Five Ways To Turn Your Crisis Into A Comeback

A Note To My Readers: You may have noticed I took a six month hiatus from blogging on my site. The biggest reason is mentioned in this post. If you’re one of my subscribers and committed readers, I’m grateful for your attention. I will begin to add more content to the site in the days and weeks ahead.

I love comeback stories. They share the journey of someone who had tasted success and rose to the top of his or her game. But somewhere along the way this person encountered a tragedy. Perhaps it was an injury, or a poor decision, or a crisis beyond his or her control. But the story doesn’t end there. Out of that difficulty this person got up off the floor and worked even harder to get back on top.

photo credit: selva via photopin cc

photo credit: selva via photopin cc

I think we all love a comeback story because it describes what’s best about the human spirit. It helps us to see that a person may be defeated…but doesn’t have to stay defeated. Whether or not the comeback story ends with someone hoisting a trophy or winning the election or standing on a podium doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is we get to observe someone who is pursuing a dream that wouldn’t die. We watch someone who is willing to work even harder to pursue what he or she is passionate about.

When we hear about these stories or watch them unfold, there is something that inspires us to re-commit to our own dreams and passions. If that person can do it, then why can’t we? Perhaps we lost our focus and we stopped pursuing our purpose for some reason. Maybe we met defeat in some way and we stayed down.

In many ways, I am attempting my own comeback. I am choosing to fulfill the dreams God has planted within me in the face of my own crisis. In order to do that, here are the five steps I need to take.

1. Recognize what got you headed in the wrong direction in the first place.

In order to get up and not get knocked down again (at least not by the same thing) it is important to learn as much as you can about what stopped your progress. In my situation, I went through a divorce this past fall. Divorce is difficult. It is an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual unraveling that causes pain and loneliness and uncertainty. While this post isn’t about divorce recovery, my circumstances require I learn all that I can about my own shortcomings that led to this split. I have to identify and own my stuff. If all you do is blame someone else for your difficulty, you’ll be stuck in a downward spiral and never fully recover from your crisis. Once you take responsibility, then you are empowered to respond in ways that will help you grow.

I’ll add one more thing. If you don’t take the time to recognize the patterns or behaviors or crisis that got you headed in the wrong direction, then you’re likely to repeat those things again and again.

2. Ask yourself: Why?

If you are going to do the hard work to make a comeback, you have to know why. You have to get crystal clear about what you’re hoping to accomplish. You may think you know why, but you need to go deeper. You need to connect your “why” to your values, to your life’s mission, and to your legacy. Your “why” will become the driving force that will enable you to change and to put forth your effort in effective ways. Isn’t it obvious? If you don’t change you’ll end up getting the same results. Plus, comebacks are hard. Your “why” must be strong enough to motivate you to pay the price that will be necessary. Spend time reflecting on these “why” questions:

  • Why were you defeated?
  • Why do you want to move forward?
  • Why now?

One more thing about “why.” You may discover that your own actions and behavior contributed greatly to your demise. But that’s a good thing. Because the only person you can truly change is yourself. So now you know what and who to focus on.

3. Set your sights on a goal, a target.

It’s easier to figure out what a comeback looks like in sports. It’s measurable. Not all things in life are so easy to define. This is why you need to put a target on the wall that you will work toward. Now that you’ve tasted defeat, what does success look like for you? Will you alter your dream and pursue something even more worthwhile and significant? Sometimes it takes a crisis in our lives to wake us up to the fact we’ve grown comfortable. It may reveal how we’ve lost our appreciation of life. We simply react. A goal makes us more intentional. It is the target that determines where we’ll aim our efforts.

One more thing about your goal. Go ahead and make it BIG. Choose something that you will have to stretch for. Aim for something that will require your continued growth and effort. And if it’s something you can accomplish all by yourself…it’s not big enough.

4. Do something every day.

If you want to change the trajectory of your life, you need to find ways to incorporate your comeback efforts into your daily routine. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight. It requires incremental change. If you are trying to comeback from an injury, you have to engage in activities that will lead to your healing, strengthening, and depending on that area of your body again. That takes consistent effort over time…not effort once in awhile.

