Change always creates friction. You can’t run against the establishment without creating conflict. Sometimes lots of it. So, you need to have a plan for managing the damage that comes your way.
It is safe to assume, and wise to anticipate, that despite your well-made plans and passionate intentions that the bottom will drop out.
The question isn’t “if”.
And the question isn’t really “when”.
The question is “how much”.
It doesn’t take you long to realize that life isn’t a fantasy land of unicorns and rainbows. It’s about trying and trying and trying when no one else would dare to try one more time.
So what’s the plan when you don’t feel like trying any more?
1. Understand and manage your emotions.
It’s natural to be emotional. It’s inescapable. And it’s also your biggest liability in getting through tough times. Your emotions don’t allow you to see things as they really are. What you feel is always much scarier and less manageable when you’re emotional.
2. Know who loves you.
When things get bad, surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart. The best therapy is love. And not the kind you pay a therapist for — the stuff you get from those you know love you deeply. Make sure they’re the people you’re getting advice from. Make sure they are the ones you’re talking to. Just go be around them. Get some love.
3. Pick apart your problem.
Usually there isn’t a single problem that is impacting your success. It’s a series of problems, your fears, and lots of uncertainty. Instead of looking at the entire problem as one insurmountable issue, chunk the problem down into tiny pieces. Take it apart one thing at a time. You’ll get the best perspective on solving hard problems when you see all the tiny contingencies that make the issue seem more scary than it might really be.
4. Take back control.
The best way to solve mental issues is through physical activity. Call it whatever you want — crazy exercise, screaming at the wall, or two hands on a punching bag. Whatever you do, you need to get physical, fast. What we know about the brain is that taking action negates the power that fear and uncertainty have on us. So, do something. Right now.
5. Ask for help.
Now that you see the world in a new light and have broken your problem down into tiny pieces, look around you at the people who can help you solve some of your problems. Instead of asking them to solve the entire big problem you have, you’ll get better results by asking for help solving specific parts of the problem. You might also get some new ideas that you didn’t have before.
6. Write out a plan.
Put it all on paper. Once you see what the issues are and what you need to do, it is helpful to put it all in a place where you can come back and revisit your strategy. There is something healing about writing out your personal turnaround plan. It makes it real. And you increase your odds of making it happen.
7. Violently perform.
You have your issues and have asked for help and have written down your strategy. Now it is time to execute. Instead of chaotically flailing around, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to keep you on point and focused. That means you allocate time each day in your schedule for solving pieces of your problem. You get something done each day until you are where you want to be.
8. Accept responsibility.
In almost all cases, solving problems requires that you take back control over circumstances that you have relinquished to someone else. Now is the time for you to make yourself responsible for the outcome. Don’t blame anyone else. Own your solution. When there is no one else to turn to but yourself you tend to spend more time getting things done rather than coming up with wild excuses.
9. Fix future screw ups.
Learn the lessons from the problems that you solved. If you contributed to your problem, then take the time to develop new habits or learn new skills in order to avoid those problems ever developing again. Ask yourself: “what am I willing to do so that this never happens again?” and then do that. You’ll save yourself future heartbreak.
10. Teach your triumph.
Chances are, if you are struggling with a problem, there are quite a few other people struggling with the exact same problem. And they may not have the solution you have for breaking problems into smaller pieces, asking for help, and achieving personal success. They might just be wallowing in doubt and self-pity. Take the lessons you’ve learned and share them with those who need help. Helping others is the best remedy for healing yourself.
Problems will crush you if you let them.
You can crush problems if you plan to.
If you’re not in the middle of one right now you’ll be stumbling into one all too soon.
You don’t need to be scared. You just need to have a plan.
And then crush it.