A common response when things get difficult is to slow down or even stop making progress towards what we want.
While that can be a valid response sometimes, most of the time, it does not help us deal with our current situation in the best way possible.
If we stop making progress, it can:
- Intensify any frustration or stress we may be feeling.
- Affect our mindset and outlook on our current situation.
- Make us question our ability to accomplish what we want.
- Diminish our self-confidence, which in turn, will affect our actions.
The sooner we can address the difficulty of the situation we find ourselves in, the quicker we’ll be able to move past it and accomplish what we want.
Not too long ago, I was involved in a project with a couple of colleagues, who I had met at a training event. As we got on really well and shared similar values, we decided on collaborating on a project and we touched based every two to three weeks, as we continued to work through the project. We had a project plan and each person had been assigned specific tasks to complete.
The project started off with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, however as weeks and months went by, our personal and professional commitments started affecting the regularity at which we caught up. Instead of catching up every two or three weeks, it was getting difficult to meet even every four or six weeks. This slowing started to affect our interest level and our commitment to the project.
18 months into this project, I had the opportunity to spend a few days with one of them, as we were attending a seminar together. We took the opportunity to discuss at length our project and we had to question our commitment to seeing the project all the way to the end.
We ended up making the difficult decision to quit the project as it was affecting other things which were of a higher priority to us. Later, we shared our decision with our other colleague and agreed to shelve the project and revisit at another time.
Quitting allowed me release the emotional connection I had to that project, and focus on the projects that required more of my focus and attention. The lesson I learnt was not to let a situation that was not serving me to drag out for so long. In some aspect, facing the reality of our situation may have been uncomfortable, which is why we probably let it go on for so long.
Here are five things that can be done whenever we find ourselves in difficult situations so that we can easy overcome the challenges we face and continue to move towards what we want.
- Go back to the drawing board. This may require a revision of the plan we had in place initially. Based on what we know now, what we had planned will need to be changed in order to get different results. We also have to take personal ownership of our part in creating the situation we find ourselves in.
- Eliminate what’s not necessary. Sometimes the quickest and easiest way to move forward to is quit, if the reasons for quitting are the right reasons. We often fall into the trap of taking on more than we can handle physically, mentally and emotionally, so by re-evaluating all our priorities, we can easily identify what’s important and what’s not.
- Stop giving attention to your situation. The more we think about and give attention to what is not working or what is not going right, the harder it’ll be to move past it. Having time away from our current situation can often give us the clarity we need to make informed decisions as to what to do next. This is also one of the reasons why continuously working is not an intelligent strategy. We must give ourselves regular breaks from our everyday experiences.
- Ask for help from those who have experienced something similar. We don’t have to go through most of our experiences on our own. It is highly probable that someone has been through what we are going through and can give us valuable advice on how to deal with our challenges. It is our responsibility to seek out help when necessary. The key is being willing to ask for help from those who can help us.
- Revert back to gratitude. If you’re reading this now, the truth is the majority of people in the world would love to have the challenges you are facing. We sometimes lose sight of how fortunate we are to be living the quality of life we have. During difficult and challenging times, looking for things to appreciate and be grateful for will shift what we are giving our attention to, even if that is only for a short period of time. Sometimes that is all it takes to gain new perspectives and come up with ideas to continue to progress towards what we want.
When things are difficult, we should always see it as a valuable learning experience because it is our challenges that makes us stronger. If we apply some of these ideas, we will give ourselves a better chance of overcoming our challenges a lot easier and faster. If we don’t, we will continue to use up valuable mental energy, which in turn, will extend how long it will take for us to overcome our challenges.
Question: What is another thing that can be done to continue progressing when things get difficult?
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