How Do You Bounce Back From Adversity?

Have you ever had times when you lost a big customer? When you had a major quality problem that caused an issue with a customer? When you lost a key employee? When your children disappointed you?

We all have times in our personal or professional life when things seem to be working against us. How do you react and carry yourself when things like this happen?

The way you bounce back from these times are extremely important to team dynamics and future performance. The people within your sphere of influence will feed off of your positive outlook or will be dragged down by your negative energy in these situations.

Are you like a tennis ball, or a ball of clay when bouncing back from tough and challenging times? A tennis ball bounces right back when thrown to the ground, whereas the clay will just splat on the ground.

Servant leaders are like tennis balls! They recognize that their demeanor will dictate how the rest of the team bounces back. Knowing they don’t want the team focused on the negative, but instead on a positive way forward they are intentional about not staying down long.

Ways to Bounce Back:

  • Focus on things you can control. Lately, I have heard many people mention that the price of oil being down is having an extremely negative impact on their business. That very well may be true, but there is probably not one thing you are going to do to change oil prices. So instead of being down about something that you can’t control, work with the things you can and make a positive difference in a challenging market.
  • Believe that failures are not a breakdown, but instead an opportunity for a breakthrough. Post-It notes were developed by accident in a failed experiment. Keeping an attitude of learning when you are in challenging times will keep your spirits up.
  • Get Jesus into your plans. Change from your plan to His plan! In Luke Chapter 5 we read about some disciples fishing all night without catching any fish. They were professional fishermen. They were extremely disappointed. Jesus then told them later to drop down their nets. They followed his plan and caught more fish than they could handle!
  • Take direction from Jesus’ promises. It will change your thinking and alter your priorities. James 1:2-4 says:

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Staying focused on these areas will lift you up in challenging times. Lifting yourself up will lift others up. It is your role as a servant leader!

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Luke 5:5-6


Mark W. Deterding
Mark W. Deterding
MARK Deterding is an author, speaker, consultant, executive coach and the founder of Triune Leadership Services, LLC. His purpose is to work with leaders to help them develop core servant leadership capabilities that allow them to lead at a higher level and enable them to achieve their God-given potential. He has written two books, A Model of Servant Leadership, and Leading Jesus’ Way. With over three decades of experience directing companies and developing leaders, Mark created A Model of Servant Leadership parallel to the principles that Jesus himself illustrated. Working with organizations, leadership teams, and executives one-on-one, he helps bring focus, clarity, and action to make things work. He also conducts training programs to teach faith-based servant leadership principles. His greatest passion is seeing the impact servant leadership has on people’s lives and beyond. Prior to Triune Leadership Services he worked for 35 years in the printing industry holding senior leadership positions at Taylor Corporation, RR Donnelly, and Banta Corporation. He is an accomplished executive with a proven track record for developing purpose-driven; values based teams that drive culture improvement, enhanced employee passion, and improved business results. He is featured in Ken Blanchard’s book “Leading at a Higher Level”, and has been a featured speaker for the Ken Blanchard Companies Executive Forum in both 2007 and 2011. Mark lives in Alexandria, Minnesota with his wife Kim. They have two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and three grandchildren, so far. To find out more about Mark and his work, visit Triune Leadership Services via the Link adjacent his Photo above.

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  1. As I read your thoughtful advice, I could understand the importance of planning in advance that in everything, we must look for the joy a find slivers of good, then capitalize on them. Life is a contact sport. Be ready. We might not bounce back, but applying your principles here there will be a come back.

    • Chris, that is awesome! I love simple. Did we advance our purpose and follow our values? – is another way to determine “did we do right”? It works!