How To Handle Challenges Like A Boss
“The women I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get there because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days. But they handled it.” - Unknown
Without sounding cliche (although that in itself is a cliche - oh the irony), where has time gone? Already a quarter a way through the year and it feels like so much has happened. Personally, these last three months have been my most challenging ever - a result of changes in my private life and the joys and stresses associated with undertaking a new professional project - and there’s still another nine months to go! I’ll be damned.
The tone for 2018 definitely seems to be one of massive growth, something that can only develop from pushing and challenging ourselves in ways that, while at first may seem uncomfortable, with further reflection is the medicine we all need. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we can’t grow without a little adversity. Progress comes from the hustle, the grind, effort, energy, sweat and pain. Rick Warren is quoted as saying, “there is no growth without change, no change without fear or loss and no loss without pain” and I believe him. After all, diamonds aren’t formed with hugs and kisses - a little pressure needs to be applied.
With that in mind, I’ve become conscious that my focus has been all over the place as I try and juggle everything going on in my life atm. Thus, in yet another attempt to pull it back (and get my shit together, as my favourite saying goes), I’m working to embrace the challenges I face. Changes and hardships are going to come our way, whether we like it or not, but instead of waiting for life to happen to me, I’d like to get on top of the game and handle shit. When things go wrong, as they most often do, I’d like the be the kind of person that stays cool, calm and collected and manages the situation effectively without freaking out, complaining, hiding in the bathroom and crying, etc…
I’m a woman on a mission and these are some of the ways I’m working to handle the challenges in my life, in my never-ending quest to be the best and most boss version of myself I can be.
GRATITUDE + AFFIRMATIONS
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
Gary Vee (I think I must quote him in every post!) regularly discusses his appreciation for the grind and struggle. Perhaps he’s a bit of a masochist or perhaps he understands that when pain equals growth and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (I’m full of sayings today), it makes sense to welcome discomfort for progress. Under that logic, I say a prayer of gratitude every morning, especially for the challenges I face each day because by learning to overcome them, I believe I will keep getting better and better.
In amongst that, recently I have started writing daily affirmations for myself. In layman's terms, affirmations are the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment; a belief that a positive mental attitude and proclamation of good things in your life can lead to success by rewiring the brain. It’s similar to a calling of things into existence or even the Law of Attraction. Initially, I was sceptical about the idea (as I am with most things it seems) but after watching The Slumflower discuss the ways in which affirmations have positively impacted her life over the last year, I’m ready to give it a go too. It’s only been a week but I’ve found that it gives me a focus for each day - a little something I can hold on to when things go tits up and I need some motivation to keep going. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some helpful examples of positive affirmations to practice daily.
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE FATTEST WORM
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
I hated when my Mum used to say this to me as a teen but as usual... she’s always right! After spending every evening for a week writing down the one way I could have made my day better, I noticed a desire to begin tasks earlier so as to get even more on top of my workload. I like to kickstart my mornings by reading or journalling but depending on how many times I hit the snooze button, I can find myself feeling rushed and frantic. It sets the mood for the day and if I’m already trying to play catchup at 8 am, a ripple effect will occur for the next 12 hours. And yes it’s easier said than done but even waking up 30 minutes earlier each day can have an amazing effect of feeling more in control. Essentially, the sooner I get up and handle shit, the sooner it's handled! So whether you choose to meditate or want to give some time to a personal project before work, an earlier start is a form of proactivity. It is a means of taking charge and letting yourself run the day rather than letting the day run you.
“If you’re not open to constructive criticism, then you’re not open to truly growing as a person.”
Always the perfectionist, I've shied away from criticism in the past for fear of my work not being good enough. I’ve even been so afraid of criticism that I haven’t done any work so that there would be nothing to judge. But gathering feedback isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing, and the more I do it, the more effective I can become. It allows us to act as researchers in brainstorming what is working well and what isn’t. Of course, it can feel awkward and unnerving for someone to pinpoint flaws in you or the work that you dedicate so much time and energy to but if you don’t address those issues, you don’t grow. Seeking out helpful criticism is another form of communication that provides an opportunity to learn and forces us to reevaluate our working process. Never take it personally and use it as momentum to become the best!