The urge to throw up our hands in surrender can be strong, when we are faced with challenges and feeling overwhelmed However, when you understand that your toughest situations are often your greatest opportunities for growth and development, you face them head on.
Every difficulty brings its own dark comedic script of errors: Technology fails just when you’re in the homestretch of meeting a deadline. The car won’t start when you’re on your way to a command performance. You’re a 100 miles from home when you realize you left the report, you painstakingly prepared, on the dining room table.
When it feels like the Universe is conspiring against me, I try to remember the allegory of the caterpillar’s struggle to become a butterfly.
The way challenge builds character, beauty, strength and ultimately destiny is poignantly told in the timeless fable by Trina Paulus “Hope for the Flowers.” The main characters are two caterpillars, Stripe and Yellow, who struggle mightily to make it to the top of the pillar only to eventually discover they were meant to fly.
The tale serves as an important lesson in the relationship between our tough times and our successes. With each challenge we overcome, every loss we endure, our drive to go on can grow. Situations that push us to think creatively and act quickly build confidence. Each day at work has its own challenges.
However, working in a stressful environment can help us improve on how we manage stress. When we make it through the day without breaking, we are better equipped to handle similar days in the future. Focusing on the end goal makes it easier to do what is necessary in the now.
Personal matters sometimes poised to upset your peace of mind may just be opportunities to make the adjustments you to need to create more balance in your life. Personally, I have never regretted facing difficult issues, including financial setbacks, head on.
These are the experiences that have cultivated any degree of courage to which I might lay claim. And paradoxically, some of these are precisely the experiences that have contributed most positively to my overall perspective. It helps to remind myself that providing for my family, contributing to my community and making the world better are my priorities.
Each day I work towards achieving that balance in my personal life. Today, challenges very rarely intimidate me. I accept them with open arms because I know they only make me stronger. Each difficulty I face compels me to get up, stand up and keep moving.
Self-Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself:
How well do I use past experiences to help avoid the same challenges in the future?
In what other ways can I build the drive needed to handle tough times?
How do I handle situations when challenges seem a little too tough to handle?