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Here’s A Great Strategic Plan for Overcoming Any Challenge

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Human beings are pleasure-seeking, change-avoiding creatures of habit.

Our minds are geared toward taking path of least resistance; i.e., the easy way. There is a lot of logic and good sense in that. However, life is full of challenges and hard stuff you just gotta do. It is unequivocally impossible to avoid challenges, and it would be remiss of us to try.

Challenge is vital for personal growth; because all the magic happens just outside your comfort zone; because the achievement experienced is proportionate to the challenge surmounted.

There is a general awareness and acceptance of the idea that pushing through challenges makes us stronger, smarter, more evolved and skilled individuals. But we really struggle to embrace challenge with open arms and to mentally push ourselves through the hard times. It is an absolute truism that the only real barrier is the one that exists in your mind.

We are all limited by our mental baggage; fear, doubt, all the useless unhelpful beliefs we carry with us into our future that limits our potential. Those, my friends, are our Mind Monkeys.  And its time to get those nasty little blighters off our backs, and out of our heads.

The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world.” –  Roger Williams

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am a coaching psychologist and corporate trainer, I am passionate about my career and I am good at it. But for many years I had an internal ‘I hate sales’ mantra going on, and this limited my ability to achieve my professional goal of enriching as many lives as I could.

Because lets face it, without an ability to create business relationships and sell yourself and your services, you severely hobble your chance of succeeding professionally.

So I recognised that I needed to beat that monkey and master the consultative sales process. Here is a strategic plan of how I did it, and you can do it too.

 

1. Look your monkey in the eye

As any Psychologist will tell you, insight is an imperative precursor to change. After all, we cannot change what we do not accept. It is therefore a fundamental necessity that we do as Sun Tzu said in the Art of War, and ‘Know thy self, know thy enemy’. Spend some time in reflection on the following points and get to know your monkey well.

  • What is the focus of your challenging situation? Define the mental challenge you’re in. Is it sales, dealing with confrontation, staying committed, saying No? Name that monkey!
  • Why exactly is this situation challenging? This is about identifying the emotions and expectations that are linked with the challenge. Generally it comes down to the specific fears and doubts we hold due to our old thinking patterns. Dig deep and be honest.
  • How does this challenge affect you? Fear and doubt unmanaged result in avoidance, otherwise known as procrastination! So identify how this avoidance and procrastination affects the outcomes you get.

 

challenges-are-really-just-a-test-to-see-how-much-you-deserve-success-challenge-quote
 

2. Create your monkey-beating strategic plan

Once you know your monkey, you can start to develop a plan that moves you forward. This plan helps you to stay focused on why working through the challenge is important to you and exactly what you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in order to set yourself on a failsafe path of accomplishment. It also identifies the resources and implementation strategies needed, and the accountability measures needed to stay on track.

  • Objectives & timeframe. Keep in mind that the focus of this plan is overcoming a challenge and a psychological barrier; getting the monkey off your back so to speak. So the objectives should reflect that. It should be about personal growth rather than material gain.
  • Action plan. The action plan is a breakdown of exactly what you are going to do on a regular basis in order to achieve the objective. Jeff Olson used the term ‘simple daily disciplines’ in his book The Slight Edge, and explained that the difference between great success and massive failure lies not in one-off monumental events, but in the tiny almost insignificant decisions and behaviours we engage in on a daily basis and which compound over time. You need to identify two elements in  your action plan:
  • Skill development. What are the practical abilities and skills you need to improve that are relevant to your challenge?
    • Thinking & Emotions. What are the thinking and emotional strategies you will employ in order to overcome the fear and doubt associated with your challenge?

 

3. Apply the plan diligently

Of course, even the best laid plan is only as good as the action that follows it. So the final phase is to ensure you get yourself in a steady rhythm of daily action.

  • Mindset. Adopt a mindset of diligence and discipline. ‘I do it til its done’. Stop stuffing around and procrastinating, and fully commit to the goal. Do the work, and you will overcome the challenge. Tell yourself to do it, and don’t move on to the easy stuff until the daily task is done.
  • Routine. Know exactly when and where you will be enacting your plan. Remember we are creatures of habit, so making the tasks a part of your normal routine makes it so much easier to follow through with and dramatically increases your chance of success.
  • Accountability.  The difficulty with working on personal goals is that we are often not accountable to anyone. So overcome this by setting up a tracking method that records the tasks achieved on a daily basis and marks your progress over time.

 

Many years ago I decided to move into a training role specifically because I had quite a fear of public speaking. I recognised speaking as such a useful and versatile skill that I thought it was worth mastering. So I took on a training role (before I really had the confidence to do it!), and had about six months of uncomfortableness and self-doubt while riding a really steep learning curve.

And then I got to the other side. Presenting and training is now a strength, and something I highly enjoy. My boss and mentor had a wonderful phrase – she called it Immersion Therapy. You simply keep doing it until hard becomes easy. So if you want to take control of your life, if you want to be free of your mind monkeys, that’s all you gotta do. Just keep at it until hard becomes easy.

It takes a strong person to put themselves in the way of challenge. But it is in surmounting the challenge that we find the benefits gained vastly outweigh perils undertaken.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all” – Meg Cabot 

So go out there and face your monkeys; you might just find they’re not that scary after all.

