If we are honest, all these people on social media sharing and showing off their success stories, doesn’t show the full picture. We only see the final showreel on social, and we don’t see the struggle and the mess in the journey. You have to work hard enough not to have to work hard, and you have to set, to forget.
Success, results, cashflow and happiness are within your reach, but not without some challenges along the way. In your journey, the worst things can happen just at the wrong time. They can happen all at once too. Disruptions and minor disasters are in fact normal, so it is not avoiding them that leads to mastery, but facing them head on and beating them with smart strategy.
I believe there are 7 steps, in order, to manage and master even the biggest challenges. Even 3 or more all at once. Here is the order of what to do when it all goes to shit:
1. NOTHING (at first)
We make challenges way worse when we react emotionally. We run non-issues into issue and issues into big issues. You know the feeling when your brain gets emotionally hijacked, and you say and do reactive things you don’t always mean. Often your reactions are emotional baggage and memory from events in the past, bubbling up and being brought into the current challenge. The best thing you can often do is listen, wait, think, breathe, smile. Do nothing silly, nothing emotional. Take TIME to think. Perhaps take time alone so no one bears the brunt of your emotional reactions or worse outbursts. This alone could save or solve many of your challenges. Ever sent an email in the heat of the moment only to regret it? Best to write a draft and save it for later.
2. Be THANKFUL
Really? Be thankful for all this chaos and struggle? YES. It’s better to know what’s going on, so you can get in and solve it, than not. At least you have the chance to fix. You get the opportunity to improve. You get the chance to turn things around; to serve and solve. And that is a gift. If you are still alive, you have such to be grateful for. Not always easy, but feels great and dilutes your challenges immediately.
3. Look at the UPSIDES
When down all we see is downsides. When high all we see is upsides. The reality is there is downside and upside in every situation. Yes, every situation. You simply have to look for the balance. So if you perceive tings to be really hard, you are looking at one imbalanced perspective. Take some time to list out the positives to the challenging situation. What you learn. New opportunities that open up. The Post-It note was a failed glue, Penicillin was discovered in an unclean Petri dish by accident. Start talking yourself around when your brain plays tricks on you to only see downsides, like two voices or personas in your mind having a debate (argument, full blown fight). With practice you can get good at talking yourself up and around.
4. ASK for help
Don’t suffer alone. Get ideas for solutions from people who aren’t in the fire and can have a clear perspective. We are all good coaches of other people, but not always so good at coaching ourselves. Asking for help is NOT a weakness. It is in fact a strength. Seek out people who are experienced in the areas you are struggling; the people who find easy what you are finding hard. The answers are all out there, hidden in plain sight. Be brave, reach out, Do not suffer alone. We all need help. it is also a gift you give to others to enable them to do good and help you.
5. Make a PLAN
Now it is time to take some committed, positive action. Dig into the problem. Work out what you need to fix. What do you need to solve. How can you show that you care, to turn a negative actually into a positive. To go above and beyond. To serve. If you have multiple things all going wrong, and 3 or more can be really hard pick off one at a time. Then things get quickly easier.
6. Do whatever it takes
Now you have a plan, it is time to stop thinking and start deciding. Stop talking and start doing. Whatever it takes, just get it done. No excuses means no regrets. Don’t give yourself time to wallow. Hold your breath and dive right in to solving the problem, Some people do this at step one, but that can make it worse if it is not considered. By this stage it is. There is no more need for plans or opinions. If you need to focus the pain to motivate your to action, then do it. If you need set a big goal, then do it. Just do it.
7. What can you LEARN from this
Now you have solved the problems, never waste the opportunity to learn from them. The gift is hidden in the problem, that helps you get bigger, better and smarter for next time. To make it a non-issue next time. Reverse engineer what went wrong, what was hard, and how you can make it easier and improve your processes and reactions. Beware of one thing, however. Most people think that once a problem is solved, it’s gone, when in reality, your reward for solving a problem is a bigger one next time. But with the bigger problem comes more money, results and success, and feelings of increased self worth and value. Hunt out those progressively bigger challenges, after all…
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything”