BlogBudgetingMoney MindsetOvercoming obstacles in challenging times

August 2, 2020by Natasha Janssens

Since the start of COVID-19, the economic recession has been becoming more and more of a reality, and over the coming months, there will be a lot of challenges.

For some, this is the most terrifying part of the pandemic: how do I deal with the impending changes and set-backs?

I mentioned before that the key to successfully navigating a recession is having a ‘can do’ mindset and not buying into the negativity and pessimism that floods our newsfeed.

But staying positive in the face of adversity can be easier said than done. There is a far stronger urge to flip over the table when challenges arise and ask why things never go your way.

So here are a few tips to keep you going, especially when the going gets tough.

Tip #1 – Change Your Story

Repeat after me: Life doesn’t happen TO me, it happens FOR me.

Life is not meant to be smooth sailing all the time. Difficulties and challenges are a part of life, and obstacles are how we learn, evolve, and grow. In fact, if it weren’t for life throwing us curve balls, most of us would never reach our full potential, opting instead to play it safe and stick with what we know.

Consider a child who’s learning to walk. They don’t get it perfectly the first try, right? Instead, they try, fall down, try again, fall again, and learn and improve along the way.

Life is no different when we become adults, and it would be unrealistic of us to expect otherwise!

So when things don’t go your way, remind yourself that obstacles are actually life’s way of helping you to grow and of preparing you for what’s to come next. So instead of asking “why me?” ask yourself “what can I learn from this experience? How can I put this feedback to good use?”

For example, unexpected bills coming your way, are a sign that you need to adjust your budget to include a buffer for the unexpected, and to look for ways to quickly build up your cash reserves. If a contract position ends, it could be that push you needed for a bigger and better position to come into your life.


Tip #2 – Stop your Inner Victim in her tracks

When times are tough it’s not unusual for your inner victim voice to come out and play. She will ask questions like “why me?” and “why is it always one thing after another?”. She will try to tell you that things never go your way. She will say things like “what’s the point in even trying, every time I do, something bad happens”.

When you hear yourself thinking this way, try to stop yourself in your tracks, and change the story. Ask yourself, how might someone you admire view the same situation? Remember, our emotional baggage often causes us to blow things out of proportion.

Tip #3 – Honour Your Emotions

Squashing your inner victim voice doesn’t mean you should sweep your emotions and frustrations under the rug, though. It’s only human to feel angry, sad or frustrated when you’re faced with yet another obstacle, so rather than suppress our emotions we need to release them.

Do you need to scream into a pillow for a little while? Or put on a sad movie so you can cry for a few hours? Whatever it will take for you to release that emotional baggage, give yourself permission to do exactly that. The sooner you can do that, the sooner you can move on to taking positive action.

Tip #4 – Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

When we are feeling low, it is easy to look at our social media feed and judge our shortcomings.

After all, people usually only post their highlight reels on Facebook or Instagram, making it easy to compare your lowest of lows to someone else’s highs.

Instead, take the social media feed with a grain of salt. Remind yourself that everyone has their own challenges to face, no matter how privileged they seem. For example, mental health struggles don’t discriminate by income, and even someone who has had every job handed to them can be diagnosed with a terminal illness, be drowning in debt or going through a bad breakup.

Tip #5 – Focus On What You Can Control

Rather than focusing your energy on beating yourself up and overthinking, you will achieve far better results by focusing on what’s within your control and taking it one step at a time.

There was a powerful example of this in this year’s Australian Open that stuck with me (and you don’t have to be a tennis fan to appreciate it). In the final match, Novak Djokovic was down two sets to one. To put it plainly, he was getting his butt kicked and it looked as though his fate was sealed.

At this point, it would have been easy for him to give up or begin to berate himself for the mistakes he had made. Instead, he calmed and centered himself. Rather than overthinking it, he focused only on putting one foot in front of the other and point by point he went on to win the match!

So no matter how badly the odds seem stacked against you; you, too, can center yourself and focus on putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again until you achieve your goal.

Tip #6 – Make A Failure Plan

And no, I don’t mean plan to fail. The best way to overcome obstacles is to plan ahead for them. Recognise that life isn’t always going to go your way and plan for how you’re going to motivate yourself back into action when it happens.

For example, you could make a pact with yourself that says you’re going to mope around, eat loads of junk food, and binge watch TV for two days and then it’s back on the horse. You could journal all the incredible things you’ve achieved, to remind yourself how truly awesome you are. Or you could decide to call a friend or talk to someone who inspires you.

The fact that you’ve done this will make it that much harder for you to take a setback personally, because you will remember setbacks are just a part of life! Then, follow your failure plan and allow yourself to recover.

No matter how many obstacles you face over the course of your life, don’t allow yourself to get sucked into a doom-and-gloom mindset. Instead of focusing on everything that went wrong, find the silver lining or the lesson to be gained and ask yourself how you can use that feedback to your advantage. Remind yourself of your awesomeness and go forth and own it. You’ve got this!

If you would like a helping hand to identify your current state of mind and how you can empower your inner Warrior, check out our Money Type Quiz and book in for a free consultation.


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Natasha Janssens
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Natasha Janssens is a Certified Money Coach (CMC)® and founder of Women with Cents. She is an award winning finance expert with a passion for supporting women to transform their relationship with money. If you don't know what you don't know when it comes to money and financial matters, her book Wonder Woman's Guide to Money is for you. If you would like to work with Natasha, take the Money Type Quiz and book a quick get-to-know you call.

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