 

Dr Vanessa Thiele is a coaching psychologist and corporate trainer at Action Potential Group. Driven by a burning desire to enable people to realize their full potential, she has dedicated herself to studying and training facilitation in the areas of self-development, success and leadership.She is a mum of two, a writer, speaker, and a former personal trainer and martial arts instructor, who would probably like to be a stand-up comedian in her next life. - Check out her site.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Divya

    Mar 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

    A brilliant and motivating article….I am very thankful for the article…reading it made me think of the things where we commit mistakes with these mind monkeys and fears….m gonna try des strategies….

  2. Absolutely Tara

    Mar 20, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Great advice. I kept laughing whenever you mentioned the Monkey phase we were in. I don’t know why, but referencing the challenge as a monkey made it good. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ernie A

    Mar 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    “Challenge is vital for personal growth; because all the magic happens just outside your comfort zone; because the achievement experienced is proportionate to the challenge surmounted.”

    Beautiful! We are all influenced to think challenges are a bad thing.. yet, overcoming them is the essence of growth and ultimately, life.

  4. Monday Motivator

    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hey Vanessa –

    Great article. Thanks for the quote from The Slight Edge, I’m going to have to check it out. I wrote recently on a similar theme and the ‘simple daily disciplines’ rings so true!

    Appreciate it,

    Rich

  5. Ruslan Barabolkin

    Mar 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Vanessa,

    Excellent post! I found myself dealing with these ‘monkeys’ often.

    Thank you for laying out the plan on how to overcome. Took some great notes as I was reading and am writing out my own plan today to follow diligently.

    Thanks,

    Ruslan

  6. saidesh

    Mar 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    nice helpful..

  7. Dan Western

    Mar 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    This is awesome Vanessa!

    Love those subheadings and the bullets you’ve used to break them down.

    All about having the courage and the strength to overcome those challenges!

    Thanks,

    Dan

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Why It’s So Important To Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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Fear of Snakes

So I completed a Snake Handling course 6 years ago and during the final test of the course, we were asked to capture and bag 5 of Australia’s Deadliest snakes in a small confined room. The room had a Tiger Snake, Dugite, King Brown, Death Adder and a Red-Bellied Black Snake all slithering around at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I had got myself into.

Snakes were one of the biggest fears of mine. I would imagine a snake running underneath my feet from time to time and I would actually bring my feet up off the floor to avoid getting entangled or bitten by these imaginary snakes I had created in my mind. I would even have nightmares about snakes biting me and it would wake me up in sweats in the middle of the night.

I could have never imagined doing this in my life but I did it because I knew that I had to get passed this ridiculous fear I had of snakes, and I am grateful I was able to show up for it.

Checkout this podcast episode where I share how You can Master your Sub Conscious Programming around your fears in 2 Steps:

While attending this course, the subject of Fear was brought up and the presenter asked a number of people:

 

“What Are Your Top 5 Fears?”

– Public Speaking

– Cancer

– Sharks

– Snakes

– Heights

Were at the top of the list for most people.

 

The instructor carried on with a story of how he had just arrived back from a trip to the Northern Territory of Australia to visit an aboriginal community where he had met a 7-year-old boy who was absolutely scared to death of spiders and the dark.

Killer crocodile fearIt did not matter what kind of spider it is, he was scared and that was that. This boy would hunt crocodiles and lizards but was scared of even the non-venomous spiders.

All he had learned from a very young age was that spiders are dangerous and that they WILL kill you, yet the crocodiles and snakes that the boy would play with and hunt for are by far more deadly than most spiders that your everyday human would come across.

He was taught between the crucial years of 1-6 yrs old that the dark is full of evil happenings and that spiders are incredibly deadly and will kill him if he goes anywhere near them. So he was devastated to sleep in the dark and would jump on near by people just to get away from a spider nearby.

I’m not here to say that spiders aren’t dangerous, they are, and some out there have the potential to kill you. This boy was right to be cautious around spiders but where he lacked knowledge, or the right information about these creatures, eventually left him fearful of something he had never really understood.

This boy is just an example of many other people out there that are limited by their fears because of the little that they know. The less you know, the more fearful you are. This is only human and we are naturally scared of the unknown.

So the key thing here is we need more “KNOWLEDGE!” and it is in our best interest to want to understand how things work if we want to become less fearful of what the wild and wonderful world we live in has to offer.

You have to “EXPERIENCE” things to have a better understanding of the activity or whatever it is you are most scared of.

Joel Brown Snakes Fear

Joel Brown – Certified Snake Handler

When you increase your knowledge you can grow to the level where your fear is set at, so when the two meet it creates a level called “RESPECT”.

This is the perfect level to be on because you will now have a respect for what you fear which will allow you to then work with it rather than being submissive and missing out on the wonderful feeling of successfully OWNING! the outer areas of your comfort zone.

Everybody has a fear of some sort and learning more about what you fear and even voyaging through your ‘un-comfortable zone‘ will prepare you for the hard knocks in life on your road to success.

 

I have a few more fears to conquer myself and I am happy to say that I have crossed ‘Snakes’ and a number of other top things off my list. I’m sharing this story with you in hopes that you too will face at least one or two of your fears. Not to say that “you did it“, but to prove that you can outgrow your own personal limitations.

Your fears could be holding you back, they could even be the final piece you need to experience a brand new lifestyle or a brave new world of fun.

 

So get out there, learn more and grow!

 

No matter the storm, may your Faith be stronger than your Fears – Joel Brown

 

 

Feature Image Original Source: Indiana Jones – Raiders Of The Lost Ark

 

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