Why turning challenges into gifts is a superpower
The inspirational actor Christopher Reeve famously described his riding accident and resulting paralysis as ‘the best thing that ever happened to me’. He had to overcome unimaginable challenges. Yet, he used his superpowers to raise money, set up the Reeve Foundation and open a center to help people with paralysis live more independently.
We all have challenges to deal with. Thankfully, not normally on the same scale as Christopher Reeve. But we still have to face them, every day.
Sometimes it’s small things; Zoom isn’t working properly or you’re stuck in traffic again. Sometimes, you’re tested more. Maybe you’re made redundant or you lose an important client, for example.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the challenge is. Developing the ability to reset your brain to see it as a gift or opportunity is a real superpower. And, it’s one that’s worth nurturing – because we can’t solve problems when we’re stressed, fearful or overwhelmed.
Activating your Sage Mind
Shirzad Chamine writes about the Sage Mind in his book and coaching program Positive Intelligence. Someone with the Sage perspective accepts every outcome and circumstance as a gift and opportunity. If you can call on your Sage Mind, you will deal with challenges quite differently and you’ll get significantly better results.
Your Sage Mind unlocks your five great mental fitness powers:
- Decisive action.
It may be good, it may be bad
When you’re presented with a challenging situation (no matter how big or small) it’s easy to react immediately and instinctively. Many people judge themselves (leading to self-doubt), some blame others (another form of judging) and most of us, at some point, have immediately judged a situation as ‘negative’ or ‘bad’. Shifting to an opportunity mindset involves taking a step back and not rushing to judgement.
There’s a Chinese parable in Positive Intelligence about a farmer, his beautiful white horse and beloved son. They go through disappointment, relief, trauma and joy – yet the farmer greets each situation with the response: It may be good, it may be bad. It’s worth a read.
Shifting from a challenge to opportunity mindset bestows three important gifts
If you can take that step back and not rush to judgement you allow yourself to receive three important gifts:
1. The gift of knowledge
Let’s say you’ve lost an important client. It would be easy to blame someone – yourself or others. Or to simply judge the situation with a ‘bad things are always happening to me’ mentality.
However, when you call on your Sage powers you can shift to seeing this situation as a gift and give yourself the opportunity to learn from it. First, you can call on your empathy powers to support yourself and your team. Then, in a calm state of mind, you can contact your client and discover the reasons behind their decision.
Once you’re no longer working in stressed ‘survivor brain mode’, you’re more able to resolve issues in creative ways. By strengthening your Sage Mind you can take focused action, even in the middle of a crisis. And that’s likely to put you in a better place to win an even bigger client in the future.
2. The gift of power
See the challenge as like building your muscles to lift weights in the gym. Ask yourself, ‘which sage power (empathy, exploration, innovation, navigation or calm focussed action) do I need to grow to handle this challenge?’
3. The gift of inspiration
A challenge can also be an opportunity to commit to inspiring actions you would not have taken if the situation had never arisen. Christophe Reeve is a classic example. In your business, this might involve re-designing processes, up-skilling your team or revising your strategy.
Developing this superpower isn’t about denying there’s an issue. Nor is it about never feeling negative emotions. That’s simply not possible.
A brief period of feeling anger or disappointment as an immediate reaction to losing a client is fine. But you wouldn’t keep your hand on a hot stove when you feel pain. In a similar way, negative feelings should alert you of the need to shift to your Sage Mind.
Do you want to improve the effectiveness and wellbeing of your team by weakening the thoughts that sabotage you? And learn how to reset and strengthen your Sage powers? You and your team can explore – and learn how to strengthen – these Sage powers with a combination of coaching and the Positive Intelligence 6-week mental fitness program, including an app.
I’m a Positive Intelligence Certified Mental Fitness Coach and you can also talk to me to arrange a free coaching session!