I sometimes get asked how I deal with challenges. It’s not easy however I have learned a lot in the last 18 months, and am now much better at perceiving challenges as ON the way to achieving my goals, and not IN the way.
When you see challenges as IN the way, they can feel like a roadblock, a dead end with no way around. When that happens, it can start to negatively impact all areas of your life, and prevent you from moving forward. I wanted to share what I have learned to help you fast-track your ability to overcome your challenges, and succeed with your goals.
This is a longer post, so grab a cup of tea and give yourself the time to read and think how you could apply these steps in your life.
The universe is listening
That might sound “airy fairy” but I can tell you the universe is listening to what you say, AND what you think. Those thoughts are what you’re manifesting your life to be, and I can tell you from personal experience, it’s going to come true.
I’ll give you an example.
When I joined Salesforce, I felt like a fraud. I told myself I am not as smart as everyone else here, I am not ready to work on a project yet. I need to achieve Ranger status before I will be good enough. I need to know A, B and C before I can work with clients.
For 12 whole weeks I was unbillable, which became increasingly stressful. My colleagues were complimenting me on my success and intelligence, as I achieved Ranger status in my first 5 weeks, yet I did not want to listen.
I was telling my manager I wanted work, and I was ready for it but internally I was thinking “Hell No”, I am not ready. I was assigned 8 projects, and all of them fell through – cancelled or delayed – my manager even started to say I was jinxed.
It become so toxic my partner said I need to have a session with his high performance coach to overcome this hurdle. Two hours later I left the session balling my eyes out, having recognising the only barrier to my success was ME!
He gave me a task, to write a letter to myself in the 3rd person, recognising my achievements and personal strengths, and giving advice on what I needed to do. Here is a snippet:
Dear TamaraYou’re the best version of yourself when you jump into a situation, apply your learnings, ask questions, and work on the fly.
The only person holding you back is yourself.
You’re stopping yourself from shining bright and achieving your dreams, by striving for perfection. You simply can’t read all the content and expect to be a subject matter expert (SME) without real life application. Don’t stop yourself from growing and learning by thinking you have to possess all this knowledge before working on a project.
You will become the SME you have always dreamt about by having a curious mind, asking lots of questions, challenging the status quo, testing and learning as you do. You are capable of showing your worth by knowing 10% of the content and learning the other 90% on the job.
Stop saying “I’m not ready”. Start saying “I am smart enough to be an SME for my next project”.
Stop saying “I’m not smart enough”. Start saying “I have the knowledge I need to start, and I will learn more as the project progresses”.
Repeat these mantras:
* I am smart and intelligent
* I am an SME in my field
* I learn best in challenging situations and thinking on my feet
* I am a student for life, there is always more to learn
The next morning I was assigned two projects, and working 50 hour weeks. That is the power of perception!
Changing your perspective
Here are 8 ways to overcome a challenge.
The first step is being aware you’re facing a challenge. Sounds easy but when you’re in the middle of it, it can be hard to lift your head and acknowledge that.
With awareness, you can start to be open to applying these other learnings.
2. The universe loves balance
And that includes balancing YOU.
When you’re facing a challenge you are either:
- Overconfident, excited or too “happy” and the universe needs to bring your ego back down so you are balanced (neither positive or negative)
- Someone is sending you too much love, and the universe is creating balance
- You have signalled to the universe you want to grow, and the best way to grow is by learning to overcome a challenge (you will keep experiencing the same challenge until you have mastered it)
3. Challenges are temporary
Challenges are only temporary, nothing is permanent. They might take some time and effort to overcome but there is always a solution.
Break it down, pull it apart, think through the different scenarios of how you can overcome it, and action them.
Don’t be afraid (or too proud) to ask for help. You have the support you need, and having another perspective can be helpful.
4. Be grateful for the challenge
The reason you are facing this challenge is because you are strong enough to overcome it. The universe is giving you an opportunity to grow.
Write down all the reasons you are grateful for this experience.
It can be a confronting concept to accept, and extremely hard to do. It’s something I struggle with at times but when you look at the bigger picture for long enough, the benefits will appear.
For example, being in a long distance relationship can be extremely challenging, and exaggerate problems beyond what they would normally be when you’re living together. This challenge is an opportunity to improve your communication skills, and learning to resolve issues remotely, when you’re not sitting in front of each other, and that requires a deeper level of openness and trust.
5. Practice gratitude
Yes, the challenge might be extremely tough and demanding but take a moment to think about all the positives in your life, beyond the challenge.
Think about other people in the world who are facing their own challenges. Maybe they do not have enough food or water to survive, or they are unable to walk, or their house has been destroyed by a natural disaster, or have lost a loved one.
It’s a great opportunity to be grateful for all the small things we often take for granted like clean water, fresh food, and having somewhere clean, dry, warm and safe to sleep each night.
6. Recognise your challenge is ON the way, not IN the way
When you’re living your truth, and doing what inspires you, you actively seek challenges to improve your understanding and ability. Just look at teenage “gamers”, they’re actively looking to “level up”, and perceive each “challenge” as ON the way, rather than being “IN” the way.
When you’re clear on your goals, one set back isn’t going to stop you from trying again. If it does, maybe you’re not living your truth and need to reevaluate what is right for you.
7. Wink at the challenge
This is my favourite. Look in the mirror, say the challenge out loud, and wink!
Then repeat these mantras:
- I am strong enough to overcome you
- I am facing this challenge because I am ready to learn and grow
- You will not wear me down – not today, not tomorrow, not ever because you are ON the way of achieving my dreams
8. Be present. Meditate.
Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk and be present.
Give yourself a break from overthinking. It’s important to have YOU time. Don’t let the challenge burn you out.
Meditate for 5-20 minutes.
I would love it if you shared this article with your friends – post a link on Facebook or LinkedIn, or send them an email.
Let your tribe know they are not alone, and that you are there to support them. Remind each other of these steps when you’re facing your next challenge.