I’ll Loan You My Umbrella: 5 Ways to Face the Tough Times

July 15, 2011 18 Comments TAGS: Career, Relationships, Stress

By Guest Blogger Carol Roth

Once upon a time, when things were getting a bit rough, someone suggested to me that we run away together to Paris.

It was an extremely romantic notion and for a fleeting moment, thoughts of sitting in a café for the rest of my life eating pain au chocolat (aka chocolate croissants) sounded mighty tempting (and delicious).

But I came to the quick realization that I am not the runaway type.  I am more the stand-in-the-middle-of-a-shit-storm-with-an-umbrella type, because moving to Paris or even plain-old avoiding an issue doesn’t make reality go away.  You can run to the end of the earth, but if you don’t face the tough stuff, it will always haunt you.

While it is tempting to run from uncomfortable situations, problems, challenges or sometimes even opportunities, emotionally or physically taking off will not solve anything.  It just distracts you from your goals and purposes.  And when the going gets tough, those who will persevere are the ones willing to face the storm head on.

So, here I am to offer you a virtual umbrella to use the next time you have to face one of those storms.  Hopefully, you can use it to keep as much residual crap off of you as possible, as you face the situation head on.  And if you need moral support, ask someone you trust to stand under it with you.  Ask nicely, and they may even hold it for you.  It may not be as romantic as running away together to Paris in theory, but the best friends and partners will stand by you during the worst of times.

I hope that many blue skies are ahead of you, but if the storm’s a-coming, just ask- I will be happy to loan you my umbrella.

If you don’t have my umbrella handy, here are 5 tips for facing the tough times:

Think of the Worst Case Scenario: Most of the time when something is tough, the downside isn’t much worse than a bruised ego.  Or if it is a bit tougher, you will still recover from it.  Life always goes on. It might be a new reality, but after you come out on the other side, that new reality is often a much improved version of life prior to the hardship. Think about what you are really risking by facing the tough situation.  You may find it’s mostly in your head. Think of the worst case scenario, don’t be scared, and move through it. Avoidance is never the answer.

Reach out: Whether it’s a friend, colleague or professional advisor, remember that help is not “that kind” of four-letter word.  Let someone else- who perhaps has some objectivity- provide guidance or just some good old fashioned moral support.  It’s easier when you don’t have to go through the tough stuff alone. Trust me on this one. People often keep struggles to themselves because they are embarrassed of their situation– be it financial, marital, or mental instability or strife. Find the right support system, and it will make the world of difference.

Focus on What is Working: We spend so much time lamenting over what’s not working, focus on what IS working- whether in your relationships, business and other aspects of your life.  Think about the tools you do have instead of those you don’t have (that’s what James Bond and McGyver would do!)

Change Your Course of Action: You know that definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?  If you are running into challenges down a certain path, instead of running away, choose instead to run down a new path towards your same goal. It will make all the difference.

Inspire Confidence Through Jogging Your Memory: When you are feeling stuck, down or overwhelmed, draw confidence from times when you really were at the top of your game.  Remember how that felt and how you showed up.  Then, take that confidence and reapply it to the current situation.

The only thing that you should expect in life is to expected the unexpected.  When that unexpected isn’t sunshine and puppy dogs, do your best to face it: don’t run from it and moreover, learn the lesson. You don’t have control of circumstances but you have 100% control of your reaction to them.

Remember, every storm passes and those who can weather these storms will find themselves with the strength, experience and confidence to take on anything and succeed.

~Carol

CAROL ROTH BIO:

Carol Roth is a business strategist, deal maker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She has helped her clients, ranging from solopreneurs to multinational corporations, raise more than $1 billion in capital, complete more than $750 million worth of M&A transactions, secure high-profile licensing and partnership deals and create million dollar brand loyalty programs.

