Giving Thanks for Adversity

The title is not a typo, but before I dive into that I hope that your family and your friends had a Happy Thanksgiving!

There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my family and friends, enjoying each other’s company, laughing at and with each other, and appreciating all that we have in life.

And the hugs… man is it good to give my family and friends hugs again!

See, this past Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving at my house for my side of the family (spend Thanksgiving Day with Nancy’s family) and set the table for 14 adults and 10 kids. This is a tradition we started 14 years ago and every year it seems to grow in laughter and more and more food! Smoked turkey and fried turkey. And Nancy’s sides are unbelievable… homemade cranberry relish, green bean casserole, a sweet potato dish that has a little bit of sugar and cinnamon, stuffing, the best mac and cheese dish ever… .and a whole lot more.

Then… there is dessert. Way too much pie.

It truly is a celebration of all that we have to be grateful for. Heck, just having those people together filled my gratitude bucket.

Like most Thanksgiving celebrations we talked about all the things we are thankful for and how blessed we are. Which is so, so true.

But… as I sat there and looked around the room I couldn’t help but recall some of the struggles all of us have gone through over the years. Health, losing loved ones, career challenges, seeing loved ones cope with addiction, unexpected life events, marriage struggles, and the day-to-day challenges of raising a family.

I am beyond blessed and still face a significant amount of adversity while running a business, raising a family, juggling Nancy and my schedules, being concerned about family members’ health, bills, and being intentional every single day about growing and improving. Sure, there may be more… but you get the idea.

Right now, you are probably saying to me, “you ought to hear the stuff I have going on.”

This is why I want to share this approach to gratitude which is something that has been a work in progress for me for years.

This form of gratitude is still a process for me and is not something that comes naturally. It is a direct result of paying close attention to the most successful leaders I have worked for, with, and those who I have studied.

I am intentional about being thankful for my adversity.


The way you deal with your greatest adversities will shape your character far more than the adversities themselves. Your greatest challenges are also the greatest growth opportunities.

And… having interviewed over 124 incredibly successful business leaders for The Athletics of Business podcast several common threads keep showing up.

One of them is the ability to embrace adversity, understand what it means in their life, and respond in such a way that it allows them and the people they lead to become the author of their own story.

So how can you do this?

Try This!

In Episode #54, Adam Hergenrother shares how part of his morning routine is to do a gratitude list for each of his kids along with his wife. In there he mentions, half-jokingly, that sometimes it is harder than others to come up with something for his wife. This is life… this is marriage.

But he does it… every day. He points out the power of intentionally showing gratitude for his wife before she even wakes up. This will affect how he communicates and contributes right from the beginning of the day.

Now, let’s take that strategy and apply it to adversity.

Each morning when you journal, write a short gratitude list and one of the items should be a tough situation you are experiencing. Then, write why you are grateful for that situation which oftentimes will lead you down the path to a solution.

If nothing else… that simple exercise will help you reframe the situation and realize how your attitude, approach, and execution can help drive a positive result.

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.


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