Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with a challenging situation.
Now, imagine you’re seated in a room with 5000 others. Do you really think you’d be the only one sitting there with your hand in the air?
Of course not.
EVERYONE in the room would have their hand in the air.
We all know facing challenges is just par for the course for the living.
Yet, when challenges present themselves to us, rarely are we happy about it.
Ultimately, our attitude towards challenges determines whether our trials will strengthen or weaken us.
When approached constructively, with awareness of both positive and negative drivers, challenges offer the opportunity for every one of us to dig deeper and discover what we’re truly capable of.
Did you know that it’s highly likely you’re acting in ways that aren’t really you?
That you’re simply repeating patterns of behaviour you learned as a child?
From conception we’re listening and learning from our environment – including how we should respond to the different situations life sends our way. These habits are so ingrained that when something happens, we automatically react before we’re even aware of what we’re doing.
For example, a friend of mine was brought up in a family where, to get your point heard in a ‘discussion’, you had to shout louder than everyone else. Today, as an adult, her default response to a ‘discussion’ where she feels her point of view isn’t being heard is to shout. It’s a negative pattern of behaviour she learnt from her environment, but it persists because when she shouts the loudest and ‘wins’ the argument, she reinforces in her subconscious that this behaviour works and is the right action to take when challenged.
How do you respond when challenged? Do you get angry? Do you get defensive? Do you withdraw? Do you take your frustration out on others?
In my mid 30s I became aware that my main response to life’s challenges was I would blame myself first. I would ask questions like “what did I do to make that happen?” (Note that self-blame is not the same as taking accountability. Taking accountability is self-empowering. Blame is always self-defeating.) Since that time, I’ve come to understand that self-blame resolves nothing, it just makes me feel worse about myself. And, when I feel shame and guilt, I’m not looking for solutions to the challenge at hand, I’m mired in self-pity and self-doubt.
The challenge with using these ‘negative’ patterns of behaviour to overcome our obstacles is that regularly they work. Take the example of my friend from earlier. Using the behaviour of yelling the loudest means she’s the person who yells the loudest and so she wins the argument and goes away happy. The question remains… was the argument really resolved? To my friend, yes, but to everyone else? Potentially no. Her behaviour created a win-lose situation and whilst she may have won the battle, for the others the war was still waging.
The language we use to describe the challenges we face reflects how we see them. Often, we label life’s challenges as “hard, bad or difficult”. Events are “catastrophic”. We say we’re “devastated”. And yes, in the moment, those descriptions may well be accurate. We come unstuck when we continue to feed the story and look to reinforce those descriptions as 100% true. Have you ever met someone who was still devastated about the breakdown of their marriage many years later? We often say they simply ‘haven’t moved on’. The truth is that the person’s subconscious continued to look for reinforcement of the belief that they were “devastated” until the belief was so strong that it literally prevented them from moving forward with their life.
Many people wish for an easier life and blame God, the government, their wife, kids or employees when things don’t go the way they think it should. In my opinion, the blaming only reinforces the belief that challenges are to be avoided. If we truly had the perspective that a challenge is presented to us for our benefit, what need is there to look for someone to blame?
Personally, I believe when we embrace life’s challenges we find better solutions to the challenges we face and become the person we were meant to be. Someone has said “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”
Imagine you’re on the 20th floor of a building.
Connecting your building to the next building is a 30cm wide, unsecured plank of wood.
I say to you, “I’ll give you $5 to walk across that plank.”
What is your response?
Of course, there’s always someone who says, “I’ll take it!” but most people say, “No thanks”. Why? Because the reward is disproportionate to the risk. However, now imagine your kids are in the building beside you and that building is on fire. The only way your children can be rescued is if you to walk across that wooden plank and bring them back to safety. Would you do it? Most people say, “Yes! In a heartbeat”. Why? Because now they’ve got a big enough reason – or driver – to do it.
In my experience if we’ve got a big enough reason – or driver – we will not let anything (and I mean anything) get in our way. We will do whatever it takes to work through our current situation to get what it is that we want achieve.
What’s the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
My question to you is, “How prepared are you to do what you’ve got to do to change that?”.
When most people answer that question, they answer it from the conscious part of their brain which says, “Of course I am!”. BUT, the reality is that they’re not actually prepared to do what they need to do, because if they were, they usually would have done it already!
That’s why our process is so focused on supporting our clients to identify what truly is important to them. Not what their family or friends or society says it should be, but what is truly important to them. When our clients know what truly that drives them, they’re free to let go of the guilt and the stress and the shame of not being the person they thought they should be and can start becoming the person they were always meant to be.
But how do you use this self-awareness to overcome personal challenges? Well, I’m so glad you asked because it’s actually very simple. You simply tie the activity you have to do to an outcome that relates back to your highest drivers. As we say to our clients, if you really want your life story, you’ll do whatever you have to do in your business to get it. In this way, our clients tie the business results directly to them living the life they want. What they want becomes a powerful, positive driver.
To effectively leverage the obstacles in our lives for our own benefit and the benefit of our family, we must firstly use self-awareness to uncover negative, habitual responses to situations which we perceive to be negative. Second, we must use our language consciously, so that we’re not unintentionally reinforcing beliefs that may not be true after the moment has passed. Finally, to really accelerate our results, we must know our personal values hierarchy – our positive drivers. In my experience, the best way to grow through life’s obstacles is to know what is the most important thing to me right now. With a focus on that I know I have the energy and tenacity to find a better solution. Nothing and no-one will stop me!
If you’d like to know more about your personal positive drivers and uncover the negative drivers holding you back from the life you truly want, reach out. We’d love to walk beside you on your journey to achieving the business and life you deserve.
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