• David Strittmatter

As much as I love it: this situation is challenging

When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge - every adversity - contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. ― Roy T. Bennett

Dear friend,


I just got on a new consulting project: New information, new people, new places.


The start of every project is exciting. You learn about an organization, its business, and its industry. You form new relationships. And you travel to places you’ve never been before.


As much as I love it: this situation is challenging. At the beginning of my career, I felt as if I couldn’t learn all this new information and build working relationships fast enough. Today, though, I enjoy the process and love the challenge.


What I learned in more than half a dozen consulting projects: Never stress yourself about the things you cannot control. And fall in love with the process of becoming better every day.


When things get really challenging


Imagine you’re a team of 3: 1 project lead and 2 consultants. 1 consultant becomes sick and cannot work on the project anymore. It’s the first week. The situation is already challenging. Then, this happens.


What do you do?


Stress yourself out?


No!


A plane that isn’t on time, a client who is sick, a topic you have little experience in the beginning, … Each project has plenty of uncontrollable factors.


The key is to keep calm and do the best you can do.


Life offers challenges everywhere. And we all face challenges from time to time. Instead of avoiding challenges, wouldn’t it be smart to learn to best deal with them?


Learn to deal with challenges


The first step is to embrace challenges. Challenges at the brink of our capabilities make us feel highly engaged - the key ingredient for a happy life. Challenges are good, not bad per se.


Second, learn how to stop overstressing and perform better. Too much stress is bad not only for your long-term health but also for your mental well-being. Dealing with stress is a skill, something you can learn. Dealing successfully with challenges requires learning stress management.


Third, adopt a “we can do it” mindset. In challenging situations, pessimism makes things rather worse than better. Once you’re “in the midst of a battle”, it’s time to aim for victory.


Optimism will make the challenge enjoyable. Most challenges in life don’t have a binary outcome - win or lose, good or bad, perform or not perform. Even though the outcome might not be as good as you might have imagined in your optimism, you still didn’t worry about all the things that could wrong.


In the end, nobody can predict what will happen - whether optimist, pessimist, or realist. The optimist, though, enjoys the ride. And that’s what life is all about.


All the best to you and yours,

David

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