8 Keys To Overcoming Adversity In 2013 From Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson
For many of you reading this post, 2012 was a very difficult year. You are glad to close that chapter of your life and the promise of a new year brings you some measure of hope. One thing we know is that adversity is universal and something we all face sooner or later. Adversity eventually impacts us all.
Few leaders faced as much adversity in 2012 was Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. On Christmas Eve 2011, Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL ligaments in his knee in a game against the Washington Redskins. This type of injury usually requires an athlete to wait at least one season before getting back on the field and another year to return to their original form.
Yet, Peterson was back on the field for the team’s first game of the 2012 season. While leading the Vikings to the play-offs, he finished the season with 2,097 rushing yards, the second highest total in NFL history. Despite facing tremendous adversity, Peterson overcame it in unprecedented fashion and had one of the greatest individual seasons in NFL history. So how did he do it?
In the December 24th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Ben Reiter gives us insights into this incredible leader. Peterson’s story provides all leaders eight action steps and a roadmap to overcoming adversity.
- Focus On Others – The first step is to focus on others and not your circumstances. While sitting on the trainer’s table immediately after the injury, Peterson remembered a promise he made to a young fan wearing his jersey asking for an autograph. He sent for his jersey, signed it, and had it returned to the fan all while the game was still in process.
- Quickly Process Information and Begin Looking Forward - While still on the training table, Peterson made an immediate commitment to return to the playing field by opening day of the next season. Jeff Anderson, the Vikings VP of Communications, said, “It was remarkable to see how quickly he was able to digest it (the injury), get his mind around it and move forward. I don’t remember anyone ever looking forward that quickly.”
- Biblical Foundation - Leaders can more easily overcome adversity when they operate from a biblical foundation. Peterson was a regular attender of the Vikings Bible study sessions. Christian leaders, though not denying reality, know that God is in control and telling a story of His glory through their lives.
- Seek Guidance From Other Leaders Today - Most athletes who suffer from this injury wait several weeks to have the swelling go down before having the surgery. Peterson had famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews perform his surgery just six days later.
- Avoid Discouragement - When overcoming adversity, team trainer Eric Sugarman admits two of the challenges for many athletes is properly managing expectations and avoiding discouragement. Peterson put in place several mile markers to measure his progress and subsequently exceeded every goal set for himself.
- Be Patient - Fully overcoming adversity takes time. Those who know Peterson well still know he is not completely 100 percent. Antione Wingfield says, “He’s not as explosive coming in and out of his cuts as I’ve seen him. That’ll come.” Peterson adds, “Knowing my body, knowing how much stronger it’s going to become, that’s how I know I’m going to continue to get better.”
- Be Generous - The best thing a person can do to overcome adversity is to be generous. It is counter-intuitive but serving others makes your situation better. Peterson has voluntarily chosen to share his amazing gifts with others. At team functions, no one is more kind and quick to sign autographs than Peterson. And with fan he meets, he always finds something to compliment them on.
Focus On Others, Process Information, Look Forward, Have A Biblical Foundation, Seek Quality Advice, Avoid Discouragement, Be Patient and Generous. If you do these eight things, you have an opportunity to quickly overcome adversity.
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