6 Methods to Overcome Challenges at Work

change Oct 15, 2020

If you are like me, each day, we encounter numerous challenges at our jobs. Some challenges are brought to us and some we manufacture ourselves.  Many of us try our hardest to make excuses to avoid these challenges, while others use them as opportunities to advance their careers. Sometimes it’s not so much about the challenge itself, but how we deal with them and move forward. Being recognized as someone who will transform challenges into opportunities, you will become an invaluable member of the team. After all, you’ll be seen as the person who can turn lemons into a successful lemonade stand.

To illustrate, in our work life, we’ve all come across two types of people, one we’ll call Nancy and the other Megan. Now Nancy, or Negative Nancy as she’s known, is that person we know that every time there is a process change at work, she will complain, fight it, and try to convince everyone around her to be negative and not adopt the new process. 

Then there’s Megan, or Merry Megan. Every time there is a process change at work, she would quickly implement the change, ask critical questions to understand the context, and try to influence others to jump on board. 

Do you work with a Nancy or a Megan? Do you recognize a little bit of Nancy and/or Megan in yourself? As Sweet But Fearless (SBF) women, we want to make sure you succeed!. Try these tips to be your best fearless self!

Tips to overcome challenges at work and attain the success you seek:

  1. Stay calm in stressful situations. We all get stressed and frustrated at times. However, it’s important to try to avoid it happening in the workplace, so it doesn’t negatively affect your career. Like the old adage states, never let them see you sweat!
    • Using stress relieving strategies will help you maintain your calm at work. Meditation and journaling are especially good for this, as they can help you clear your mind, instill calm, and even come up with viable solutions to your work issues.
    • If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at work, find a quiet place, mentally and/or physically. If your company has a private breakroom or a quiet room you can go to, go hang out there and gather your thoughts. Or take a walk outside (weather permitting), try to find a new perspective on that thing that’s bothering you.
    • Rember, when you have to work with the same people every day, you want to maintain a cordial relationship with them, or at least an effective working relationship. Don’t burn bridges, no matter how badly the urge. You never know who you may encounter in the future - either as a co-worker, boss, or client.
  2. Get advice from experienced colleagues. While at work, you may come across issues that you’ve never encountered before. In this situation, you can either improvise or seek advice from someone who may have encountered this issue in the past.
    • If you maintain a good relationship with your colleagues, talk with them. Approach it as a, “can you help me understand” conversation. You’re genuinely asking for help and to understand why decisions or actions are being made. For the most part, people do want to help. Especially if you approach it in a positive manner. Be a Megan!
    • Lean on your community to help you through the challenges. Utilize your most trusted peers and mentors as a sounding board for their perspective. Come to them not just with the issue but how you think you should best handle it. Let them know your thought process and why you may not agree with the situation. And remain neutral. Going in with an inquiring mind allows you to be seen as questioning, not negative.
    • Become an active member of the Sweet But Fearless community. A place where you can connect with others who may be going through something similar and share ideas and your frustrations. A place where you can safely share your concerns and have an open dialogue.
  3. Take time to strategize. Many challenges present unique opportunities. Take the time to analyze the situation, consider the advantages and disadvantages of different available options, and plan out a viable solution. This is time well-spent. Not only will you be able to resolve the challenge effectively, but you may also garner credibility.
    • You can do the old-fashioned, Pros/Cons exercise. Take a piece of paper, put Pros on one side and Cons on the other. Looking at the Cons, what actions can you take to get them over to the Pros side?
    • Mind Mapping works for others. This critical-thinking approach, in which a “map” is created by placing the challenge in the middle of a blank page, then writing down various ways to overcome the challenge linked via lines or arrows, creating a visual decision making “map”. There are numerous articles and YouTube videos that can provide additional ideas on how to create a viable Mind Map.
    • Utilize your support community. Sometimes talking it through is the easiest and best way to strategize.
  4. Don't be afraid to take risks. No one ever got ahead in business by playing it safe all the time. This may seem intimidating, but when you face your fears and try to overcome challenges, you show how capable you are. A 2018 study by KPMG showed:
    • That only 43% of respondents were open to taking bigger risks associated with career advancement.
    • Women who hold back often tend to worry about how they’re being perceived.
    • Forty-one percent of respondents didn’t want to look like they don’t as much as they should.
    • Twenty-nine percent of women incited not being confident enough.
    • And when they do fail, 86% admitted to being more cautious about their future steps.
    •
  5. Be confident in your own ability. Regardless of what industry you’re in, when you show confidence, you also show your colleagues and superiors that you are capable of the jobs you are tasked with.
    • Think of it this way, if you don’t have faith in your ability, how can you expect others to? You know what you’re capable of, you need to make sure others know it as well.
    • When your confidence is lacking, remember how many challenges you have already overcome. In the book, “The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, they discovered that men were more likely to apply for a promotion than women.
      1. Men applied for a promotion when they thought they met 60% of the job requirements
      2. Women applied when they believed they met 100% of the job requirements
    • And sometimes, you need to live the “fake it until you make it” adage. Sometimes imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, you can realize those qualities in your own life. There are many TedTalks on this very subject (Ted.com or on YouTube).
  6. Take a break. In order to overcome any challenges, we face, it’s important to ensure that our brains are rested.
    • Going out for lunch, drinks with your colleagues, or letting your hair down for a bit will leave you in a more positive frame of mind.
    • Plus, you are building a better bond with your colleagues, which can also help overcome challenges because they’re glad to help a friend.

People who are successful in work are not much different from the rest of us. They just know how to overcome any challenges they face and use them to their advantage.

Start now! Use these tips everyday and see your career aspirations soar!