The Adversity Advantage: Turn Your Childhood Hardship Into Career and Life Success
As an adult you go to work, form relationships, and accomplish tasks on a daily basis. You probably have many successes and also issues that are constantly irritating or downright problematic for you. You may have work distress that keeps you awake at night ruminating about a possible solution.
Often we look for answers and blame others for the distress, but I believe that the answers to your work problems are within you. I recently completed a scientific study of over 300 men and women about factors that lead to success. They were very clear on the attitudes and behaviors that led to their achievements. What surprised me is that 40% of the successful people I studied experienced childhood abuse, witnessed domestic violence, or had an alcoholic parent. When I include other categories, such as poverty, death of a family member, and family mental illness, the number experiencing serious childhood troubles is 60%.
In my book, The Adversity Advantage, I describe the negative impact of childhood hardship, but also the positive impact the ‘hard won’ survival skills can have on your work style and work relationships.
Survivors of childhood troubles often describe experiencing:
- Anger management issues
- Poor communication skills
- Lower self-esteem
- Misuse of alcohol and drugs
These problems required them to become students of life. For instance, they did not learn how to communicate well or use conflict negotiation skills at home, therefore, had to learn them as an adult. They also became life long learners and self-disciplined to combat their understandable anxiety, depression, or avoidant behaviors such as overusing alcohol or drugs.
However, there were many other positive outcomes from survival skills learned to overcome childhood problems. When I asked the high achievers I studied the sensitive question of whether there were any positive qualities that resulted from early childhood problems that helped them at work, they reported:
- Pride of surviving
- Commitment to their families
- Commitment to lead a value-driven life
I am sure it is easy for you to understand how these skills could translate into success at work. The people described in The Adversity Advantage also had a self-reflection about themselves and their relationships with others that was helpful in building relationships at work. My guess is that if you survived childhood problems, you have some of these attributes that you possibly have not even acknowledged to yourself. The path for each of you to recognize and heal from childhood hardship is unique.
The Adversity Advantage, through assessments and the heartfelt stories of real people, help you understand your own experiences in a new light and identify obstacles to feeling comfortable and happy at work and at home. The people in this book provide clear and actionable advice on how to channel your family hardships into work and life success. The Journey Chart in the appendix of the book clearly outlines the pathway from childhood hardships to recovery.