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Every day we hear stories of people who have overcome adversity, who never allow anything to stop them from achieving their goals. Is there anything “different” or “special” about these people? The answer is a resounding ‘No’!

Every one of us has the ability to handle adverse or trying circumstances that show up in our lives and businesses. It all depends on what we’ve learned (or what we’re eager to learn) in order to better take care of ourselves and improve our self-esteem that can and will make the difference to how those adverse (or opportunistic) circumstances are handled and managed. As business owners we often face challenging situations and sometimes struggle to know how to handle them appropriately.  Here’s a few useful tips to use when next time you’re in that situation:

  1. Remember you’re not alone. Everyone is faced with challenges in their lives. It never hurts to talk through a problem with a trusted person in your life such as your partner, a mentor, or some other person you can trust.  The person you entrust your challenge to may not have an answer for you but the mere fact of discussing it will clarify the issues for you and create solutions that you may not have seen unless you had taken the time (and risk) of discussing the challenge with another.
  2. See an obstacle for what it truly is, no bigger, no smaller.  Put things in perspective – I often use the ‘will it kill or maim me’ test and inevitably the answer is NO it will not.  I also often ask myself ‘has someone had the same challenge before and overcome it’ – the answer is inevitably YES.  Can you draw on that knowledge?
  3. Think about how you can turn an obstacle to your advantage (there is always a silver lining in every cloud!).  Any challenge can harbor the seed of growth and opportunity – it is how that seed is identified and then nurtured that makes the difference between creating an opportunity and merely responding to a challenge.
  4. When you first encounter an obstacle, take some time to gather your wits and center yourself before tackling it. Obstacles and significant challenges can seem threatening and debilitating when you’re emotionally confused.  Try the ‘leave it for 12 hours’ rule where that’s possible.  Only after some time has passed can you generally see the challenge for what it really is and begin to have some hope of finding opportunities for growth and improvement.
  5. Try to stay calm when dealing with obstacles. Don’t add fuel to the fire. Know that you have the ability to ride this out with confidence and dignity.  Don’t respond to ‘heat’ – the person who retains a sense of proportion, good humor and dignity in challenging times will always be in a better position to make informed and professional decisions than those who make decisions in haste, with ‘ill temper’ and in the ‘heat’ of the moment.

Learning to overcome obstacles is always a work-in-progress. Every obstacle provides us with an opportunity to use our newfound ‘coping skills’ to face it head-on. And the more we do this, the faster, more comfortable and confident we’ll be in dealing with obstacles and challenges.

Have a great week,

Peter