How To Turn Challenges into Opportunities

I have been talking a lot lately about my struggles.  Of trying to decide if the glass is half empty or half full?  My vision has been blurred (and not just by the glaucoma) with the struggle to process thoughts, find my passion and to stay focused. Do you look at the world through rose-colored glasses? Some days I do.

We’ve all heard those sayings, right?  We may have actually felt the distinct difference between viewing life with a positive perspective and viewing it with a negative one.  Positive beliefs draw more positive things, right?

My struggles with emotions is real… some days I want to curl up in a ball and cry for no apparent reason.  Then there are days when I feel like the movie “50 Dates”, you know the one where she keeps reliving the same day and is always happy.  All of these challenges hold opportunity but the key is learning how to change the mindset.

When it comes to facing life’s challenges—because we all have them—we have the change to reframe them,  appreciating how struggles help us build strength and resilience. I could be a world-class weight lifter if that was the case.  LOL.  The key is to train our minds to view these challenges in a more positive light by first reflecting on our lives, identifying those tough times, and understanding how they shaped us and made us stronger.

As I reflect on the past challenges, those I can remember, I struggle with understanding them but I do see how they have made a huge impact on my life.  I can see how the negative mindset has led me on the path of relapse and had me looking at life as if I was a victim.  As I moved into recovery, I am slowly able to embrace the positive in all of life’s challenges and move forward.

In every challenge—and in the time which follows—we build strength and resilience. We don’t have the power to change the past, but we do have the power to find the positive within the past and use it to create a greater impact today.

Thank you for sticking with me during these challenges… my blog posts tend to ramble, my Thirty One business continues despite my bad days, and The Angel Connection is starting to grow.  I guess you are wondering where is the challenge, right?  For me, the challenge in finding my passion and deciding where I want to head in the future.  How am I moving forward?  I am reflecting on these key questions:

What are you learning? How are you growing?

I’m looking for the growth from each difficulty especially in my relapse and my MS diagnosis.  I’m trying to identify new knowledge I’ve gained, relationships I’ve built, or personal growth I’ve experienced. The truth is I’m moving forward despite these challenges, which means I’m strong and resilient, right? I need to open my eyes to the positive outcomes.  I know the lessons I have learned will help me to find my passion again and decide the direction for my business.

How does this challenge reinforce what you are grateful for in your life?

Practicing gratitude has been BIG during my recovery.  I have felt ungrateful for all of the problems which came from my relapse.  I felt resentful.  I needed to find gratitude for what it’s given me and what it’s shown me. As I  look at everything in my life—the big and little things—and learn to appreciate them, it is those things which will help me during the tough times.

What boundaries will you put in place in your life to avoid future challenges and allow yourself to grow?

With the lessons you learn and the strength you build, consider whether there are ways you can adjust your mindset or actions to prevent future challenges. Sometimes life events are out of your control, but other times, you can make changes to move you toward a life of growth, positivity, and purpose.  My MS may be out of my control but continuing in recovery is something I can work on daily.

Today’s post has been a ramble, a way for me to share not only my personal struggles but to try and reframe it to help someone else.  It you are struggling to discover your strength and resilience today, try these simple steps:

  • Use the above questions to look at a challenge from your past. How has this challenge made you stronger and more resilient?  Believe it or not, it has!
  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Focus on the positive in your life, no matter what the circumstances. Large or small, it doesn’t matter.

Now, think about one way you can live out your purpose today—and then do it! It could be as simple as a random act of kindness or buying someone a coffee.  Living with purpose requires strength and resilience. Tap into those and challenge yourself to grow further.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!