Three Ways to Turn Challenges into Opportunities
"Do you see that?"
"There's no toad there. It's just a bunch of leaves."
"You can't see that?"
"No. There's nothing there."
"Walk over here by me and see if you can see it."
"Oh! There it is!"
I was camping last weekend and heard a rustling off in the leaves. I walked over to investigate. It took me a minute, but I finally found the toad that was almost perfectly disguised by its camouflage. I waved my kids over to the leaf pile. At first they thought I was playing a joke on them. They didn't believe anything was there. After walking to a different spot, they finally saw what was invisible only a moment before.
This experience made me think about how some of us see insurmountable challenges while others, in the very same circumstances, see opportunity. So what's the difference between challenge and opportunity?
Believing that what you are facing is an opportunity is an important step. In order to open our eyes to the richness before us, we need to believe we are capable of success and worthy of its rewards.
While it may sound silly, affirmations are a great way to retrain your brain to believe that you can achieve great things. The language of affirmations is important. The brain won't believe you if you try a 180 degree turn in your internal conversation from "I'll never be a success" to "I'm going to be a huge success." Instead, focus on affirmations that reinforce your personal values. "I will make a positive impact on the world."
Sometimes opportunities can be right in front of us but they are masked as challenges. To reveal the opportunities that lie before you, try shifting your perspective.
A great way to make that shift is by reframing internal questions you ask yourself. Instead of "Why is this happening to me?" try asking "What new pathway does this open for me?"
Extending the Timeline
Sometimes our immediate challenges feel so intense we can't imagine life beyond them. If you can expand your viewpoint into the future for a year, five years, or even more, you can gain perspective that creates a helpful shift.
Try asking your future-self what he/she sees about a current situation. How did the experiences of your current-self give your future-self the wisdom it needed for a breakthrough?
The next time you hear rustling in the leaves, investigate it. If at first you see only a pile of decomposing leaves, remind yourself that there's something alive in there for you to discover. Once you believe, if you still don't see it, shift your perspective by stepping into a new space. That dirty pile of leaves might just be teeming with life and opportunity!
Tell us, what opportunity has been disguising itself as a challenge in your life?