Think back to a time when you were riding a bike and saw a big hill ahead.
Based on experience, you probably knew that you were going to need to create momentum in order to make getting up and over the hill easier. You prepared for the hill by pedaling a little harder and building up speed before the hill. This effort made the ultimate grind over the top shorter and less painful.
Your preparation didn’t make the challenge go away, but it did make it easier to complete. That's what it means to get in front of a challenge.
We face challenges every day. Here are some tips to help you get in front of the next one that comes your way:
1. Practice success rituals
The discipline of practicing regular (daily, weekly, monthly) success rituals elevates your general preparedness for any challenge. Examples might include working out, prayer, meditation, reviewing your vision and goals. Find out what motivates you to be the best version of yourself, and commit to doing it regularly.
2. Build and maintain good relationships with mentors
These relationships are tough to come by in a crisis, but if you have cultivated them in advance you will be able to turn to them when needed for counsel and help.
3. Take complete ownership
Don’t waste time playing the blame game or lamenting your circumstances. Recognize that you are in completely charge of you, and be proactive.
4. Prepare earlier
Everything is easier when you have a little margin. Create some margin, and avoid unnecessary stress by starting your prep earlier. Do you really want to have to do all of your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve?
5. Break your preparation into bite-size pieces
Don’t let the magnitude of the challenge deter you. Just break it down into smaller pieces, and tackle those one bite at a time.
6. Solicit help early
Don’t afraid to call in reinforcements. That’s not a sign of weakness. Try to focus on what you are uniquely gifted to do, and find others who can help tackle other components of the challenge. The earlier you do this, the better. Don’t make your failure to plan someone else’s emergency.
7. Do some research
Google it. Ask around. Talk to those with experience. But, don’t go into the challenge blind or naïve.
8. Identify critical skills that need developing or refining
Based on your research, are there some key skills that you need to be successful. Name them, and get a plan to shore them up. Perhaps you can find a coach or other great teaching resource to help you build confidence in these skills.
9. Rest up
None of us function at our best when we are worn out. Do your prep work, and then get rested up. You need to be able to tap into your reserves for physical and mental toughness. Remember, fatigue makes cowards of us all.
10. Do a dress rehearsal
Nothing builds confidence like knowing you’ve been there and done that before. Perhaps you actually have not been there or done that, but a dress rehearsal is the next best thing.
A challenge is your time to shine. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”