How to think to thrive in times of challenge and change

I wonder if you’re the same.

I’ve recently been asking my audiences in my online speaking and training session, have you ever called yourself an ‘idiot’? Have you ever beaten yourself up for something that didn’t go quite right?

Guess how many smiles of recognition there were? Guess how many hands of self-confession went up? Go on guess… that’s right, ALL OF THEM :O

Every day, certainly in this emotionally turbulent time of change, we are constantly facing challenges with our lives, work, relationships and even ourselves. When we don’t get the result we want it’s amazing how for many of us our default way of thinking is to beat ourselves up?

I certainly used to think like that, I now think of it this way; the challenges we experience is an opportunity to grow.

Think about it, when we exercise to build muscle we can only build muscle if there is resistance against the muscle. Challenges and adversity act like resistance to build our mind muscles, our resilience.

If we’re playing a game such as chess or snap, for instance, if there’s no opponent playing against us then there’s no victory.

We only feel like we’ve accomplished something when we overcome or master something. The greater the resistance, the greater the challenge, the greater the victory and the more we feel fulfilled.

Do I like resistance and change? No, of course not, but resistance and change are a big part of life and I accept it. We might not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it.

There’s an old cliché that says ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and I believe it to be true.

My choice is to embrace it. Granted, I might not like the experience, but I’m willing and do look at it as an opportunity to grow.

In this current climate of challenge and change, and in particular if you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself some or all of the following questions:

  1. What are my options? Consider each one and pick one to do.
  2. What do I NOT need to do now that will take pressure away from me?
  3. Who can I say NO to? I’m not saying we let people down; sometimes we feel obliged to give of ourselves when we should be looking after ourselves first.
  4. What do I need to do now that can’t wait?
  5. If I don’t do what I believe I NEED to do now, does it really matter? And I mean REALLY matter?
  6. Who can help me? Then ask for that help. Then do what must be done.

I remember a time when challenge and change would make me feel stressed. Today, most of the time, I become focussed, alert and will do what I need to do to negotiate the challenge.

Don’t ever beat yourself up, we all make mistakes. Remember life is… a work in progress :)