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ESCAPING Pitfalls, Obstacles, and Sunken Ships

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We’re going along,minding our own business,and bam! we’ve suddenly taken a metaphoric fall and it feels like we’ll never get up.

During a recent guest appearance on a radio show, while talking about the importance of creating our own opportunities, the topic of pitfalls and obstacles came up and seemed to really strike a nerve with our listeners. So much so, that I continued to think about how easy it can be to feel like you may never get up, once you’re down in the pits. I know, because I’ve been there too. The position you interviewed for (and really needed) falls through, the client suddenly changes his mind and your income is diminished, the friend you can always count on lets you down. I know it’s tempting to say to yourself “Ugg! I’m so tired of this (or that, fill in the blank), I give up!” The problem is, that once we’re down we can lose perspective of the situation – making an escape plan seem like an unobtainable, draining chore that is best left to those who have more energy.

For that reason, I’ve pulled together an emergency plan to pull you out of the pits, utilizing the best tips I’ve gleaned from friends,mentors, colleagues, and more personal and professional development resources than I care to count. Feel free to place this plan next to your Cheetos and chocolate bars, in case of emergency.

Tip 1: Give yourself a minute.In this age of keeping a positive attitude, believing that “everything happens for a reason,” and trying to set a good example for our family and friends, it can seem like you’re not supposed to react to disappointment and setbacks. My advice is to slip away, lock yourself in a sound proof room, and let yourself react the way you want to. Yell, cry, hoot, holler,whatever it takes to get it out of your system. Admit that it just stinks, that it isn’t fair, that you’re tired and frustrated, whatever you’re feeling – go with it. And then, pull yourself together and get back to the rest of the world-with that positive attitude firmly in place. There’s no sense looking for more trouble, because you’ll likely find it.

Tip 2: Keep yourself moving in the direction of your dreams (or goals). As hard as it may be, the one thing that may really help you when you’re feeling like the world is against you is to press on. Yes, so the job you hoped for fell through, the client you were counting on took a left turn, or someone let you down-it doesn’t mean (though it may feel like it) it was your last hope . . . unless it was your last effort. Do something (anything) that will move you a little closer to your preferred outcome. Rework your resume, practice your interviewing skills, clean out clutter, take a serious look at your marketing efforts, or make a list of all the things you like about
the friend that let you down.The simple act of moving ahead with your plans will help you re-frame your situation and prepare and position you for future success.

Tip 3: Ask for help, you might be surprised.Rather than just venting to your friends and family about the situation, think about how you might enroll them to help you come up with new ideas and perspectives.You might also consider hiring a coach to help you develop a strategic plan to overcome obstacles. Just talking with others can help build your confidence and stamina to throw your hat back in the ring. It may also give you a few ideas you can really use to salvage your client, your friend, or anything else you might be missing.

Lastly, be good to yourself-you deserve it. We can’t control every situation, but we can control how we react and reposition ourselves to Actualize success.

©2014 Actualize Consulting Group. All rights reserved Internationally. Permission granted to excerpt or redistribute with attribution and notification.