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Overcoming difficulties in business and in life

Even though Christmas is a time of joy, it also often presents difficulties as families and friends gather together. You can’t change the way things are but you can change the way you look at things and your response. You can only control yourself and often attitudes need adjustments in order to get along. You can master change rather than allowing it to master you.

Work has its challenges. Relationships are sometimes problematic. Life has its ups and downs. Things go wrong.

When a problem occurs we should look at the causes. For instance, did you get sick because you haven’t taken care of yourself? Have you eaten right and exercised? When you find yourself in debt, is it because you have spent more money than you have and lived beyond your means? You may need to look introspectively at yourself and face up to needed changes in your life. Denial and escape are tempting but not helpful in solving problems and overcoming difficulties. Stop looking at others to blame but instead take responsibility for your life, relationships, etc.

Don’t be afraid but reach down deep within to find strength. Your strength has been built up over the years and is greater than you may think. Being confident in your strength is empowering and can be ingrained into your life, deep within your mind and being. You can deal with whatever comes in life. Joshua J.Marine said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

Be your own best friend, not your own worst enemy. When going through a struggle, it is easy to internalize and blame yourself. Don’t let your thoughts create self-harm and delay healing. Accept circumstances which are beyond your control and concentrate on those in which you can affect change. Recognize who your friends are and and cherish those friendships. They can offer support and will stick by you in difficult times. Real friends are hard to come by.

Focus on the positives.  The way you look at situations and how you approach them requires discipline. It is easy to become distracted and influenced by negative people. Prioritize what needs to be done. Refocus and set goals, making necessary adjustments in your behavior. Realize there will always be obstacles to overcome and you will stumble at times. The landmines that stand between you and your goal are often unexpected and may cause you to think that you are reaching for an improbable goal. There will always be problems along the way. Keep on keeping on.

Celebrate victories. Write down a list of successes. When you reach a goal or attain success, stop and celebrate. Count your blessings.

Whether it is in your personal life or work life, one has an influence on the other. Surround yourself with positive people. Be open to learning from everyone you come in contact with in life. You may need to change your outlook on life. Only you are in control of you. You can find joy in the simplest things in life. How you overcome difficulties defines you. The satisfaction of overcoming challenges and difficulties is indescribable.

Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.