Turn Past Challenges into a Bright Future
This past year was challenging in many aspects. We have experienced increased pressure from social issues, natural disasters, and political upheavals. We’ve seen struggles between good vs. greed, we have experienced social polarization, and witnessed exposés of our supposed leaders. Life is a journey and that journey’s success is largely governed by our response to our environment.
Before the year is over I’d like to share 3 simple resolutions to unlock your superpowers. Typically, I’m not a fan of resolutions. You might be more like me and prefer to make your goals a part of your lifestyle, rather than driven by the change of your calendar. Regardless, these 3 tips are hugely beneficial to encouraging positive outcomes in the year ahead.
1. Everything Worthwhile is Uphill
Leadership best-selling author, John Maxwell says: “Everything worthwhile is all uphill”. The truth is: you cannot evolve as a person if there are no challenges to overcome. Even so: experience isn’t the best teacher – evaluated experience is. We only gain wisdom and maturity after reflecting on our experiences. Instead of trying to bury your sorrows from previous upheavals in your life – think about what you have learned from last year and how it has changed you.
- What challenges did you meet in the previous year that you feel that you couldn’t overcome but did?
- How did the experience change you and what did you learn?
- Are you better equipped to handle similar challenges in the future?
- What action items can you put in place to ensure that you are better equipped in the future?
You don’t get a map to tell how to navigate life. I’ve felt mentally and emotionally beat up while being scared of the unknown. But, I didn’t get where I am today by allowing my fear to keep me boxed in. I finally realized that I had to move forward even if the path wasn’t clear for me. If you set a goal and move toward it one step at a time, you will be surprised how much you can accomplish!
2. Develop a Positive Perspective
You’ve heard the over-used cliché: ‘attitude is everything’? The biggest roadblock that stops people from developing wisdom and overcoming challenges is having a bad attitude. Your personal growth depends your perspective and it’s incredibly easy to have a negative one. Humans can be inclined to see the bad and the ugly before the good.
Reflect whatever your top inputs are. It’s been said that you become like the 5 people you are around most frequently. If you have mostly negative inputs, you will probably reflect that in your attitude. If you are intentional about including positive inputs in your life you will probably have a more balanced outlook.
- List your top common inputs during a day or week and reflect on how they might impact your perspective.
- Eliminate at least one potentially negative input and observe if you feel less stressed for the next two weeks. Then, repeat that action with things you can control until you feel less ‘weighted down’.
- Think about the people you enjoy being around. Are they Negative Nellies or Uplifters? Chances are, they are uplifters.
- Remember that happiness is a decision not a condition. Just like anger and jealousy, happiness is ultimately a choice. Don’t underestimate the value of peacefulness, quiet, and calm because these feeling are a part of happiness too.
We are a product of our inputs and that, in turn, impacts our perspective. I remember that I was a very stressed and irritable person in my early career. That stress spilled over into my personal life. I allowed my environment to manage me instead of the other way around.
Unwittingly, I gave my power away to circumstances and other people every day. When I realized what I was doing I slowly took charge of my emotional well-being. It literally changed my life! Now I am very intentional (because it rarely happens naturally) about maintaining a more positive focus and including positive inputs in my life.
3. Learn to Appreciate Yourself
In my experience, a lack of self-appreciation is the single biggest hurdle that keeps people from achieving their potential. I see it in every single client I coach and I’ve had to wrestle with this as well. It’s not easy and we aren’t taught how to see the good in ourselves. It’s infinitely more common for us to make a mistake and let it brand us for life.
The problem is – it’s very difficult to out-perform our own negative self-perceptions. To make matters worse, we are conditioned from childhood to downplay our accomplishments. There’s a difference between humility and a lack of self-worth, which doesn’t allow you to affirm or empower yourself. Understanding your value and appreciating yourself is particularly important for positive personal as well as career growth.
- List everything you do well. All of your skills, abilities and expertise.
- Develop a solid practice of affirming and documenting your positive attributes and accomplishments.
- Leverage your impact. Keep a ‘Kudos’ file and make an Impact Inventory.
- Keep a Gratefulness Log or Journal with notes about your daily positives.
Unlock Your Superpowers
As you wave goodbye to last year, remind yourself that most of the solutions to life’s challenges are inside of you. If you desire more out of your life and your future: what changes and steps can you take to make it a reality? What negative habits can you give up to go up?
What I want most in the coming year is to help you become more self-empowered so you can defy your perceived limits and achieve your dreams. Unplug from toxic behaviors, inputs, and perspectives. Appreciate who you are so you can grow. This year, instead of just making resolutions: establish an actionable vision plan to unlock your superpowers and reach your goals.