Humans do tend to disagree quite a bit, but one thing we can all agree on is that bad stuff happens. It happens to everybody; Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation you are, or how much money you have. Obstacles and challenges are a fact of life, of survival. What separates us is how we respond to them. Given a challenge, we have three choices. We can give up right then, lay down and resign ourselves to whatever our misery is. That option is not for you or you’d not be reading this. Another popular option is to decide we won’t give up, but we won’t deal with it either. Sometimes we don’t deal with it because we are in denial; it also could be a fear of failure. Regardless of why we do it, we do. We wallow in misery, not only over the situation, but now over our inability to fix it. It’s a place of self-pity and stagnation. Side note: choosing that response is a killer to healthy self esteem. Talk about counter productive! So, that’s not a good choice if you wish to succeed in life. And then there is THE option! The choice that moves you over, under, around or straight through that obstacle in your way. So, that’s what we are going to focus on today. Most of us know well how to give up, whine, and wallow, so let’s talk about surviving and thriving in the tough times. It’s a matter of getting your thinking right then hanging in there and doing the steps until the breakthrough comes. It WILL come, if you think it will. That is part of survival - developing an overcomer’s mindset.
What mindset do overcomers have?
- They keep things in perspective.
- They know they can.
- They are lessons hunters.
Let’s look at each one individually, starting with putting things in perspective. You need to do the equivalent of splashing yourself in the face with cold water. Rein it in, calm the emotional responses, breathe, and think rationally.
Look back at the times in your life when you panicked but the dreaded whatever-you-fear-thing never happened. Then realize that most of the time, that is the case. Most of what we fear never happens. Fact.
Then, take a step back and look at the big picture scheme of things. Ask yourself how much this thing that has you feeling defeated now matters in the long run. Will this crisis matter at all five years from now? Is it really the end of the world….or does it just feel that way?
Take time to consider how you’d deal with the “dreaded-thing”. Being prepared helps rein that emotional response. Look at the worst case scenario. Then decide what you would do should it happen. What you will realize in that process is that it would NOT be the end of the world. You’ll see that you CAN deal with it if you need to. Suddenly, it doesn’t look quite so scary anymore.
Now breathe. Ahhhhhh. You have a healthy perspective again and can begin moving forward.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Overcoming takes not thinking you can, but knowing it.
Anything less is doubt and will hold you back. But how do you move forward when your mind wants to scream “I can’t”? You must get bossy with it. Tell the negative voice in your head to shut up and then fight back with positive affirmations. Say them out loud, with authority. Do it until you feel it. Have your own little pep rally for one and speak those affirmations out loud and proud. It might seem silly to you at first if you’ve never done affirmations before, but they do work. Where to get affirmations if you are not already armed with some? I prefer to write my own so they are tailored to my weak areas. If you don’t know where to start, google “affirmations for entrepreneurs”. You get over a half a million results. Have fun! (PS: I am working on a post that shares my personal top twelve affirmations, so if you follow us, you have that to look forward to.) Repeat these little pep rallies as needed. If the negative thoughts persist, you can play what I call the “Can-Can Game”. The rules are simple. Each time you find yourself thinking “I can’t”, you need to come up with three things you CAN do in relation to the problem at hand. Then you must do them. If you make yourself stick to it, you won’t be contemplating defeating thoughts for long.
The third part of an overcoming mindset is…
Developing a habit of seeking the lessons in the tough times! In my experience, the most powerful lessons come from the biggest challenges. Find the lessons and learn to walk them. It takes some of the sting out of the trial too, by making good come from it. It is almost like giving that ugly twist of fate the old one-two punch by declaring “fine….gimme tough stuff and I will become better!”. So, determine to do exactly that. Look for the wisdom in the tough season. I can guarantee you, no matter what your situation is, there are lessons to learn in the midst of it. When you encounter hardship or challenges you must rein the emotions in, get an attitude with affirmations, and start lesson hunting immediately. As you discover these bits of wisdom, start applying them and making them a part of how you respond. That is what will take you over, around, or even right straight through your obstacles. These experiences can break you, or they can make you into more than you imagine now. It is your choice and one nobody else can make, or walk it out, but you.
It’s all about choosing to respond with intention rather than to react emotionally.
Then you walk that intention out. Persist and you will find yourself on the other side of the trying time. AND - you’ll be a better person for having been through it. The choice is yours. I thought I would close by sharing an example from my own life. Like I tell my daughters… if you can’t learn from my good example, I have plenty of bad ones to instruct you with too. This situation happened after having already survived some pretty bad stuff in my life. It helps illustrate how easily even the strongest of us can crumble when we develop stinkin thinkin (we talked about this concept during part 3 of our Focus Series) and react emotionally. I already knew these things I’m teaching you, but failed to apply them. There was an online project we were launching that I’d been slaving away at for nine months. I had been dreaming of even longer. It meant the world to me, because it was an effort to help others. There was a team of three of us on it, but I was the founder and face of the effort. I was going to do daily live video events, be a part of six weeks of scheduled webinars, and raise lots of funds for my pet project. As the project launched, we moved. After quite the search, we’d found our dream home, on top of a mountain. It’s lovely up here, but the one bad thing about mountaintop life is the lack of high speed internet access. For three weeks, we had no internet access at all and I had a cell phone plan with limited data. I watched the launch from the sidelines as best I could from my phone.
To say I did not take it well is a gross understatement.
I cried, I paced, I fought with internet service providers when I wasn’t crying or pacing the floors. I couldn’t eat and developed killer IBS when I did. I tossed and turned at night, and lost thirty pounds I didn’t want to lose. Why? Because I chose the second option I mentioned earlier. I did not give up, but neither did I step back, get perspective, rein it in, and start working a plan. Instead, I let it defeat me. As a survivor of domestic abuse, loss of control is a trigger. Once I got stuck in freak out mode, the stinkin’ thinkin’ began and down I went.
The launch was a complete flop.
That’s why I said MOST of the time, what we fear never happens. Sometimes it does. That put fuel on the fire raging inside me because I’d never before experienced a business “failure”. I’m not sure if I’d always been lucky, or I’d not had any flops because I was not being adventurous enough in my businesses, but it doesn’t really matter. Here I was and I was a mental mess. Honestly, the next few months after that are a blur to me now. I’d given stinkin thinkin a foot in the door. It is a whole lot easier to nip that stuff in the bud than it is to pick up the pieces afterwards. It started a chain reaction of triggers in me that opened the door to every rotten thought I’ve ever had about myself. Since then, it has taken hard work and being diligent to watch over my thoughts, but I have come back to myself. I did it just as I’ve outlined to you here. First, I put it in perspective. Then, I remembered that I can. Lastly, I learned the lessons and apply them daily. Once I’d regained control over my emotional reactions, I found ways to work with the limitations I have. It’s not ideal, but I get done what I need to get done. The world did not end just because I do not have high speed internet. It was a painful lesson, but those are the types of lessons that stick with you. I am a better, stronger version of myself now, even better equipped to help others. The pet project? It will be relaunched, when I am ready. Life went on. Gee, it did go on and all that fuss, turmoil, and worry was for nothing.
Are you feeling stuck in a storm?
Stop, breathe, and apply these three steps. Persevere in the battle over your thoughts and in walking out the lessons learned. It’s work. It is difficult. But it is also how you get unstuck and back to moving forward to better times. You can do it and we are here to support you along the way. Questions or comments? Let’s chat! Feel free to leave your comment below.