Here are six qualities needed to recover from a life-threatening injury or achieve career goals
Updated version in April 2021 of the article published in Macau Business magazine, August 2013
By André Ribeiro
If success is defined as getting what you want, how can you become successful? When you suffer a setback or face a challenge, how can you overcome it?
It is often said that it is not about how many times you fall but how many times you get back up. That requires a positive frame of mind that helps you get back up and reach your goals.
Take Gary Faris. Faris loved to run competitively. Several years ago, he was training for a race in California. The driver of a pickup truck failed to see him up ahead behind a rise in the road. The truck hit Faris, injuring him so severely that doctors were unsure if he would make it.
After the first two operations of what would turn out to be a series of six, the doctors said the reason Faris was still alive was because of his good physical condition. They also had bad news: he would never walk normally and certainly never run again.
For the next two years, Faris was in rehabilitation. He rebuilt his body. Eventually he returned to running competitively.
After the accident, Faris began studying sports injury rehabilitation. He researched the mental attributes of athletes that had come back from injury and concluded they had six positive mental qualities: inner motivation; commitment to high standards; patience to proceed step by step; focus on the present, with a view to the future; personal involvement; and the ability to be their own yardstick of their progress.
Most important was the simultaneous employment of all six qualities to achieve success.
Six Elements of Success
1. Inner motivation is an obvious factor in achieving success. Recovering athletes use inner motivation to the maximum to move towards what they wish to achieve. They move forward because the pleasure of getting what they want is greater than the pain of working towards it.
2. Recovering athletes have a focus on regaining their health and strength. They are absolutely committed to this standard. Anything less is unacceptable.
3. Athletes in rehabilitation take the recovery process one step at a time. To imagine the entire process can make it seem intimidating and its conclusion far away. Breaking the process into smaller, more manageable steps makes success easier to achieve.
The focus is on small accomplishments that can be mastered easily, permitting adjustments along the way and creating a sense of achievement in passing milestones.
4. Athletes in rehabilitation have a unique perception of time. They succeed in recovering because they focus on the present, regarding it as the path leading to the future.
5. Personal involvement is essential. The higher the degree of engagement in the recovery process, the faster and more complete the recovery. Personal involvement gives athletes a bigger stake in their future.
6. The final quality required of athletes in rehabilitation is the ability to gauge their progress and performance using themselves as a yardstick. People naturally compare themselves and their actions to others and the actions of others. It is critical for a recovering athlete to change this paradigm and consider their own progress. This allows the athlete to regard other people’s accomplishments as inspirational rather than enviable.
Six Elements Exercise
These qualities, Faris found, were applicable to any aspect of personal or professional life.
Employ these six qualities in your life. Do the following exercise. Choose an important goal and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you have clear reasons for achieving what you want and do you imagine clear negative consequences if you fail? Is the pleasure of reaching your goal greater than the pain you must suffer in reaching it?
2. Are your standards high enough to encourage growth and give you a feeling of accomplishment, yet realistic enough to maintain your confidence and motivation?
3. Have you determined what smaller steps will move you towards what you want? Are these smaller steps realistic and manageable?
4. What are you doing right now to get what you want? How will doing it help you get there?
5. Are you taking action, or waiting for whatever will happen to happen? Are you doing all you can to get what you want?
6. Are you tracking your progress? Are you focused on what you can do?
Using these six mental qualities and a lot of determination, Faris was able to get through two years of rehabilitation and run again.
Use his understanding in your life, in your business or to respond to a challenge, and you will be more effective and get better results. When all six qualities are combined, they are like the spokes of a wheel – bearing the load as you roll towards success.
Note: The story of Gary Faris is told in the book NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner
André Ribeiro is an executive coach, mentor coach and supervisor.
Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and Senior Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council