A Coaching Power Tool created by Carol Fontanez
(Life Coaching, UNITED STATES)
The only real obstacle on your path to possibility will always be yourself. Too often we do not see things as they are; we see things as we are. Stuart Avery Gold
How many times have you heard that challenges are actually opportunities in waiting? You may have been told this as you were growing up or you may have heard it in school or in the workplace. Most likely this is a comment you’ve heard countless times and in a variety of situations. What then gets in the way of us treating challenges as opportunities? Why do we often respond with a defeatist attitude rather than one that is full of possibilities?
First, consider the meaning of challenge. Whether used as a noun or a verb, inherent in the word’s meaning are the ideas of disputing and questioning. In fact, one definition from Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines the noun as: a summons that is often threatening, provocative or stimulating. Wow, the word summons alone is enough to send shivers down one’s spine!
Second, think about your overall outlook on life. Do you tend to see the glass as half full or half empty? When things don’t go as you planned, what is your initial response? It’s fair to say that your response probably varies depending on the nature of the challenge. A serious health challenge likely provokes a stronger and more visceral response than a work project that has gone astray. Yet, both these kinds of challenges hold the possibility of putting us into a tailspin.
Our negative self talk may become louder and louder. Our “the glass is half-empty” perspective may crowd out any fleeting thoughts of finding an opportunity in the situation. Our friends and family may fuel the flames of “woe is me” because they think this is the best way to be supportive. Regardless of the situation, it is at the very moment that a challenge presents itself that we have the chance to shift our thinking. We can make a conscious choice to embrace the challenge and find the opportunity for self discovery and growth that is present.
Why do some people routinely and quickly reframe a challenge into an opportunity? Let’s first look at our underlying beliefs. Do you believe that you have the capacity and capability to successfully move beyond the challenges in your life? Or, do you believe that life is something that happens to you and you are powerless to change it?
Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. Bernice Johnson Reagon
As Reagon’s quote so adeptly states, those who make it a habit to convert challenges into opportunities are committed to a lifetime of self discovery. They are not afraid of what they find inside themselves. Rather, they are open to stretching their thinking and their attitudes to achieve greater and greater self awareness. They do not have all the answers, and they still face moments of self doubt. However what separates them from the “glass is half empty” crowd is their belief in their resilience and their ability to find their way through the challenges in their lives.