You might one day find yourself in a situation where you have the feeling that you appear rather small in comparison to the challenge you are facing. Similar to hanging along a steep cliff challenges might sometimes be a bit overwhelming for you.
In such a situation it is helpful to take a step back and to reflect your current situation, looking at the options you have. The ALPAN formula might help you with that.
Analyze: your situation
Pick a few tools to investigate the situation you are in from a rather rational point of view. Analysis usually consists of phases such as topic definition > problem description > cause analysis > alternative solutions. In particular, when the challenge you are facing has a sense of “Oh my god!” it is very useful to take a deep breath and to start with a rational analysis (do remember, in emotional states humans often make mistakes).
A friend of mine once felt that he did not get the monetary success that he really deserved. Using the business model “canvas model” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Model_Canvas) helped him realize that his strategy to approach the market was not helpful in making enough money to get wealthy and being able to invest a little. As a consequence, he modified a few of his usual job activities, picked different segments that he wanted to work in with customers and, in addition, set up a different payment model for his clients. Today, he is quite a successful business man, with a great reputation and apparently a substantial income.
Literature: Read and learn
Try to find more information that may help you understand the challenge better. Pick an article, a book, a magazine, a website that provides you more information on the topic so that you have more information available which will improve your decision-making.
When I first heard of coaching as a profession, years ago, I was instantly enthusiastic about it. I knew then that I also wanted to become a coach. However, I did not have the tools, the skills, or the mental attitude to do this job. So I did what I often do, when I want to acquire a new skill: I started reading a lot on the subject. Having read much about coaching enabled me to learn more about where I could start educating myself which I did in a next step.
Perspective: Change yours
If an inter-personal conflict is involved, you might want to change the perspective explicitly. Walk “in the moccasins of your fellow man”. If the challenge basically involves just yourself, try a new perspective by asking circular questions like “If I was person XY and would look down on me in this challenging situation, what would I recommend?”.
You might want to use the approach of “inner mentoring”, visualizing a few great personalities that inspire you and using these as “inner consultants” for yourself. For example, you could imagine what it would be like to sit at a campfire together with your “inner mentor”. Having told him your challenging story, how would he respond? What advice would he give you?
A mentee of mine chose her deceased uncle as an inner mentor she can always “carry” with her and consult in case she faces a significant decision to be made.
In a world with a growing number of power egos and humans with a certain narcissistic attitude the person makes a difference that is capable of consciously changing a perspective.
Do you want to make a difference?
Acquire: helpful knowledge
Think of capabilities that are required to master the situation. Start acquiring these abilities in order to have the proper knowledge at hand that is needed to overcome your obstacle in focus.
King George VI once had a vicious stammer and therefore dreaded public speaking strongly. However, at a certain point in his reign and by the help of speech-therapist Lionel Logue he acquired quite helpful techniques that enabled him to speak more freely in front of large crowds resulting in a higher popularity among the British people.
New: Do things differently
Look for patterns that you have used so far that have not lead to a solution. Then design and implement a different pattern of behavior. Try something new.
Trying to invent the light bulb, Thomas Edison was once asked: “How does it feel to have failed a thousand times?”. Edison responded: “I have not failed, I just know by now a thousand ways of how not to design a light bulb.”
In a book by John Strelecky (http://www.whycafe.com/) the main character John finds a café in the middle of nowhere, in a desert. Meeting different people in this café and talking to them, John finds out that the life he has lived so far did not really make him happy. As a consequence, John made drastic changes in his life, leaving him much more happy and fulfilled.
Albert Einstein once stated that problems cannot be solved in the same way they were created. In this sense, I invite you to try a new and fresh approach to overcome an obstacle in your life.
Please share your helpful coping strategies with us, what helps you handling challenges successfully?