You’re completely overwhelmed. Your car payment just hit, your grandma is sick, your boss won’t listen to you, your best friend won’t talk to you over a stupid misunderstanding, and you have no idea how you’re going to pay rent for the next few months.
Sometimes everything seems to go wrong at the same time. The walls cave in. It almost seems like the world wants you to fail.
So what do you do? How do you cope?
Regardless of how much hits you and tries to knock you off your feet, here are a few tips to cope and conquer challenges without losing your cool.
1. Scream, cry, BREATH, get angry, then channel your energy towards taking action. Allow yourself to experience and express the natural course of reaction in whatever stages may come. Getting a little emotional is completely healthy. Just make sure you end up in a place where you’re ready to be productive and proactive. Channel your energy to attack the situation head on with all the determination you can muster.
2. Assess the situation rationally. What is the current state of affairs? What are the current problems? What needs to be done to fix things?
Make a list. Seriously, even if it’s just 3 or 4 things, it will help calm you down and focus your energy.
3. Triage your list:
FIRST: Identify problems that you can’t do anything about. (ie: Your grandmother being sick.)
SECOND: Put those uncontrollables aside and turn your focus to what you can impact.
THIRD: Circle or highlight issues that are urgent. (ie: Your bank balance is about to go negative.)
FOURTH: Note other items or issues that can be easily dealt with (ie: Send your best friend a quick note telling them you’re really sorry about the misunderstanding, that you’re having a tough time, but that you hope you can talk more soon.)
FIFTH: Move everything else to the bottom of your list. You’ll deal with them asap.
4. Prioritize. (Create a clean new list based on the information above)
5. Ask for help. Far too often there are people around us who love us, who could help us, but just don’t know we need the help because we don’t tell them. How crazy is that? Understanding that we might not want others to see us vulnerable or unable to deal with things, get some perspective and look at the bigger picture. If you need help, find it where you can. There’s no shame in needing other people…especially if you’re there for others when they need you.
6. Talk to friends, mentors, advisors, or family who “get it”. Commiserate or vent to people who will understand your situation, have been in your shoes, and who are most likely to have advice to offer that can help. At very least, they’ll help calm you down. Talking to other people who don’t support you, or whom you don’t respect in times of crisis will just frustrate you more. Let others in if you can, just make sure they’re the right people.
7. Pace yourself. Remember, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite. Take it one issue at a time. Keep telling yourself you’ll get through it all eventually. Don’t lose hope. The more you can look at your situation rationally, objectively and from a position of determination to overcome, the faster and more effectively you will.
Unfortunately, crisis is inevitable sometimes. Make sure you know how to cope when it comes knocking on your door. These tips above should help. But if you want a more comprehensive attack plan, check the Fast Track to Success program: 30 Days to Transform Your Life and Career. It is guaranteed to help arm you with the insight and tools for action to propel you out of your rut and into a far more relaxing and rewarding place.