How to Stay Positive During Extreme Adversity

“Choose to be optimistic. It feels better.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Positivity is a choice. It’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. For me, positivity is a lifestyle. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude and how you react. Attitude (good and bad) is infectious and contagious.

And that’s important to keep in mind as we try to curb the spread of COVID-19 and navigate a possible economic recession. There’s a lot of scientific research on adversity and resiliency. Kelly Clarkson wasn’t the first one to think what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche published that idea in 1895. And he was onto something. It turns out that you CAN get stronger from adversity, but you need the help and social support of your family, friends, and community to be successful in achieving growth in tough times.

When the team at Sports Business Solutions scrambled to get on a Zoom call on Friday amidst all the fallout in the sports and live events landscape, we weren’t armed with that research. We just felt like trying to find ways to help our community was the right thing to do.

People who work in sports and entertainment are used to dealing with adversity. It’s hard enough to get an internship, let alone a job in our industries.

I successfully sold through the Great Recession of 2007-2009. I lost my job when my wife was pregnant and in med school. I filed for unemployment, needed the help of Medicaid for my family, and had to use WIC checks at the grocery store to afford baby formula. I started my own sports consulting company in 2011 but had to stock Cokes at grocery stores to make ends meet. I endured a lean ticket sales offseason with the Jaguars in 2017 and started the season by having livid people from around the country call me to voice their displeasure with our players who took a knee during the national anthem.

Yet I managed to stay positive. It’s a mindset. It’s a choice. Sometimes you just need to vent to your family, friends, and co-workers to get through it. To get advice. To share best practices. Don’t take out your frustration on those around you. Let them help you through tough times. Stay focused on your goals and stay calm.

Adversity brings the opportunity to build resiliency. Resiliency builds personal growth.

I have no doubt I became a better salesperson, manager, leader, and sales trainer by handling adversity. It’s made me a better husband and father too.

You can do this. We can do this. We’re built for this. And we’re here to help.

Kevin Klammer is a sales trainer with Sports Business Solutions. His 15-year career has spanned sales and sales management in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and media sales, and sales management in a top-10 media market in the US. He is a B2B sales guru and champion of building modern sales cultures that thrive and win. To learn more about Sports Business Solutions, visit and follow along on social: