As my Italian friends ask “How you doin?” How are you handling these interesting and challenging times? Jesus said that you “will have trials” – not that you might, or you probably will, but that you will face trials. How we respond in difficult situations not only determines our joy and satisfaction during such times, but also our success in getting through tough times, as well as our future success.
If trials are a given, then the key question becomes how to deal with them in the most productive way. I have three thoughts that will help when you face trials.
- Stay focused – It’s easy to get distracted and discouraged, but don’t let it get the best of you. Discouragement results when you give your attention to all that is not going well. Even in difficult times you can be encouraged by focusing on what you want to make happen, not all the things that are getting in the way. There is, and always will be, plenty of negativity. In your heart you know that you will get through this tough time, just like you have all the other tough times. Stay positive. Stay connected to a vision that is personally compelling and inspirational. This is critical at any point in time; it is absolutely essential in difficult times.
- Be willing to change – If what you’ve done in the past isn’t working, then try something new. Challenging times often require new and innovative strategies. Don’t be afraid to do things differently, and do different things. As the marketplace changes you will need to change and adapt with it. Step out, and try something new.
- Keep moving – When times are tough and uncertainty is high, the natural tendency is to slow down, or to pull back. This may be the natural tendency but it’s not a very effective approach. Some action is always better than no action. The more productive approach is to “lean into it.” The best way to move though uncertainty is through trial and error. If you are on new ground, which is typically the case with change, the most effective way to determine the next step is to take “a” step and assess. Then take the next step, and the next step, and so on. Keep moving.
You will have trials. Be prepared. Learn and adapt. Use the current trials to prepare you for the next peak.