“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” John Kabat-Zin
I have to admit that I used to think it was possible to “stop the waves” and remove all the challenges from your life.
I thought if I could just get my life organized and in balance, accomplish the things I wanted and continually make good decision after good decision, I would reach the point where my life would be free of challenges.
Oh, how great that would be. Can you imagine a life free of challenges?
Well, not only was I wrong about that being possible, I now realize that not having challenges is not really something you want.
Challenges exist for a reason.
Even though they can be difficult to manage through and can hit you at your core, if you had a life free of challenges, you would really just be going through the motions and miss out on some very important opportunities to grow and get stronger.
You would never be able to really live up to your full potential.
Are you buying that? Do you agree?
Honestly, I used to not really buy into the whole “challenges being good for you” theory. I mean it really sucked (for lack of a better word) when challenges came my way and things didn’t go as planned.
I really didn’t care about getting stronger and learning the lessons I needed for the future when things were not going the way I wanted them today.
But, you live and learn … right?
And, now I can honestly say that when I look back on every single challenge I had, even the ones that knocked me off my feet, I realize they all played an extremely important role in my life.
Challenges help shape our character, round out any rough edges, give us lessons we need for our future success and most importantly allow us to realize that we absolutely can manage through anything that comes our way.
There’s no reason to resent them or wish for a challenge free life.
They really do exist for a very good reason, even if you can’t see why at the time.
So, instead of working to organize life to try and make it challenge free, all we really need to understand is how to best ride the waves because challenges are going to come our way from time to time.
But, if you can step back, see them for what they are, and learn the lesson you are supposed to they will not knock you off your feet. They will just make you a better surfer. And, that’s exactly what we need.
how do you best manage through challenges?
1. Accept it. It is easy to get bothered or upset by the fact that a challenge has come your way. “Everything was going so well. I can’t believe this is happening.” Why me?” “Can’t this issue just go away?” These are just some of the things that may come to mind when you haven’t really accepted a challenge. However, the first thing you want to do when you realize a challenge has come your way is accept it for what it is. Don’t resent it or pretend like it’s not there. Just accept the fact that you are being challenged.
2. Realize the best way out is walking through. It really helps if you decide from the very beginning of a challenge that you are going to face the challenge and overcome it. No hiding from it or pretending it doesn’t exist. What’s the solution? What’s the best way through?
3. Let your emotions boil to the surface and evaporate. It’s highly likely that when a challenge comes our way, we may have an initial negative reaction to it. Hey, we are human. However, the best thing about negative reactions is that if you can recognize them, you can acknowledge their presence, manage them by stepping back and looking at things from a different perspective, and eventually they will evaporate.
4. Know there is a lesson and something beneficial for you. Although it can be difficult to see the lesson or the benefit of a challenge, there always is one. You just have to be willing to step back and look for it. And, if you still don’t see it, you need to just have confidence that somehow, someway, there is a good reason for whatever is happening.
5. Figure out the steps to take and take them. I am not one for experiencing a challenge any longer than necessary. Although I get it that they may come from time to time, there’s no reason to allow them to linger. Figure out the direction you want to go in and start taking steps to manage through the challenge that has come your way.
Live Today Better than Yesterday.