Embracing Challenges: 7 Quick Tips to Bolster Your Resilience  

Embracing challenges seems very counter-intuitive. Most people don’t like challenges. That makes sense. After all, when you’ve got a goal that you’re trying to accomplish, the last thing you want or need is something standing in your way. Challenges seem to make us stand still. They keep us from getting where we want to go. They cause us to lose whatever momentum we’ve built up.

If you’re facing some life challenges, it can be hard to remember that it’s normal to have obstacles crop up from time to time. Everyone has setbacks, disappointments, and tough times. But going through a rough patch doesn’t have to spoil your life. The key to thriving in the face of adversity is how you respond to the obstacles in your path. 

Embracing challenges to bolster your resilience and get what you want...

It’s not what happens in life that defines you but how you deal with your situations. You have heard by now the phrase when life gives you lemons turn them into lemonade. This is true today as it was whenever the first person coined the phrase. 

Whatever you’re doing when you hit the obstacle, quit it. When you stop, you give yourself time to consider the options without all the emotions flaring up. You guard yourself against acting impulsively in a way you might come to regret later on.

To do this: Start by taking a deep breath or two. 

Use the following tips to help you turn adversity into success.

1.    Embracing Challenges: Make a Decision

If you’re having a tough time, it can be easy to feel helpless, even that you’re a victim. But it’s up to you to rise to the challenge and decide that you won’t be overwhelmed. Choosing to take control and embrace your challenge is the first step in overcoming it. Look your obstacle square in the face and resolve to meet it.

Believe in what you are doing! You have heard the classic tale how Thomas Edison continued 10,000 times before getting the light bulb to the way he wanted it. It’s hard to say if that number became exaggerated over the years, but he likely tried several thousand times at least. The point is, he believed in what he was doing. When you try something that is untested, you need to take a leap of faith. Otherwise, it’s too easy to give up on your venture.

If your adverse situation is due to procrastinating, you can probably figure out you need to stop that behavior. If you let something build because it’s uncomfortable to deal with, in most cases, the situation will get worse. Don't wait to try again!

2.    Be okay with discomfort while embracing challenges

The proof that you’re embracing challenges is acknowledging that it doesn’t feel good. It can feel uncomfortable, heavy, even painful. There are lots of life experiences that hurt at the time but end up being for your best and highest good. From marathon training to going to the dentist to public speaking, even facing your debtors, you feel so much better once you’ve faced the worst. Remember it won’t last forever. Don’t shrink from the bad feelings. You can ride them out!

You can and you will conquer your fears! Often, adversity is due to not taking action because you are fearful. When you face your fears, you can move past the adverse situation and get on with your life. Try some daring activities like bungee jumping or skydiving. The point is to create situations that you would not normally find yourself doing. Usually, when you overcome one fear, the process helps you to overcome all of them. 

3.    Embracing challenges requires setting realistic expectations

You could have tried to accomplish something that is not possible or beyond your current level of skills. By adjusting your expectations, you may be able to succeed in your situation. Here’s where a little flexibility is going to go a long way.

Start examining the alternatives. Be as creative as possible and don’t discount anything offhand for being too silly. Sometimes it’s those silly ideas that are going to get you thinking along a different path entirely. Sure, it’s normal to feel some disappointment at this point. Chances are you had your path all planned out. But when you consider all the new possibilities, it’s easy to get excited about trying something new. Use this energy to fuel you toward the next step.

This may sound defeatist, but I've always found it helpful to set the bar low for myself. I set the bar so low that I'm bound to be successful!  Frequently our problem with obstacles starts with trying to take on too much at once. In moving forward, re-examine the goal you were trying to accomplish.

How can you break down your goal into smaller steps? By focusing on these more modest goals, you’ll find it easier to move ahead. Also, you won’t be quite so overwhelmed by the big picture.

4.    Make sure you have a support team while embracing challenges

You don’t have to face your obstacles alone. It can make all the difference to have people around you who are supportive, who’ll stick by you and cheer you on when you want to give up.

If you have a cheer squad, you’ll find that extra level of energy to help get you through. And you’ll be there for your friends and colleagues when they’re facing their challenges. 

Once you’re part of a team who have each other’s backs, none of you will have to face life’s ups and downs alone. You’ll fight together and celebrate success together.

Sometimes embracing challenges means allowing others to support you and help you. (I know...this is a tough one for me, too.) Others can help you to turn your situation around. It’s rare that anyone faces something unique. Others have been through what you are going through. Reach out to them. It’s better to get the help you need than to needlessly struggle with your situation. Some people avoid reaching out because they are embarrassed. Just remember, those people once went through it, too. They know what you are dealing with.

5.    Be grateful while embracing challenges

Feeling gratitude for the challenges in life might sound counter-intuitive. But think about it. Accepting the challenge, resolving to meet it head-on, and overcoming it makes you a better, stronger person. Think of how good it feels to deal with a problem and solve it. To face fear and overcome it.

Without challenges in your life, you would not grow and learn and become a better person. Obstacles are a natural, normal part of living an authentic life.

Learn from your failures! If you ask any successful person how they got that way, they will most likely tell you it’s due to overcoming failures. They learned from those failures and tried something different. Each iteration, they learned something new from their failures. They continued until there were no failures.

As the saying goes: When you lose, don't lose the lesson!

I know...I know. I don't want to hear this, either. It's the only helpful option, though. The alternative is to remain stuck, and that sucks even more than trying to learn something from the current not-so-great situation.

6. Be Honest With Yourself About How You're Feeling

People tend to hide their true feelings or deny that they are facing a situation. Try some introspective to learn what is truly going on.

Define the emotions you’re feeling, then wait for them to calm. Knowing whether you’re sad, or angry, or frustrated will help you to find that calm place faster, as you would address each emotion differently. For example, ask yourself what you’re angry at if you are indeed angry. If you’re sad, accept the sorrow as being a natural part of the disappointment of meeting something that keeps you from your goal.

As challenging as it might be, don’t try to rush through the feeling or push it down. The best way to use this setback as fodder for out-of-the-box thinking is to embrace the emotion, no matter what it is. Own it and feel it in your body. Once you feel it’s settled, you’re ready to move on. This process may take an hour, a day, or a week, depending on how major the project and how substantial the complication.

7. Celebrate Your Victories!!!

It might seem odd to be thinking about celebrations when talking about obstacles but consider this: When you celebrate your accomplishments, you embrace the journey you’ve been on, barriers and all. Even if you’ve stalled out completely, you can celebrate the progress you made and the work you put into the project. These are all worth getting excited about, and the emotions here are worth embracing.

Then when the party is over, ask yourself where you want to go from here. Make choosing a new goal part of the celebration. That’s also something to get excited over.

In the end, when you're embracing challenges, you’re likewise embracing a new way of thinking. You’re adjusting your mindset to one of success instead of failure. You’re accepting there are different ways to do things, and that the things standing in your way are more often new opportunities than a true stopping point. You’re looking at life in a way which allows you to go places you never thought possible before.

The key here is in control. Your emotions shouldn’t be what’s holding your back. Of course, it’s okay to feel what you do when you meet with an obstacle. The key is in not staying there when it’s time to move forward again because you will move forward again if you keep trying.

Please check out my Free Stuff page for some quick tools to get you feeling better right away.

Also, if you take a look in the Self-Help Shop, you'll see all the programs I use myself and that I recommend. Many of these programs offer free samples - you know I love free! While embracing challenges, be gentle with yourself and care about yourself. Expect to feel better. It is absolutely possible, but you have to be willing to do something to change your brain's programming. 

Embracing Challenges and More Brain Hacks