Finding Success by Hitting Rock Bottom

Here’s possibly the worst beginning to a what is intended to be a motivational blog post: We all have dark days, and sometimes even dark weeks, months or even years. There will always be pain, adversity, unforeseen challenges and failure in our lives. When those dark days pile up and we have trouble seeing even a glimpse of hope, we say—and feel–that we have hit “rock bottom”. In short, that we can’t go or feel any lower than we do right now.

Not exactly a cheery thought, right? Well, I actually think it can be. In fact, I want you to consider the benefits those dark days can bring.

I have hit rock bottom financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually several times throughout my life.  When in those lonely moments, I have found out what I’m really made of.  You see, it’s easy to succeed on the days when everything seems to fall into place, but true success comes in those moments when everything appears to be going absolutely wrong.

This is especially true when it comes to leadership within a company or organization. Think for a moment about who you’d rather follow: someone who has made it through tough times, learned what to do in those moments when things go wrong and has a strong commitment to moving forward no matter what; or someone who’s never seemingly had any setbacks and may not understand what to do if something were to actually go wrong. Personally, I’ve always preferred to follow someone who has been battle tested.

“That’s all fine and well,” you may be thinking, “but what do I do right now, when I’m having one of those proverbial no good, very bad days? How do I take rock bottom and make it a launching pad?”


legs-1031653_1920Step 1:           Don’t Avoid It

When you’re facing tough situations, you’ll say things like, “This is too hard for me to handle.” You may think that you’re at your breaking point. But here’s the secret: the real breaking point is the one you’ll find if you try to avoid the challenge ahead. You will move away from it and doom yourself to repeat it!  Trust me, life has a way of waiting to teach you the lessons you must learn.


Step 2:           Look Back to Move Forwardwriting-1170138_1920

I once saw an image on social media that read something along the lines of “On bad days I always like to remind myself I have a track record of 100% for getting through them.” In those critical moments, take a time out to evaluate how you got through other “rock bottom” moments. Write down bullet points of what you learned then and tape your notes to your bathroom mirror.  Finding evidence of success will help you weather the storm and give you light and hope in your current situation.


Step 3:           Be Patientknowledge-1052014_1920

Your problems didn’t come in a day and they won’t go away in a day, either. Whether the challenge you’re having has resulted in a rock bottom day or you’ve been dealing with it for years, being patient with yourself and others allows you to begin that climb upward. Time may help us get past a challenge or possibly just learn to manage it.



Step 4:           Keep an Eye on What Matters

Going through a rough patch is often a price we have to pay for something better. Ultimately, you will get something in return for the all of your tears and frustration, but for now visualize your goals and focus on the things that matter.


How you respond when you hit rock bottom doesn’t just say something about your character: it is your character. It shows who you are. Personally, I think you are incredible and that if you’re having a rock bottom moment right now, you’re just getting ready to create a solid foundation for success in your life.

Want an extra dose of inspiration? Take a moment to watch this video, which shares why “rock bottom” can be the beginning of something fantastic.

1 Comment

  1. Hey Russ,

    Nice article. What I love is your connection to who you are and how you lead. You must be a great person before you become a great leader, and both of those characteristics come from your determination to be a lifelong learner.


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