No one can dispute the fact that at times life is hard.
We’ve all been down, we’ve all felt defeated. There are bad days, bad weeks, bad months… sometimes even bad years.
I’m no different.
I’ve had my share of ups and downs in life as well as in business.
In fact there have been periods in my life when I have felt frustrated by my inability to move forward.
During such times everything feels out of synch, nothing works and you get hit by one challenge after another.
Last week was one of those times.
I’ve been working on a new project and found myself coming up against a few brick walls.
I couldn’t concentrate because everything was taking longer than it should and contractors kept letting me down.
I eventually decided to take a break to clear my head and things are moving again – finally.
I’m fortunate that over the years I’ve developed several ways to bounce back when life is hard. These strategies have helped me successfully overcome loneliness, fear and failure, not to mention financial stress.
This got me thinking about the newbie entrepreneur who is just starting out.
What can you do when you face long periods of defeat? When nothing goes right, how can you stop feeling overwhelmed?
Here are 5 things that have helped me bounce back, even when I’ve been on the brink of disaster. They may help you too.
How To Bounce Back When Life Is Hard
1. You Are Stronger Than You Think
It may not seem this way when you’re in the eye of the storm, but you are stronger than you think.
Your character is far greater than any circumstance that you face.
In fact, you hold deep reserves of strength inside you that enable you to keep going for much longer than you think possible.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of the things you’ve already probably overcome;
- A difficult childhood
- Losing someone you love
- Passing a difficult course
- A debilitating illness
- A broken heart
- A business that failed
- A bitter divorce
- Missing out on promotion
- A negative work situation or bad boss
- Being rejected by a customer
Whatever the situation, during all your challenging times when you felt like the world was caving in and it was “the end” – it wasn’t.
You got through it.
You didn’t buckle under the pressure.
Somehow, you overcame all the difficulties you’ve ever faced and got to where you are today.
This should tell you that you have the strength to get through anything you may face in the future.
It’s what I say to myself whenever I face a seemingly impossible situation. I look back at my life and realize that in spite of everything, I’m still here, I’m still standing.
So stand tall and acknowledge the fact that you aren’t weak. You aren’t a victim.
You have overcome so much in your life already and you can surely get through this too.
2. Life Is Education
You’ve heard the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but how does this apply to creating your dream life?
When you decide to follow your passion you are choosing to live a life that isn’t safe or ordinary. You are leaving behind what you know for the unfamiliar.
No one can quite prepare you for the emotional roller-coaster that comes with starting a business, even an online one.
The only thing you can be sure of is that you are going to face plenty of challenges along the way.
As you work towards your goal you will have to learn new skills, make tough decisions, take risks, challenge your thinking and reevaluate the people around you.
My challenging times have made me much more resilient towards stress. But they’ve also taught me the importance of forgiveness, compassion and humility.
It’s the same for you.
Your struggle will help you grow into a bigger, better and ultimately stronger person. The kind of person who can handle the success you are striving for.
After all, as the old English proverb says: A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
You don’t know how strong you are until you face and overcome adversity.
That’s why it’s important to embrace all your difficulties and treat them as a learning experience.
Keep going. Be strong.
You will come out the other side of your experience a wiser, more knowledgeable, more skilled and more well-rounded person for your efforts.
More importantly, you’ll be the kind of person others desperately seek out when they find themselves in similar trying situations.
3. Choose To Respond Not React
While you can’t control the things that happen to you, you do have complete control over how you respond to any setbacks, problems and irritants.
Did you notice how I said respond and not react?
I firmly believe that words have power.
Our words have the ability to influence our thoughts, our moods and ultimately the course of our lives.
That’s why I’m vigilant about what I think and say, and pay attention to how I’m feeling in a given moment.
One thing that has helped me bounce back from challenges over and over again is the knowledge that I can consciously choose my response in any situation.
Whereas in the past I may have felt overwhelmed or tried to justify myself, I now resist a knee-jerk reaction.
