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When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Here’s strategies to take when things don’t go as planned.

  1. Create a vision for yourself. How do you envision yourself? Keep that mental image for yourself when things go wrong. (When I’m running a half-marathon race, I always envision myself crossing the finish line in 1st place. I envision my legs and my lungs at an Olympic level of fitness in order to get me to the end of the race.) Envision yourself winning, succeeding and prospering.
  2. Write it down. Write down your vision, your dreams and most importantly, your daily goals that will help you achieve your fullest potential. Write it down and read it aloud every morning and every night. Do this, don’t just do it in your mind. Write it down!
  3. Accept that sometimes completion is better than perfection. Sometimes you just need to finish something, it might not be pretty, and it might not be your ultimate best, but finish it. Just complete the task! Aim for completion not perfection sometimes. Because lingering in the perfectionism-trap will only cause you paralysis, it will limit your creativity, your energies and eventually lead to self-doubt.
  4. Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep it simple. You don’t need to figure out your entire life right this minute. You just need to finish this paper, or write a blog, or work up the courage to do a cold-call for your business. Focus JUST on the task at hand. You don’t have to have everything figured out to keep moving forward.
  5. Check for constructive feedback. Constructive criticism is meant to help you, not harm you. Get used to asking and being open to feedback from others. Why are you not succeeding with this particular project? Why are you struggling with this issue? Talk it over with someone who can provide new insight into your current struggles.
  6. Meditate. The science surrounding meditation is undeniable. Take a few moments for yourself, be in the silence, let go of your thoughts, your emotions and just be still. It can clear your mind, energize you and change your negative thought patterns.
  7. Build your self-confidence by training. Confidence is a skill that takes time and practice to fully develop. Just like critical writing or thinking skills, all it takes is practice, practice, practice.
  8. Find the joy. Where do you find joy? When you’re struggling with obstacles in your life, focus on the things that find you joy to bring you out of your funk. For me, it’s running or exercise. Even just going out for a quick 3km run resets my mind and spirit. It energizes me. I’m a health nut, so holding the plank position for 90 seconds  (see plank below) actually makes me feel good.
  9. Stop complaining. When things don’t work out, you have 4 choices. Accept the situation for what it is; retreat;  do nothing (and wish things were different); or change the situation. There are real-time consequences for any of these choices. But you do have a choice.
  10. Focus on results, not effort. Just because you worked hard, put in a lot of hours or “really tried your best,” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good enough. Keep focusing on the results you get, not just the effort you’re putting in. If you’re not getting results after sustained effort, you might need to re-think your strategy.