What is it that allows some people to achieve more than others when all else seems equal?

How do I reach past the storms I am facing to fulfill my potential?

How do we extend beyond our comfort zone to our capacity zone?

These were some of the thoughts I was pondered while flying from London Heathrow to Minneapolis in early 2016. The business I led was in trouble. We had been weathering storms since early 2015 after having seen fast growth in the prior two years prior from a new technology product. We were a David of sorts competing with some Goliath’s and we had a fast mover advantage….until we didn’t. 

Then the storms came and brought with them fear, doubt, uncertainty.    

During this flight that I recalled Proverbs 24:10: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” I was also reminded of John 16:33; “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  

Scars of Perseverance

As I considered God’s word, the thought came to me that “lasting leadership and success are built upon the scars of perseverance.” When I looked around at others whom I consider successful, not one of them reached their capacity without conquering challenges and obstacles.

This thought seemed counter to what I normally considered to be keys to success – a solid IQ (knowledge, skills, ability) combined with a strong EQ (people skills, empathy, intuitive capacity). While a strong IQ and EQ are necessary, the missing pillar of success was AQ – Adversity quotient. 

AQ was the answer to my questions.

AQ is a combination of perseverance and resilience. It’s the ability to deal with adversities in life or business and turning these obstacles into opportunities. Put simply, IQ gets you on your journey; EQ helps you navigate your journey; AQ enables you to finish your journey.  

Reach Your Capacity

In the quest to reach your capacity, you first have get beyond comfort. And, often, between comfort and capacity there exists a gap. It’s often a “pain gap” because it’s filled with fears, uncertainty, past failures, and other obstacles that either have or may cause pain.

We need to develop a bridge over this pain gap. 

The Bridge

This bridge has a name: Adversity Quotient. It’s your ability to deal with the pain, hurt, fear, etc that comes from stepping out of comfort. AQ isn’t easy. In fact, it can hurt. It can lead to scars.  Going through the pain zone and developing a high AQ is what creates the “scars of perseverance.”    

AQ can be developed and it will help you achieve lasting success in your journey from comfort to capacity. 

In following posts, I’ll unpack some practical ways you can develop a higher AQ.