Five Ways to Carry On Through Challenging Times

A few weeks ago, my colleague Doug Glener wrote a blog regarding the results from our company’s recent survey that involved more than 800 L&D executives, managers, and specialists. We asked them about the biggest challenges they face in designing training for hybrid workers in 2022. We were able to break down their answers into three main themes:

  • People are overloaded, tired, and “too busy to learn.”
  • It’s getting more difficult to maintain interpersonal connections.
  • Virtual/digital designs need to be more effective and engaging.

We know learning and development professionals everywhere have been working hard to address each of these challenges. Thousands of other folks continue the struggle of trying to help their organization recover in different ways from the damage caused by the pandemic. It can be tough to keep a positive attitude.

I was fortunate to work with the late, great Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of the mega-bestselling book The Power of Positive Thinking, when he was my coauthor on The Power of Ethical Management. In the book, we introduced five core principles of power that can be easily applied by anyone struggling to cope with today’s world.

Review Your Purpose

The best way to keep yourself on track when facing a problem or challenge is to review your purpose. A person’s life purpose is not the same as a goal—goals have a beginning and an end. Your purpose is ongoing. It keeps you motivated because it’s the life ideal you strive for—your “why.” As an example, my personal life purpose is: “To be a loving teacher and example of simple truths who helps and motivates myself and others to awaken to the presence of God in our lives, so we realize we are here to serve rather than to be served.”

An organization’s purpose is its vision, which is communicated from executive leadership. As I often say, leadership is about going somewhere. Organizations that have a clear and compelling vision know where they are going and how to get there. And people who know their life’s purpose have a reason for staying the course when things get tough. 

(By the way, if you don’t have a life purpose and want to create one, check out my blog post Writing Your Personal Life Purpose.)

Take Pride in Your Accomplishments

My definition of pride isn’t about having a big ego. It’s about believing in yourself and your abilities. It’s the sense of satisfaction you get from a job well done. It’s also the healthy self-esteem you feel when you aim high but are still aware that things may not always go the way you expect. When you believe in yourself, you have the strength to get up and get going again after you fall. And you can help your colleagues develop better feelings about themselves by catching them doing things right and praising their progress.

Cultivate Patience

Since the onset of the pandemic, I’m pretty sure we all know what patience feels like! It’s important to develop the capacity to accept, or at least tolerate, negative and unforeseen aspects of life and work. It’s about trusting that your values and beliefs will prevail in the long term—and that when you give your best effort and do the right thing, even if things are difficult right now, your struggles will pay off in the long run.

Be Persistent

Patience and persistence go hand in hand. Patience can help you get through difficult times, but persistence is essential if you want to keep moving forward toward goal accomplishment. Persistence also keeps you focused on your purpose no matter what is happening around you. It’s about having faith in yourself, honoring commitments, staying the course, keeping your eye on the finish line, and knowing things will get better.

Gaining Some Perspective

Perspective is the most significant of the five principles. It’s the ability to see what is truly important in any given situation. When you lack perspective, you can start feeling and believing that your problems are far more serious than they really are. On the other hand, people who have a good perspective on life can maintain a healthy balance about what is important and what is not.

Gaining perspective can be as simple as taking time every day to assess and reflect on what’s going on in your life and work. You can do it when you first get up, just before going to sleep, or any other time that works for you. Some people pray, others meditate, some write in a journal, some read inspirational quotes. Others practice yoga, listen to classical music, or go for a walk. You can even do a combination of several of these things. There’s no one best way—whatever works for you to quiet your mind and bring you into a reflective state.

I would never attempt to downplay the challenges everyone is facing these days. All I can offer is hope and a few strategies to help you maintain a positive outlook as we all move forward together through this strange time in our lives. So give yourself the gift of reviewing your purpose, taking pride in your accomplishments, cultivating patience, being persistent, and gaining some perspective. It can’t hurt—and I hope it helps!

One thought on “Five Ways to Carry On Through Challenging Times

  1. Ken, great soul-stirring blog containing several of my favorite “p” leadership words! Perseverance is another “p” word. Would you see it as synonymous with persistence or distinct in what ways? Do be blessed by a engaging #MerryChristmas !

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