Reframing Your Adversity – Episode 1

Video Transcription

Welcome to “New Man, New Woman, New Week.” I’m Ben Newman, and I am fired up to be with you to talk about your success journey and what fires you up in your life.

Today I want to kick things off with talking about adversity and talking about challenge and getting real with you. I’m not gonna just be here to talk about my biography today or successful things that have happened.

Whenever I have the opportunity to go give a keynote, I always say that those biographies aren’t fair because they want to highlight the great stuff.

See, I believe it’s the challenges, it’s the adversity, that really gives us the ability to grow, and that the real measure of success will be your ability to get back up one more time than you’ve been knocked down in your life.

It’s the challenge that grows you. It’s recognizing that obstacles create your opportunity, and it’s tough for me to talk about this stuff sometimes because I’m an emotional guy.

I’ll cry when I watch Extreme Home Makeovers. So for me, it’s just getting real, getting emotional, and recognizing the adversity can grow you and there may be opportunity there.

And I know you’ve heard it so many times; you get knocked down, get back up. You got knocked down, you get back up. You get knocked down, you get back up.

Today we’re gonna share a tool that’s gonna show you how you can be inspired be empowered to get up off that mat of life where you’ve been knocked down. We’re not just gonna talk about it. We’re gonna show you a proven tool. And I figured the best way I could do that would be to find a story that would be impactful for you in your life.

So I want to take you to 1983, St. Louis, Missouri. We’re gonna talk about a mother and a teacher and her journal. Now this teacher, this mom, she was one of those teachers like you’ve had, you always remember them. Big, bright, brown eyes; big, pearly white smile; long, brown hair; and when she walked into a room, she just lit it up with energy.

She was incredible.

Her students loved her. Her children loved her. Well in 1983, this teacher, Janet, was diagnosed with a rare muscle disease called amyloidosis.

Now if you don’t know what amyloidosis is, each and every one of us in our muscles, we have an amyloid. The amyloid helps to build up the muscles. Now if you have an excess of amyloids, that means you have a disease called amyloidosis. At the time of her diagnosis, there were two hospitals in the United States treating the disease, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the Boston Medical Center.

For some reason, Janet chose Boston, and she went to Boston. She met this doctor, Dr. Martha Skinner, a woman who was connected to embracing her adversity and studying this rare disease.

There was no money for the disease.

I’m sure that little voice said on Dr. Martha Skinner’s shoulder, just like that voice sits in your mind, and said, “Just give up, Dr. Skinner. You’re so talented, you’re so intelligent. Study another disease.” But she never gave up. She wanted to fight. She wanted to serve her patients. And she was with this single mom, Janet, in Boston.

And she proceeded to tell Janet you’re only the second woman under 40 years old that I’ve ever seen or heard of having this disease. You have two to four years to live.

I think we would all agree that we are now talking about the rarest of the rare.

So how does somebody respond to that type of adversity?

How do you respond in your life when you face adversity?

Well here’s what was amazing. Janet, a single mom who was divorced when her youngest son was six months old, now faced with this rare disease, two to four years to live, she decided to keep this journal. It was an old blue Mead notebook, just like you used to have in grade school.

And she used it as a tool to unleash her positive mental attitude on the world. She would write about her nurses. She would write about her doctors.

She would write about the foods they like to eat. She’d write about the things she enjoyed doing. And here’s what was interesting about how she chose to embrace her adversity. You know, often times, for all of us, it’s how we choose to respond to adversity that determines the long-term outcome in our lives.

So Janet would get these phone calls from Dr. Martha Skinner in Boston. And Dr. Skinner would say, “Janet, you need to come to Boston. We’re gonna increase your list of medications. It will be over a page long. You’re gonna have to wear Job stockings around your legs to control the swelling.

You’ll have to wear a mask just to go outside.” And Janet would hang up that telephone, and what Janet would instantly do, which is amazing, is Janet would choose to reframe that adversity. She’d hang up the phone, she’d pick the phone back up, and Janet would contact her boyfriend, Allen, and she’d say, “We’re going on a family trip, and we’re taking the boys.

The boys like Chinese food, so we’re going to Chinatown in Boston. The boys like bowling, we’re going bowling.” She looked at that as an opportunity. Can you do that in your life when you face challenge, when you face obstacles, when you face the opportunity when you’re knocked down?

You see, what Janet was demonstrating was how you can reframe in your life. As soon as she hung up the phone, she would say to herself, “reframe,” and then search for the solution, so when you face a challenge, that’s the first tool that we’re gonna teach you on this journey together is that when you face adversity is to tell yourself to “reframe” and identify the solution that keeps you on a path to success so you can feel strongly about the outcome. And Janet did that with family. Janet did that with her children. She was always reframing to find the solution. And you can do that in your life as well.

See, when Janet would come back to St. Louis, there would be those times when she could no longer tuck in her youngest son at night, one of her son’s greatest memories. Her youngest son had to climb under her IV wires to tuck her in at night. But what was incredible about Janet is that every night without fail, no matter how tough it got, she would walk down the long hallway that led to that dining room table, and she would sit at that dining room table and she would pan over to the right, and she’d look at her oldest son, Drew, and say, “Drew, how was your day at school?” And then she would pan across to the other side of the table, and she would look me dead square in the eyes, and she would say, “Honey, how was your day at school?”

You see the story I’m sharing with you is the story of my life. And what I learned from my mom because of how she fought amyloidosis is that we in our lives can choose to embrace adversity and recognize the opportunities it brings us to grow rather than just looking at the challenge.

You know, I used to say that my mother lost her fight with amyloidosis on November 2, 1986, but really what happened at that point in time is she took that pen of her journal that she was writing with and she passed it on to my brother and I to carry on those inspirational words that she once wrote. “Beat the statistics; beat the odds; live with the disease that is chronic and fatal.

Believe in yourself, combat anything, purpose in life.” Imagine if you reframed adversity in your life, you’d use that mental tool to reframe, to combat anything, to believe in yourself, would you be able to overcome adversity?

Would you be able to stick to the solutions in your life to drive success to drive your legacy? Because the greatest life lesson I’ve ever learned from anybody I learned from my mom. It’s not how long you live, it’s how you choose to live your life.

You have no idea how fired up I am to be with you each and every single Monday to bring you “New Man, New Woman, New Week.” Go do great things.


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