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Not Sure You’ve Had a Crucible?
3 Ways to Find Out.

Gary Schneeberger

August 28, 2023

Back in the day, as the Beyond the Crucible brand was being developed in its earlier form of Crucible Leadership, we had a team member question whether she had ever experienced one of those setbacks and/or failures that Warwick had dubbed “crucible moments.” After some discussion and reflection, she changed her mind. She realized that there were in fact moments in her personal and/or professional life that had “changed the trajectory of her life.” She had never noticed before the impact those crucible moments had made on her journey.

As the message spread — through Warwick’s book Beyond the Crucible: Embrace Your Trials to Lead a Life of Significance, speeches he’s given and interviews he’s done, the more than 100 guests from all walks of life who’ve told their own stories on our podcast — we’ve crafted a perspective that crucible experiences are common occurrences. We have even commissioned a statistically valid study that tells us that 72 percent of more than 11,000 people surveyed so far say they have “experienced an event so traumatic or painful that it fundamentally altered the course” of their lives.

Those are big numbers. Meaningful numbers. But not unanimous numbers. They raise the very real possibility that at least a few of you reading these words might be among that 28 percent who would answer “no” to the survey question mentioned above. Which makes me think, in our mission to share with those who engage with us that their worst day doesn’t have to define them, how can you know if you’ve had a crucible? Three thoughts come to mind:

1. Focus on the pain. 

One thing all crucibles have in common, no matter how different their circumstances may be, is that they hurt. Searingly so in many cases, but not always. And while all crucibles involve pain, it’s a stretch to believe all pain represents a crucible. How do you know the difference? Focus on those words from the survey — “changed the trajectory of your life.” As Warwick has put it, “Who you were before the crucible is not who you are after.” And many times, those changes amid the pain can have positive developments — blessings, even. You’ve developed resilience, come to a deeper understanding of how you are designed.  You’ve discovered what you love to do, and maybe what you definitely don’t love to do. Reflect on all of that, tracing back any ways you’ve been reshaped by your pain — even if you still find it hard to break free of it. If who you are now is different from who you were then, chances are good you’ve had a crucible.

2. Are you feeling motivated to live life with a different focus? 

Living a life of significance is the north star of the counsel and stories we share at Beyond the Crucible. Crucibles have a way of not just causing us pain — but giving us fresh perspective. Most of our podcast guests have discovered as they moved beyond their crucible that they felt the tug to live life more intentionally, focused on something they are off-the-charts passionate about and which in real ways involves serving and inspiring others. If you’re experiencing a nagging sense of malaise about the direction your life is headed, in some cases has been headed for decades, it’s a good bet those emotions can be traced to a crucible. Even what we call a “quiet crucible.” It may not be rooted in searing pain, but a feeling of “there’s got to be more to my life.” If you find yourself wondering “Is this all this is?” the root of that question is quite likely a crucible.

3. Keep your radar up. 

One of the indisputable things about crucibles is that they can come at any time, and they can come again. They can be triggered by any tragedy or trauma. We think of many of the stories and insights from them that we share here as inoculations that can help you weather the next crucible you encounter, helping your bounce back with more focus and fortitude, even if you have a hard time identifying the last one you encountered.


  • Think of a painful experience from your past? Did it teach you something you’re using in living your life today? If so, it’s likely you’ve had a crucible experience.
  • Do you ever feel like something’s missing in your life? That you would love to be living a different story? If so, it’s likely you’ve had a crucible experience.
  • What bit of information have you heard or read from Beyond the Crucible that can help you if you encounter a crucible in the future?

Listen to our Beyond the Crucible Podcast Series: Crucible Hacks! Tune in each week and play along with our bonus worksheet to win a signed copy of the bestselling book, Crucible Leadership, Embrace Your Trials To Lead A Life Of Significance.*

  • Tune in to listen to our summer series here.
  • Play along by downloading our worksheet here.
  • *The first 25 individuals to successfully complete and submit the worksheet will be rewarded with an autographed copy of the bestselling book, Crucible Leadership, Embrace Your Trials To Lead A Life Of Significance. Submission instructions can be found on the back of the worksheet.