If I could add one more thing to this area, I would encourage you to do something everyday that stretches you a little bit. For example, last week I was running three miles a day (yes…on purpose). This week, I’m running 3.5 miles a day. When I started at the beginning of March, I was lucky to run/walk two miles.

5. Find joy in the process.

Defeat can be discouraging. In the wake of my divorce, I was battling all kinds of emotions that tampered with my self-esteem, determination, and focus. I lost my sense of momentum and internal motivation. This blog sat quietly for six months while I’ve been reflecting on my decisions, re-connecting with my “why”, and finding a goal worth working toward on a daily basis. Today is one more step in the process of my own comeback. I’m writing this post with a renewed sense of purpose and a belief in my calling to develop lifelong leaders. As I type these words, I recognize how I allowed a part of me to die over the last few years. It feels like that part of me is coming back to life. That’s something to be joyful about.

One more thing…joy isn’t the same as happiness. I’m not happy in the slightest about my divorce, especially how it impacts my children. But I think no matter where we’re at in life we get to make a choice. We can wallow in complacency in the midst of our setbacks or we can work toward our greatest dreams and inspire others by the story of our comeback.

Do you need to make a comeback in your own life? Which one of these five steps resonated with you?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tina Bakken

    Tim – thank for you’re inspiration. If you can affect one person (me) with a few words, and my sons with your presence as you did in Auburn (Ben & Sam) , the God bless this road you’re on as you reach for the joy God has made available for you. I too have gone through the grief of a divorce, and I too choose to reach for joy and hopefully inspire others along the way.

    • tim milburn

      Tina…
      Really appreciate your note. Glad to know that you found some inspiration here. I also appreciate your kind words and prayer of blessing. It means a lot.

  • Ronda Seward

    Tim,

    I’m proud to be your friend. This is gonna be a good comeback :)

    R

    • tim milburn

      Thank you Ronda. Your support has been tremendous!

  • http://2 Kelley Cotner

    Tim, Thanks so much for a heartfelt blog. You are correct on so many levels. 3 years ago I was a sophomore in the nursing program at NNU. I found myself in that place after divorce from a 23 yr marriage. I too was in that place you have been. It was only with Christ, countless hours of prayer and redirection that brought me to a place of success. I am graduating this year. :) I remember hearing many times the sermons you gave in chapel at NNU. Each time it was as though I was supposed to hear what you had to share. Pretty neat how God was still using you during that time you were unhappy and struggling. Congratulations on making it through this tough time. I look forward to more blogs.

    • Lori

      Tim,
      I appreciate your vulnerability. Hope to see you soon.
      Blessings my friend!

      L

    • tim milburn

      Kelley…
      So grateful for your comment. I’m sorry to hear you had to go through something like this as well. I’m learning a lot through this time and hopefully making changes for the better.

  • Roseann

    Tim this was truly inspirational for me. I am 3 weeks into the divorce process again. I have a better outlook after reading this. We need to talk sometime. You are in my prayers

    • tim milburn

      Roseann…
      I’m sorry to hear you’re having to walk this path again. I hope that you find strength and comfort in the midst of this transition in your life.

  • Misty

    Tim, thanks for sharing. Your vulnerability is refreshing. Your words caused me to pause and think about how I’ve taken this peaceful season of life for granted. Perhaps if I lived with the intentionality that it takes to turn a crisis in to a comeback, I could avoid a crisis altogether. Praying God continues to do an incredible work in you during this comeback.

    • tim milburn

      Misty:
      I’m glad you were able to reflect on the deeper meaning here for your own life. You have a beautiful family (from what I can tell by Facebook pictures :). Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Kathy Burns

    Tim – I’m proud of you and I’m really proud that you’re my friend.

    • tim milburn

      Kathy:
      The feeling is mutual. Friends like you help me to live in the direction of what I wrote above.

  • Alexa Beavers

    Thank you for your courage and reflection. Your blog came to me at a time when I am contemplating a big career change. It’s not so much of a comeback –more of a reinvention. Your steps still spoke to me and apply to my situation very much — Especially reflecting on the why and taking pleasure in the journey. Thank you for having the courage to share and inspire. I wish you all the best in your new journey.

    • tim milburn

      Hi Alexa!
      I wish you all the best in your reinvention. I’m glad that I was able to share a bit of my own story in a way that was useful for your own journey. I’m looking forward to future!

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