Everyone faces challenges in business and in life. And even positive experiences such as getting a promotion or finding Mr. or Ms. Right can present you with challenges. For example, a new position brings new responsibilities and sometimes new headaches, and a new love interest poses the challenge of having to compromise with another person when you’re used to doing things your way.
The key to overcoming any challenge is to empower yourself through the event. In fact, life’s challenges and adversities can be one of the most inspiring, creative, and resourceful periods of your life, if you only take the steps to focus on the positive and not the negative. Unfortunately, most people have a pre-programmed, download of emotions that dictates how they react to challenges, changes, and transitions. And the majority of times these emotions are not positive.
Rather, they are based on resistance and fear, and they put people in the position of reacting and not being able to turn around and direct the situation. For example, let’s suppose you just got fired from your job unexpectedly. You honestly thought you were doing good work, you actually liked your job, and you had planned to stay there for a long time. Then one day your boss taps you on the shoulder and shows you the door. The natural emotions you probably feel are fear, sadness, and anger. “How am I going to pay the bills?” you lament. “What will happen to me and my family?” “How could they do this to me?” While these are normal initial emotions, you have to realize that you getting fired from your job could be a blessing in disguise, because there is always something better out there for you…you just have to look for it.
The following tips will helps you gain the confidence to face life’s challenges head on and turn them around into opportunities for growth.
1. Accept that challenges are a learning tool. Challenges educate you about yourself. They define your values and clarify what’s important to you. During any challenge is the perfect time to re-create your life, because challenges force you out of your comfort zone. When people get into a comfort zone, they don’t like to mix it up. Most people will stay in their comfort zone because although there’s not a lot of pleasure, there’s not a lot of pain either. But when you get uncomfortable, you find that you have resources, gifts, and talents that you haven’t even tapped yet. During times of challenge you have the ideal opportunity to turn the events around and create the life or professional situation you truly want to live.
2. Be mindful of your self-talk. When overcoming your pre-programmed, download of emotions and re-creating yourself, you need to watch how you speak to yourself. For example, if you got fired from your job, you may hear yourself saying, “I’m a lousy employee.” “No one will ever want to hire me.” “I have no marketable skills.” Such negative self-talk will only keep you in a negative state and will cause you to sabotage your own efforts. Therefore, focus on building yourself up through affirmations. Some good examples of affirmations for our job loss example are: “I am a committed, dedicated employee.” “I have an excellent employer with benefits.” “I am a knowledgeable person with a great deal of experience in my field.” “I am honest and have integrity and maintain that in the workplace.” Make sure your affirmations focus on the skills or traits that will help you overcome your current challenge. Write your affirmations down on 3x5 cards and keep them with you at all times. Say them first thing in the morningand before you go to bed at night. Also, anytime during the day when a negative thought enters your mind, start saying your affirmations. Soon you will believe your new self-talk and you’ll have confidence in yourself again.
3. Visualize where you want to be or what you want in life. The human brain does not know the difference between that which is real and that which is imagined. So visualize the perfect scenario for yourself. Since we tend to draw to us things that we think about, you can start to re-create your life by simply visualizing what you want. As an added benefit, visualization also helps you define your values and beliefs. When you visualize the new job position you want, for example, you can create a picture of the type of company you want to work for and get a better idea of what’s important to you. Now, if an opportunity arises that puts you in a place that’s opposite of what you visualize, you can better decide whether it’s a right move for you.
4. Surround yourself with a supportive environment. Face it, some people in your life are toxic to your success: people who are negative, who frustrate you, who sabotage your efforts, and who try to hold you back. You need to distance yourself from these people, even if it means hurting their feelings or damaging the relationship permanently. If the toxic person is a close family member, this step can be difficult, but it will free you to experience positive things in life. After all, when you’re trying to come back from a challenge, the only resource you have is your mind.
Therefore, you have to protect your thoughts and your speech, and you do that by getting rid of people who are negative and toxic. Remember that some people love to complain and want company for their misery. And as much as they seem to love you, they will sabotage you because your success intimidates them. It’s easier for them to keep you down on their level. But this is your life and you have to live it for yourself, not anyone else. So focus on the positive people in your life and ignore the negative ones. Once you do, you’ll see a marked improvement in your current situation.
5. Open yourself up to new possibilities and paths. Remember, a challenge can be one of the most creative times in your life. Therefore, give yourself permission to think beyond the obvious. After a job loss, for example, you might think to start your own business or to do something you’ve been putting off for years, like take a year off and hike through Europe. Look beyond what you’re accustomed to and let yourself dream for once. As you do so, just ponder the new experiences and realize that you don’t have to act on the first thing you think of. Use your positive support network as a sounding board for ideas. You may just stumble upon a new life path that leads to greater fulfillment and success than ever before.
Shift Your Situation Today
The bottom line is that challenges don’t have to make your miserable. When your confidence has been shaken due to a sudden turn of events, following these five tips will help you make it through the rough time and maintain your confidence. After all, you can’t go from surviving to thriving if you’re stuck wallowing in self-pity. So put these five tips to work today. When you do, you’re bound to have a more enjoyable tomorrow…no matter what the situation.