Jim Williams
May 15, 2024

One of the fundamental elements of the Getting Thru Mindset is Belief. Belief forged in faith.

When I speak to people who have gotten thru the biggest challenges that life has to offer, they almost always talk about belief. Those who get thru tend to have faith, which fuels that belief. My perspective is that being religious isn’t the only way to have faith-based belief. I have found it to certainly help but it’s not the only way to develop belief.

The broadest definition of belief is that it is indeed an opinion. It’s the opinion that something is true or real. They come from a person’s own experience. This experience helps feed conviction and your conviction is what drives you to be right.

What I have found to be the key in developing belief in yourself is that you can be, right. I watched my son Kyle model this during his battle with cancer. He believed with all his heart that he was in Jesus’ hands. These were the hands that were guiding him, feeding him his truth. It was that truth that inspired me. Inspired me to re-engage with my faith in Jesus. My faith had been tested, so much so that I was angry, that God allowed this to happen. Maybe for some of you reading this you may have experienced something similar. Blaming something, someone is a very reasonable reaction when you are trying to get thru challenges, especially one that you didn’t bring on yourself.

I sincerely hope that your belief isn’t tested in the way mine was. Seeing a loved one go thru that kind of suffering is a tragedy I would not wish on anyone. This is what drove me to blame, blame something, someone for this tragedy. I will say that my first step in getting thru was to stop doing that, stop blaming. I had to acknowledge the situation I found myself in and own it. Accept it for what it was. It was only in that ownership that I could embrace the steps I would need to take to get thru.

You may be asking how can you “own” a situation that you had nothing to do with creating? I must admit it’s difficult. It was difficult with Kyle’s illness; it’s been difficult in other personal and professional experiences I have had in my life. However, when you do get to ownership it is incredibly liberating. There are books written on this topic and leadership guru’s and thinkers who have made a name for themselves around the idea and power of ownership. Extreme Ownership is a phrase many have come to know as it’s been made famous by Jocko Willink in his book of that name and the context how U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win. Now, I have nothing but respect for the commitment, training and discipline it takes to be a Navy Seal. I have to imagine that becoming one is harder than accomplishing just about anything. You are talking about the best of the best, with the intestinal fortitude to win in the field of war. Seeing and experiencing things I could not possibly imagine. I also realize that they are, not typical. They are indeed unique.

So how do us “normal” people embrace ownership? It starts with who looks back at you in the mirror. In my professional life I have found myself leading business turnarounds and/or transformations over the last 15 or so years. They always seem to start with the same story, poor performing business, disengaged team, cultural dynamics in flux, lack of alignment of what good looks like. This all leads to leadership change. It’s often the case that things are not quite as bad as they seem. As I like to share with teams I take over in this circumstance; Its highly likely you are doing more right than wrong, more good than bad. Its amazing how those simple words change the “mood music”. Give those who are literally waiting for the other shoe to drop some much-needed confidence. I ask them to go home, look in the mirror and ask themselves if this person looking back at them “owns” the current situation they/we find ourselves in? Once the answer is YES, we can work on developing the solutions to our challenges and through those solutions create the outcomes we are looking for.

In closing I would share that it often doesn’t take just one “mirror conversation” to get back to belief. There are many that must happen. Often, you will need someone, maybe more than just one that helps you get comfortable with what is looking back at you in those mirror conversations. My one word of advice is to give yourself some grace. It’s been often, after a major challenge or difficulty that I have struggled with that. You have to give yourself the empathy you need and frankly deserve. Talk more about that topic in the upcoming “empathy” blog.

Here is to…Getting Thru