You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
Perhaps you broke a string mid-solo at an important performance and blew a deal with an industry executive.
Or maybe you lost your job, so you’re going to have to find another way to make an income.
Whatever the case, we all find ourselves in trying circumstances from time to time. It’s not a matter of if but when.
But in my experience, it doesn’t matter what you are going through. What matters is how you respond to it.
Here are seven crucial things you can do when you’re trying your hardest but you’re just not winning.
1. Express Gratitude
If you’ve been led to believe that you should only be thankful in the good times, you’ve been led astray. When things are hard, that’s when you need to dig deep and find the things that you are presently thankful for.
Appreciation can shorten the amount of time you spend in struggle. Conversely, complaining and whining can extend or magnify and increase your troubles.
I like the illustration of The Exodus, in which the Israelites were delivered from slavery and brought out into the desert under the leadership of Moses. But the goal was never the desert; it was the Promised Land. Because of their constant complaining, the Israelites ended up elongating their stay in the desert (for 40 years!), when they could have been enjoying the richness of the Promised Land.
Don’t delay your journey to the Promised Land. Remain grateful for the testing that will give you a great testimony.
2. Revisit Past Victories
If you find yourself in the midst of a trial, it’s an important time to remember your past victories.
Undoubtedly, you’ve had times when you’ve given up. You’ve had times when you took the easy way out instead of taking the high road. I know I have.
But you’ve also had some wins. You’ve overcome. You’ve conquered. You’ve defeated. You’ve surmounted.
Take some time to remember the instances in which you mustered all of your inner resources and went after the solution instead of focusing on the problem. Let those triumphs sink into your consciousness and repeat them in your mind any time you feel discouraged.
3. Review Your Goals
Life works in mysterious ways. Most of us are too short-sighted to be able to see when a present challenge is moving us closer to our goals. That’s why it’s important to review your objectives when you’ve hit a snag.
Moreover, it’s important to remember where you’re going and why you decided it was something you wanted to do in the first place.
Don’t lose sight of your vision when challenges try to cloud it out. Your goal is important. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be encountering resistance. If it was easy, everybody would have done it.
Take some time to reaffirm what is important to you. Just because things don’t appear to be going your way right now, it doesn’t mean your goals are unimportant. The reason you’re running up against adversity is because your dreams are worthwhile.
You must also be careful about prematurely stopping anything that you don’t feel like doing anymore. In times of struggle, there are probably few things you do feel like doing. Don’t take that to mean you should quit everything!
There are many ways of accomplishing the same ends, and there may be times when you are required to redirect your energies toward a new venture. But don’t automatically assume that you are at a crossroads; you could end up taking a detour into the fields of nowhere.
5. Council with Your Mentor
If you’re having a hard time right now, talk it over with a trusted mentor. This is no time to retreat inside and keep to yourself, even though that may be your first instinct.
If you truly trust your adviser, you shouldn’t have any trouble revealing to them what you are going through. After all, they are human just like you. They’ve had their fair share of troubles in their lifetime, and they may be able to help you see the lighter side of what you’re going through.
The danger of never reflecting on your life is that you may not learn anything important. Failures and mistakes always contain lessons, but unless you seek interpretation, you may not find the silver lining in the clouds.
At this juncture, it would be wise to journal and get clear on your feelings. Uncover your inner world, and understand why you feel the way you do. You’ll be amazed at the results.
If you just don’t seem to be winning in anything you’re doing, it may be a good time to reevaluate. But as I noted earlier, beware of jumping to conclusions. You may not be on the wrong path, and some testing on the path to achievement should be expected.
This is where council can be immensely useful. After all, life is meant to be lived in community. Others can often see what you can’t see when you’re going through the storms of life.
With that in mind, if it’s time to move on, then it’s time to move on. Just don’t be too hasty in your decision. Ask for guidance first.
You can’t win them all. And, if you don’t have a plan for what to do when you’re in the midst of a challenge, you may end up running around like a headless chicken. A far better idea would be to lean on the people you trust and take advantage of any tools and resources that are at your fingertips.