Carol is a frequent radio, television and print media contributor on the topics of business and entrepreneurship, appearing regularly on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, WGN TV Chicago and more. Additionally, Carol’s Unsolicited Business Advice blog at CarolRoth.com was recently named as one of the Top 10 small business blogs online and she is a contributing blogger to outlets like The Huffington Post and Crain’s Chicago Business/Enterprise City.

Ms. Roth holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Twitter: @CarolJSRoth

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Tell us, how do YOU overcome challenges? Are you more the “slide things under the rug type,” or do you face your problems dead on?

xoxEDxox

 

    18 Comments

    1. That would be me. Complaining why something is isn’t working but neglecting to change things up to find something that DOES work. I think I do that out of sheer stubbornness and thinking, “But I’m right!” I definately need to work on this and remember that my way isn’t necessarily the best way! 🙂

    2. Tobeinstyle says:

      Great tips for people who are going through very rough times. I’ve known people who go through these rough times and I feel that I should help them. And when I do, its refused. Now, from your tips, I can go back to help these people. Thanks!

    3. penneyfox says:

      Amen Carol!
      I use to be a BIG sweeper and then I found myself at a crossroad at the end of last year so I started to make changes in my life. I found myself explaining my reasons for changes to all those around me and the only thing that seemed to make sense to everyone was that quote that you used: I was living in the definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome

      Thanks for the post! It was like a mid-year reminder that I’m heading down the right path.

    4. Annie says:

      I am like you. I always feel that it is better to face something full bore albeit with an umbrella than procrastinate or pretend it doesn’t exist. I somehow feel better when I take care of it. I then can go about things moving forward instead of dwelling on the past and those things hanging over my head.

    5. Great post! Generally speaking, I agree it’s better to not run away from your problems, but face them, and deal.

      That being said, I do think in some situations (and for some people) a total break, a total “re-set” is in order. To get fresh perspective, to figure out where your true priorities lie, and to come up with a new game plan (a la Eat, Pray, Love!). While I don’t usually have the luxury of whipping off to Paris when things get tough (I wish)…there have been a couple of times in my life when I really needed to physically get away and get my head straight before being able to come back & tackle things. And it’s made all the difference in the world.

      • Carol Roth says:

        Running away and taking a break are probably different based on mindset. If your intention is to clear your head, that’s a good thing. If it’s to hide, not so good!

    6. Barbara says:

      I enjoyed this blog. I always envision worst case scenario in challenging times. Call me pessimistic but this way I am better prepared to handle any outcome. Then if that worst thing does not happen and I end up being pleasantly surprised then all the better.

    7. Cindy Johnston says:

      I’m a slide all my crap under the rug type. Okay I get the point now. Hello wake up call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    8. Cheryl Michaels says:

      “Change Your Course of Action: You know that definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome? If you are running into challenges down a certain path, instead of running away, choose instead to run down a new path towards your same goal” I love this. I can count on many hands how many times I did the same thing over and over again in my life and expected to see different results. It takes that realization that you’re going nowhere to finally change your course and try something new. Great point.

      • Carol Roth says:

        It’s very difficult to see it sometimes when we are in the middle of it, but try something new. I look forward to hearing about breakthroughs. Thanks for the comment.

    9. Denise says:

      Great post by the brilliant Carol Roth.

    10. Callie says:

      When I’m “in it,” I remind myself (or those closest to me remind me) that this is temporary. One day I will be eating chocolate in Paris. But I will have ended up there in the right way and not by running away.

      • Carol Roth says:

        Absolutely- you want to be there on your own terms! You know the phrase “Growing pains”? That’s because there is literally some pain with growth. Thanks for the comments

    11. Samantha says:

      Great tips Carol. When I feel myself going through a storm I always remind myself that it’s here to teach me a lesson. I have Oprah’s quote up on my fridge, what is this here to teach me?

      I would say that I am the person who faces issues head on. I try not to slide things under the rug. Sliding problems under the rug can lead to a volcanic eruption.

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