Sustaining Your Success through Personal Adversity: Some Suggested Do's and Don'ts
by Nina Ham
We generally think the path to success consists of setting the bar high and challenging ourselves, bringing our best, to soar over it. During times of personal tribulation, the path to success can be barely perceptible. Life being what it is, to achieve sustainable success we must learn to navigate through dark swamps and over rocky mountains, not only under balmy skies with a good wind at our backs.
For those of you who may be struggling through some type of hardship - health, financial, romance - here are some suggestions that may help support forward momentum, however halting or slow.
When you've lost track of priorities It's an odd trait of the human nature that when the mind is under stress it seems better able to respond to questions than to initiate ideas. Ask someone to walk you through an inventory of the things that most need to be done.
Do: have no more than 3 items on your "Must Do" list at a time; add more as items get completed.
Do: Include a "Do as/when possible" list of no more than 4 items. As little as five minutes daily spent on each of them builds forward momentum and accomplishes more than you'd expect.
[For more time management tips, see http://www.successfromtheinsideout.com/e_letters/timemanagement.htm]
Do: Red flag all mental messages that contain "I should..." or "Yes, but..." Those messages may be coming from the part of your mind that refuses to acknowledge how difficult this period of time is. Take a second look, or better yet get a reality check from someone who knows you well.
Don't rely on your memory...Write it down! Memory crumbles when under stress.
Don't: Tasks involving anxiety or frustration will be 10x the normal degree of difficulty. Avoid or postpone them wherever possible.
When you aren't meeting your own expectations Are those expectations realistic, within current circumstances? You may not be the best judge at times like this. Talk it over with someone who knows your situation wherever possible.
Do: Be candid with others who have legitimate expectations of you. Taking the initiative to explain your situation and be direct about what you can and can't do during this time can relieve a lot of pressure.
Do: For every task you decide is a "must do", postpone or hire help for another task. Get your groceries delivered! Hire a Resume writer.
Do: Remember hard times don't last forever.
Do: Pay attention to "bad moods" and resentments. They're often indicators that what you may think is a realistic expectation of yourself in fact isn't.
Do: treat yourself as though you're convalescing. You are! Rest and treating yourself gently may get you back to where you want to be faster than trying to meet those expectations.
Don't: give up on miracles. Occasionally something will be easier than you anticipate, or go more quickly. Be open to surprises.
Do: Remember a missed opportunity may well return in a different guise. Keep an open mind after saying "no" to something that's too much for you right now.
Do: Identify one item/day you can ask for help with. And ask!
Success from the inside out is defined as doing and being your best with whatever presents itself. The perspective and resilience that accrue from navigating through hard times form priceless building blocks as you move toward your success vision. Good to know...Often difficult to remember! Consider writing out any of these tips that resonate for you and posting them where they can't be missed. And most important: be gentle with yourself. This will pass, and the sun will shine again.
About the Author
Nina Ham, certified career coach and licensed psychotherapist, is Principal of Success from the Inside Out. Her company provides coaching services to midlife women in career transition or to those preparing to move out of salaried employment. Nina is also Designer and Master Facilitator of Success and Me: A Game of Self Discovery, a facilitated game designed to guide people to their uniquely personal visions of success.