5 Things to Do When The Going Gets Tough

Post date: Jul 8, 2016 2:47:06 PM

Most people, when confronted with a difficult roadblock, first quit in haste and then lament in leisure. When the going gets tough, the easiest way out, as most people see it, is to call it quits. This may temporarily remove the difficulty of facing an uphill task and bring in some physical and mental relief. But in the long run, the decision to quit can lead to a disproportionately high price to pay. Further, quitting can impose long term consequences, both in terms of the lost momentum and in terms of the psychological wounds one sustains. You may never be able to fully quantify the total loss suffered due to quitting. So, what should you do when you hit an ‘insurmountable’ roadblock and are considering quitting?

1. Talk to Your Best People

Nothing works more miraculously than thinking out loud in the company of your trusted people. Find an opportunity to talk about your problem with your best people-people you know are good listeners and truly care for you. When you think out loud, you will discover that you have within yourself the secret answer to that baffling question confronting you. Talking out loud is a fantastic way of clearing up your mind and tightening the loose ends in your thinking.

On the other hand, the worst thing you can do when in a challenging situation is to draw shut and keep away from your best people and keep your problem a secret. That way you are only allowing the problem to grow and overwhelm you. Clearly, not a good option!

2. Take a Re-look at the Basics

When all else fails, go to the rule book and read the instructions carefully. It is possible that you have given a cold shoulder to a fundamental guiding principle, which is now causing the problem. Or it is also possible that you are not adhering to a cardinal rule while attempting to solve the problem. To give an example, I have learnt during my early days in McDonalds that a retail store has to have a great location for it to run successfully. Anyone who is working in McDonalds will attest to this cardinal rule that McDonalds teaches its employees. Now, I know a business owner who tried every trick in his hat but could not save his failing business. It was located in an inaccessible corner of a desolate street with very few or no footfalls at all. The best way forward for him is to course-correct and relocate! You can’t argue your way out of a problem when fundamental principles are violated.

3. Re-frame Your Problem

Re-framing is a powerful technique used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. How you frame your problem to yourself and to others determines your approach to the problem. Here is an example of a powerful re-framing:

Instead of saying, “Why is my business failing/ or not taking off along expected lines?” a more powerful re-framing of this would be something like this:

“What 5 things can I do now to push my sales and attract more customers?”

Clearly, this re-framed question forces you to get into a ‘results-mode’ and helps you to focus on finding the real solutions to problems, whereas the earlier question puts you in a “blame-frame”, making you feel guilty and disheartened, without in any way helping to resolve the problem effectively.

4. Brainstorm Options

Brainstorming is an effective technique for generating great ideas. Keep an open mind and write down as rapidly as you can twenty or thirty different ways in which you can increase your sales, for example. The key here is to write down whatever occurs to you as fast as possible without checking whether that is a feasible idea or not. What you are essentially doing here is suspending and disengaging your reasoning brain which would otherwise throw a spanner in the works. Your answers could be downright ‘foolish’ or laughable. Do not bother about that. Just put them down on the paper. Now, evaluate each one of those ideas carefully with an open mind. You will be surprised how creative you can get at finding out-of-the-box solutions to your vexing problems.

5. Draw Inspiration from Successful People in Similar Situations

Nothing can inspire us more than the real life stories of successful people who walked the same difficult path as we do and emerged victorious. Tapping into their rich and inspirational experiences can act like tonic to a sinking patient. Read inspirational stories, listen to audio-books, and enroll in personal development courses to recharge your batteries and muster enough courage to face the challenges head on. In the end, what truly matters is whether you have enough fire in the belly to break through the toughest roadblock.