How to Turn Struggle into Success

How to Turn Struggle into Success

How to turn struggle into success

There was a lot I dealt with over the years (if my twenties are anything to go by, my 30s are going to be a ruddy good time).

There were times I was a wreck, and times I made just enough progress only to have another challenge or setback.

And also I’ve had some amazing times.

I’ve achieved more than I ever thought I would have been able to back in my mid-20s. I’ve had so much support from friends and loved ones. I have a partner who is my rock and stands by me through a lot. I have friends who celebrate with me when things are awesome, and help me with everything from work to washing when I need it.

When I speak to audiences, I talk about both – the ups and the downs, because they’re both important. And the downs are just as important as the ups, if not more so, because I learn from every single one.

So how do you go from a miserable journey to an inspiring one?

It’s all in how you frame it.

And it has to be that way, because the one thing you can’t change is that it happened.

I ask myself how someone else might see my situation.

Seeing what’s happened through someone else’s eyes mean you don’t feel a really strong emotional response. You can see a positive spin on what it shows about you as a person or what you’ve learned.

It doesn’t make you think about the bad things that happened or how it makes you feel – it just shows you a different perspective on the same thing.

For example…

I don’t give up easily. I’m pretty stubborn. Day to day, that’s tough, because it means I slog my guts out even when it feels like I’m getting nowhere and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

So… I actually don’t like it all that much most of the time! But to someone else? That’s perseverance – which, when you want to achieve something, is a pretty good thing.

I don’t feel like I persevere. I feel like I get on with it because I have to and I’m just hoping it all works out in the end – but that’s all part of it.

I hate knowing that I’ve failed in the past – I want things to be straightforward and I’m pretty impatient, so I don’t like waiting for things to work out.

But things not working out, or even the times I’ve just plain failed, have always led to me knowing something I didn’t know before, or finding something out about myself.

And actually, that’s got me to where I am today. If I look back on that, I can see that actually that failure was a success in its own way because I wouldn’t know what I know today without it. As much as it wasn’t fun to go through those things, I have to admit what I’ve discovered along the way because of them.

It’s things like that which help you change how you think about your struggles in life.

What did you learn about yourself as a person?

Looking back now, what were the benefits of going through that?

How could someone else see you in this situation?

The hard part:

Sometimes the hardest part is taking the positive on board.

Because if you’re at a point where you feel you need to put a positive spin on some tough times, you’re probably not feeling great. You don’t feel strong. You don’t feel resilient. You don’t feel like someone who perseveres, or a survivor, or many things particularly powerful.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

That’s why you need to see it from someone else’s point of view – because their thinking isn’t affected by all the other things you think about yourself that stop you seeing the good stuff.

If there’s nothing you can honestly think that is a positive out of what you’ve struggled with, get someone to help you with it. Ask a good friend how they see you or what they think it shows about you that you came through a tough time in your life. No one really tells us what they truly think of us in those moments but it shows that they see you in a very different light than you see yourself.

And, knowing you’ll quite possibly go through some more struggles later on in your life, it really helps to feel like you’ve proved that you’re strong, or honest, or loyal, or dependable – when you know those things about yourself, you find them easier to do and take more pride in doing them.

When difficult times come your way, you’ll be more sure about who you are and you’re less likely to be afraid of moving out of your comfort zone and into whatever it is that counts as success for you – a promotion, parenthood, entrepreneurship.

You can’t change the crappy things that happen. But you can change what you think about them and whether it’s going to be a good or bad thing. And even though it’s not easy to see sometimes, there’s always good there.

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