I’ve certainly learnt to face up to mine…
Challenges are a breath of fresh air, they liven up the mundane and expected; the ultimate curveball! They are the uncertainties that enable growth.
This is not how most of us really feel when we are faced with a challenge. But wouldn’t it be great if we did? What if we got excited about finding the solution instead of getting stressed by the problem? That is the choice we have every time we are faced with a man-mountain. We can either be solution focused; how am I going to get through this, what do I need to do? Or we can stress out on the problem; why me? I can’t do this. It’s ‘name here’ fault. I never get a smooth journey.
So why would we even consider getting excited by a challenge? Well for one, every challenge brings a lesson. Our experiences provide an opportunity to learn, about ourselves, about others and about life. And once you get your mind around challenges they seem to change shape and get smaller.
When faced with a challenge I tend to give myself some ‘stress out time’ because I know that is my most human reaction; to feel the pain of the situation. Then I vow to find the way forward because I know there is one, there always is. Unfortunately, our emotions usually get in the way and blind us from seeing anything. So dealing with the emotions first is a good starting point.
Then it’s time to look at the challenge. What is it that is needed to get through it? Is it finances – a common one? Is it time – another regular challenge? Is it someone you have to see or something you need to say? Get really clear about this and know that it won’t just go away; action is required.
Let’s think finances. A bill comes in, a big bill and you just don’t have the cash. You are filled with panic, there is a subtle threat thrown into the bill for good measure (if this is not paid within 7 days XYZ will happen) and suddenly life is over as you know it… But is it really? Won’t you get up the next day and still have things to do? Of course you will.
So here’s this bill with no cash to pay for it. What are the possible solutions?
- Ignore it and wait for them to carry out their threat and then plead for them not to
- Acknowledge that the bill requires payment and you need to call them to explain your situation and find an agreeable payment term solution
- Borrow the money – family, friend, bank
- Think; How can I add value to what I do to raise this sum of money?
Yes, you heard right! What can you do right now (legally of course) that could help pay the bill or at least part of it? You see the truth is by taking this level of responsibility and by thinking about what you can do as oppose to externalising and thinking who can do it for me, you will start to focus on your capabilities, your skills and your services. Because like it or not, we are all here to serve!
So what’s the lesson? To better manage your money, to realise that you have a skill that serves sufficiently to ‘create’ a financial outcome, that there is always a solution.
Now I’m not excluding the other options on the list (except for hiding out!), definitely calling the company/person to explain your situation makes sense and also releases you from guilt and negativity. But do you see the difference when you decide to move from panic to ‘what action’ is required?
- Think of a challenging incident.
- Write a list of descriptive words about how you felt, exhaust that list!
- Did your emotions encourage solution based focus or self-defeating focus?
- Were you able to get to a solution focused place? Were you able to choose a solution that helped you?
- If your emotions – those descriptive words – sent you spiralling into a bad place start thinking of better ways to deal with challenges.
- Identify the real challenge, brainstorm possible solutions and ask for help/advice if required.
- Then make choices from a ‘thought through’ place as oppose to an emotional in-balance place.
Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.