It’s not always easy and I don’t always succeed. But I’m getting better at remaining detached in the face of difficulties or when life is hard.
This helps me make better decisions, especially in emotionally charged situations.
Whenever you react without thinking, you give away your power to the person or thing that has triggered that reaction. Without realizing it you could get drawn into other people’s agendas and dramas. You may also end up saying things you don’t really mean.
People forget that words said in haste are hard to take back.
They can destroy your hard-won reputation in a flash or hurt someone so badly that they ruin that relationship forever.
So don’t react in the heat of the moment.
Take a moment, breathe and think about your response.
It could be that you don’t need to say or do anything at all. Or you may need to get some expert advice or run your ideas past a good friend or mentor.
Whatever it is, let your inner wisdom guide you to respond intelligently.
4. Bad Times Don’t Last
One of the best ways to gain some perspective when life is hard is to remember that nothing lasts forever.
You know that the food you buy expires.
Everything from the clothes you wear to the computer you are using to read this blog post will one day reach its expiration date.
So why not apply this idea to your challenges?
I recently read something that brought this fact home to me. It went something like this;
Every problem has an expiration date.
This is an empowering belief to have because it reminds us that no matter how testing our situation is right now it won’t last forever.
There has to be a point when it will end because nothing in life is constant.
Bad times come and go, just like good times do.
So no matter how stuck you feel, trust that very soon there will be a shift, a breakthrough, a decision, a deadline – whatever – that will bring your challenge to an end.
5. Be Grateful For Good Things
Bad times are fleeting moments but we can let them overshadow the good things in our lives.
It’s easy to convince yourself when you’re having a bad day that you’re having a bad life too.
This is simply not true!
There are probably many good things that you are taking for granted in your life right now.
Start paying some attention to the blessings you have, no matter how small, and have faith that a solution is on its way.
Here are a few suggestions to start you off;
- Be grateful for your friends and loved ones, past and present.
- Celebrate your good health even if you’d rather be a few pounds lighter.
- Appreciate your job as you strive to earn six figures from your lifestyle business.
- Show gratitude for the fact that you have food, clean water, heat and light when others don’t.
- Be thankful that you live in relative freedom and peace at a time when many people around the world are displaced, denied basic rights or face conflict on their doorstep.
When you choose a positive attitude and keep a thankful heart regardless of your circumstances, you send a powerful signal out into the Universe that attracts more good things to you.
Gratitude in one part of your life has the power to melt away struggles and challenges you may be experiencing in other areas.
So rejoice in the great things you have around you— love, laughter, happiness, nature, art, music, family, friends— and define yourself as someone who deserves all of those blessings and more.
Refuse to see yourself as the person who is bogged down by temporary misfortune.
As an entrepreneur, there will be times on your journey when you will feel that life is hard. Even though you’ll be tempted to give up in the face of challenges, don’t let your difficulties get the better of you.
You are much stronger than you think. Your life up to this point proves this so keep going.
Remember that it’s often when we feel most like quitting that we experience our greatest breakthroughs. The darkest hour is always before the dawn, right?
Tell yourself that you are just one step, one move, one connection away from success. Hold this thought in your heart, put one foot in front of the other and take action.
If you do feel that life is not going your way though, reframe your challenges as learning experiences.
Ask yourself what is the lesson at the heart of the matter that can help you become a stronger, better and wiser person – the kind of person who can handle the success you are striving for.
You may not be able to control other people and events, but you always have a choice in how you respond to the things that happen in your life.
Choose to be positive and to keep moving forward. Only you have the power to let your challenges bring you down.
After all, bad times don’t last. Eventually everything must pass including your bad days, bad months, bad years… even failure.
Success is rarely about being the best at what you do. Often it’s about enduring for one moment more.
What helps you cope when life is hard? Have you successfully bounced back from a challenge? Please share your thoughts below.