We’ve all heard the phrase ‘shit happens’ – and the reality is just that. Irrespective of our goals, best laid plans, and dreams for the future… it’s not always smooth sailing. Life has a habit of throwing us curve balls and the path forwards often has far more twists and turns than we ever seem to anticipate. So how do you get back on track when things start to go awry?

HB Life - May 2015This article was published in HB Life Magazine in May 2015 Download

When I’m working with my clients I find it helps them to break down these hiccups into two separate categories: Reactive or external, and Proactive or internal. The ‘Reactive’ challenges are the things that come up that are totally outside your control and involve external people or circumstances. Conversely, the ‘Proactive’ challenges are those that occur in relation to the actions that you are taking to achieve your goals. With this understanding they become better equipped to either ensure that they take a breath and respond, rather than reach, to the external challenges; or have re-think and adjust the actions their taking to get a different result.  

Here’s a few more tips to help you stay on track and recover quickly when you hit a bump in the road (or even a crater).

Tip #1 – Expect the Unexpected.  Now that doesn’t mean expect everything to wrong. However if you approach things with the view that a few hiccups are inevitable, then you’re less likely to get knocked of course when they arise and more likely to take them in your stride. Conversely if you do tend to worry and expect things to go wrong – then it’s highly likely that’s what you’ll create. So be optimistic and expect good things and be ready for a few bumps so you absorb them well and keep going.

Tip #2 – Look After Number 1. This one may be obvious, but most of us aren’t so good at it. Eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise, take regular holidays and make sure you regularly recharge. If you’re well-resourced and have plenty of energy, then you’ll be well equipped to ride the waves when things get stormy.

Tip # 3 – See Failure as an Opportunity for Learning. If you’re trying new things, being innovative or entrepreneurial, stepping out of your comfort zone to a make positive changes in your life and business – then failure is inevitable. In fact it is essential for growth. Without is you’ll only stagnate or progress at a snail’s pace. So learn to see failure as an opportunity for learning rather than a disaster. It just shows you’re putting yourself out there. Remember: ‘Progress, not Perfection!’ Get the lesson, then let it go and move on.

Tip #4 – Stay With It. When the curve balls it they tend to throw most of us. That’s normal. What’s important is how quickly you’re able to ‘get back on the horse’. To use a few more metaphors… in these situations most people’s typical response is either to take themselves out of the game and sit on the side-lines – with the hope of avoiding further challenges or making things worse. Or they start focusing on what else could go wrong and the many possible disaster scenarios start running through their minds – resulting in a decline in performance. Neither of these approaches are particularly effective. So stay present, fully engaged and on the pitch, and keep looking for the next plays so you can score the goal!

Remember, whatever rocky roads you might encounter, keep your eye on the prize and develop the skills and strategies to ride them out and you’ll hit your targets more often and more quickly!

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