How to Transform Challenges into Opportunities for Growth

BY Emily Madill        April 9, 2015

Everyone has gone through something that’s changed them in a way that they can never go back to the person they once were...

Challenges are an inevitable part of life. Whether it's challenging times, people, or circumstances, most of us can relate to coming up against roadblocks in life that feel hard, unfair, or even devastating at times.

Some people face the most unthinkable tragedies and somehow come out the other side stronger. Others crumble under the weight of the pressure and heartache they face. The exact same challenge and circumstance that leaves one person unfazed, actually breaks another.

In times of struggle, having a resilient spirit becomes an asset that seems to transform challenges into opportunities for growth. The question then becomes, how do we learn and grow from our challenges instead of becoming trapped or swallowed by them? How do we shape that transformation to help us move forward, instead of leaving us stuck?

While there is no obvious "one size fits all" solution to becoming more resilient, these are some of the ways that have helped me turn my challenges into opportunities for growth and self-transformation:

Perspective                                                                                                                                       
The lens we view our world through is as individual as we are. What we see and believe to be true is not "the" truth, it is "our" truth. If the truth we live by is no longer serving us, or has us coming up against the same hard lesson over and over, perhaps it is time to look at adopting a different perspective that will move us forward. Changing our minds about something can be an extremely liberating act that expands our horizons. Looking at the same issue through a different lens has a way of opening up new doors of possibilities that can help us see things from a fresh and hopeful perspective. When we practice looking at life from different viewpoints, it becomes more natural to feel compassion for other people and for ourselves. With perspective, we can find the lesson and opportunity for growth in any situation.

Honesty                                                                                                                                             
In order to move forward, we need to be honest with ourselves. What is it that we truly want? What do we need? How are we really feeling? Putting on a brave face or sugar-coating things can create the illusion to everyone around us that everything is great, but if we aren’t being honest with ourselves, it won’t be long before a serious feeling of uneasiness creeps into our being. We may be able to temporarily trick ourselves into believing the façade, but we can’t hide from ourselves for very long. The sooner that we are honest with ourselves and honour ourselves, by living from a place of integrity, the easier it becomes to face challenges with grace and a willingness to learn. The closer we bring the image we portray out into the world with our inner truth, the more at peace we will be. When we speak and live our truth, that congruency alone will help us feel an unwavering inner-strength that will make it easier to move through challenges as they arise.

Openness                                                                                                                                         
When we approach life ready, open, and willing to move forward, that is exactly what we will do. The same is true for when we are closed-off and refuse to budge on an issue that causes us angst, we will stay stuck with the same level of fervor. When we give ourselves permission to open up to the possibility of "unsticking" ourselves and moving forward, the world reacts by opening up to us. Sometimes, being open to new possibilities and ways of thinking requires a leap of faith. It often means we are pushing past our comfort zones, which can be initially quite uncomfortable. When we do take that chance and give that gift to ourselves, we are rewarded through the transformation itself. Life is an amazing journey and we get to choose whether we experience it fully or not… the hard parts and all. If we can lean into the discomfort with a little more ease and openness to the learning, the lessons unfold in the most beautiful way.

Curiosity                                                                                                                                         
When we are children, we explore our environments like little scientists, thirsty to grow and learn in new ways. We are eager and ready to transform. Over time, we can become complacent and stuck, and our spirit can feel broken through the challenges that seem unfair and bigger than life. The way to help our spirit come back to that place of wholeness is to be curious about moving through life. We can help transform our challenges into opportunities for growth by allowing the struggles to unfold; by moving through the obstacles; and by experiencing every little part without losing ourselves along the way. All throughout the journey of life, we are afforded opportunities to continually grow and expand our scope of what is possible. We are surrounded by so many incredible things, people, and natural beauty. When we are open and inquisitive, we are more apt to find the inspiration to move forward, live fully, grow exponentially and heal great wounds. When we are curious about how we can grow through our struggles, we have a better chance of coming through the other end stronger. We become more resilient by being gifted the opportunity to transform.

While the above ideas may not be for everyone, they have become wonderful tools I have been able to apply in my life. The most challenging struggles I have come up against have provided the richest opportunities for learning and growth. In some cases, it has taken much longer to get to the place of readiness to grow than other times, but when I  approach my challenges with one of the above mindsets, I am amazed by the new ways I begin to see and experience life.

At the end of the day, what most of us really want is to feel good, to feel understood, and to feel loved. Sometimes the challenge is to get back to the place of experiencing those feelings.

If you are ready, open, and willing to move forward through a challenge, I recommend giving one of the above ideas a try to see if it's a right fit for you.

 

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Emily Madill

Emily Madill is an author, a professional coach and a motivational speaker. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Emily loves the creative process of writing. She writes a regular blog, is a blogger for The Huffington Post, and has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, for children and adults. When not engaged in her creative passions, Emily enjoys an active lifestyle including running, fitness, yoga, and keeping up with the adventurous pace of her family. Learn more at: www.emilymadill.com. Click here to view Emily describe the message at the core of her work, and how the words "Listening When the Soul Speaks" embody that principle. Click here to view why Emily was compelled to write her newest title, ‘Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time.’

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