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  • Lauren Hemphill

Defeat is Optional

There are so many articles on how to lead better, hire better, grow a business better, etc. They are all helpful and I have a handful ready to share when the time is right.

The truth is, even if you know exactly what to do and how to do it, at some point, if you get too overwhelmed, your natural behaviors and thinking styles will drive your actions. For many of us, this can be where we make mistakes, freeze, run, or completely break down. For others, we thrive in the face of challenges, we become better versions of ourselves, help others grow, innovate, and so many other things. The first group of people is more common, and the second group grew to where they are because they formed the confidence to face challenges head on, usually through past experiences.

So, what do we do to get through the challenges? The quickest change you can make to positively impact your perception is to pay attention to what you are focusing on the most. When we focus on everything negative, it completely blinds us from potential opportunities to make a positive changes.

“Whatever you focus on, expands. If you see the world through your dreams, prosperity materializes before your very eyes. If you see the world through your fears, poverty multiplies all around you.” – Robert G. Allen

I do understand that it is important to acknowledge your fears to avoid making trivial mistakes. The shift that most of the population needs to make is finding the opportunity in every challenge and understanding that you will grow from it. This can only happen if you take time to look for and understand the opportunity and then do everything you can to make it happen. 

Another thing we must do is understand our emotions and how they influence the decisions we make. The study of emotional intelligence is fairly new, and studies have shown that an individual’s EI has a greater impact on their success than their IQ. This is more of a long-term focus that will greatly increase your ability to take on challenges and thrive. The great thing about EI is, unlike IQ, you can develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and, as you age, it usually increases.

Grit is also a highly focused on trait when looking at successful people. Angela Duckworth conducted some amazing research on the topic that is worth looking into. I bring this up because, according to Duckworth, To be gritty means to have the energy and determination to stay focused in the pursuit of goals over a period of time, and have the fortitude to persevere despite challenges, adversity, and failure. There are many ways to develop grit but, many people will not take the steps to improve their own level of it unless they are forced to. Well, 2020 is forcing us all to have more grit. It will make us better when the world gets a bit more normal and, we will look back, and understand that the challenges are really what make us who we are.

When we understand who we are and what we need to do to prevail during challenges, we will be able to grow, help others grow, and innovate especially in times of change. Without these skills, we will become so overwhelmed that the ability to learn or grow during challenge is almost impossible.

To put it into perspective, think about a time when you were most successful, how did you feel internally? One the other hand, when did you feel like everything was falling apart – what were you focused on and what changes needed to be made to get back on track?

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