers become inspiring leaders. As part of her work she has developed a mentoring program specifically for emergent women leaders. She guides them to utilise their strengths and develop their confidence so they can become inspiring leaders, empowered women and achieve high performance.