Simple Tips to Push Through Adversity

Finding a way through the tough times isn’t always going to be easy, but some easy tips will help you along the way

How do you handle adversity? The answer to that question can be different for everyone. Some people stress about it for a long time, others shrug it off and move on quite easily.

Now, think about it from your company’s perspective. Can your company handle adversity as well as you? What happens if one of your biggest customers suddenly starts using another contractor or wants to renegotiate a contract that doesn’t favor your business? 

Matt and Tina Calma, owners of Southern Directional in Alabama, found themselves in that type of situation. After founding the company in 1999 and working as a subcontractor as part of a national project, they found out in 2001 that a larger firm acquired the general contractor on the project and renegotiated contracts at rates that weren’t favorable to the Calmas.

The two could have easily given up and called it quits on their business, but they didn’t. In the profile in this issue you’ll read that they diversified and came back stronger than ever and are still thriving to this day.

It wasn’t an easy road and things had to change almost overnight, but the Calmas didn’t let adversity drag them down. They knew how to handle it and there are some ways you can be prepared, too.

1. Be mentally prepared

First and foremost, you have to be mentally prepared for adversity, even if you never face it (which isn’t likely). I’ve heard the phrase “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best” several times when we profile companies for Dig Different.

Running through potential events that could happen on a regular basis builds your mental preparedness and flexibility to overcome them in real life.

Have a plan written down on what your company would do if it lost its primary customer, as an example. Go through that plan every now and then so if it does happen, you can hit the ground running faster and there will be less stress involved.

2. Take stock of what you’ve been through

Chances are you’ve already been through some tough times in your lifetime and you’ve likely learned from them, even if you don’t realize it.

The hardships and adversity you’ve been through gives you confidence that you’re capable of handling whatever comes your way. Use your past experiences to help you find your way.

Have you lost customers in the past? OK, what did you do when you lost them? You adjusted schedules and reached out to other contractors in the area? Great, do that again! Use everything you’ve learned from past experiences.

3. Use it as an opportunity

When the Calmas faced their situation, instead of giving up, they used it as an opportunity to re-evaluate their business and diversify. They added services and went after other markets instead of just fiber-optic installations.

That opportunity has paid off immensely for the couple and their business. Your situation might not be the same as theirs. Maybe you need to scale back your operation and focus on just a few services to make the company stronger, or maybe you need to add different equipment.

Look at the situation and see how you can use it to benefit your company and yourself.

4. Refuse to give up

It seems like a pretty basic tip, but don’t give up. If you just throw up your arms and call it quits your decision doesn’t only affect you, but it has a chain reaction from your employees, to other clients you serve and more.

It might be a long and bumpy road, but if you can, fight through the adversity and make your company better. Use past profiles in this magazine, and the story about Southern Directional, as encouragement and a lesson on why you shouldn’t give up.


How have you adjusted to adversity with your company? Let met know by emailing me at

Enjoy this issue! 


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