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Written by: Jenkins Ebiware Jr . January 30, 2022

5 Steps for Overcoming Work Challenges

When I was growing up, if I ever started complaining about how difficult things were or how hard a time I was having, my mother would always say, suck it up. "Adversity, build character". Sometimes I used to think that she'd make me do things the hard way, just for the sake of being difficult. But you know what? She had a point. Building the right skills to overcome obstacles, is one of the best things that we can do for ourselves to help improve our lives.

We're all facing challenges at work, at home, in our businesses, or all of the above. Every obstacle brings with it, the opportunity to improve, get new skills and gain experience. Even so called bad experiences can be helpful if they teach you what to avoid when you come in into that same obstacle later on in your life. So in this article today, we're going to discuss 5 steps that you can start taking to overcome your work challenges.

Step 1. Stop Complaining

When it comes to dealing with obstacles, there's one golden rule to follow, stop, whining, and get on with it. Complaining about your challenges and adversity, isn't going to make it go away. Neither is procrastinating to avoid the obstacle. It's important that you face any obstacles you have in life, head on and deal with them there. Otherwise they can come back to haunt you and be a blight on your life longer that it needs to be. Once you know what the problem is, you are halfway to finding a solution. So, evaluate the obstacle, and then decide what needs to be done.

Here's an example. Let's say you are constantly being overlooked for a promotion at work, or your manager keeps giving you all the crappy assignments while all your coworkers get all the fun projects. Instead of complaining about it you need to ask yourself, why. What does everyone else who gets promoted, or gets the good assignments have that I don't? If you don't have the skills or qualifications, then you might to take a course, attend a seminar, even go back to college. You decide what you need to do, what path you're going to take, and take it.

If you discover that your boss is the obstacle, that they are purposely favoring others over you, then you'll need to take more subtle actions. 

Start by asking them why, and if they're honest, they'll tell you. Once you've learned what needs to change, then you'll need to do to do whatever is necessary to solve the problem. If you get an answer that you don't like, or an answer that it too vague then this is where you'll need to learn how to play politics in the workplace. Especially if you're in a larger company. Make friends with someone who who can put in a good word for you, so you can get that promotion. 

However, if you work for a small business and your boss, for example, is the owner. Then your only option in that case, if they're the ones holding you back, might be to find another job elsewhere. Because if you do nothing, then that obstacle will remain in your way forever. 

Step 2: Set the Right Goals for Yourself

If you're thinking, here we go again, another article about goal setting don't move on just yet. Okay. Because many professionals don't bother to set goals for overcoming challenges. When faced with a challenge or problem, many believe that goal setting just doesn't work and leads to disappointments. If this sounds like you, then I urge you to keep reading. 

The reason many people are disappointed in their goals is because a) they're not setting the right type of goals and b) they don't design a road map to help them achieve those goals.

So how do we go about setting the right types of goals? The key is to set smart goals.

Smart is an acronym for the ideal type of goal to set. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Setting a smart goal gives you the ability to really clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively. Which increases your chances of achieving that goal and in the process avoiding disappointment. Think about these steps for a moment, don't they make sense?

If you don't know what you want, how will you know when you've achieved it? 

Likewise, it's also important to be able to understand how close you are to achieving your goal. Is this something you're actually able to do? Remember, setting goals is meant to inspire motivation, not discourage you from doing your work. So set smart goals to help you get what you want out of life.

Step 3. Build a Map

Have you ever found yourself in a completely different city and you needed to find your way around? Normally you'd pull up your GPS and easily find where you are. Then, you'll search for where you want to go and then get step by step directions on the best way to get there. We've all done this, and we can do the same when it comes to setting our smart goals for overcoming problems and obstacles. Taking this approach has several advantages when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, you will know exactly what you need to achieve before you can take the next step. In order to do this, you first have to do that. Before you can do that, you first have to do something else. 

Secondly, once you've completed each step along the way, you'll know that you are going to be in the best position possible to achieve that goal. And the one after that. And one after that, until you reach your end goal. The process of laying out a road map will help you determine if your end goal is achievable. It's the best way to find out if what you're aiming for is realistic and it will help you decide if you're simply wasting time and effort on it before you even get started. 

Now this doesn't mean that building a road map is going to automatically help you overcome your obstacles. There will be times when you can't solve the problem with your plan. When this happens, you'll need to try something else, figure out a workaround. This technique of mapping out your smart goals will also help you think of workarounds and backup plans for your obstacles.