Overcoming challenges: Adopt an ‘I will’ attitude

By Beverly Benson
BAMC RN/Health Promotion Educator
Army Department of Preventive Medicine

What do you do when you’re faced with a challenge? What if it involves something you’re deathly afraid of?  What if you might fail?

Sometimes, when we look at a challenge we think: “There’s no way I can climb that. I’m too afraid (or too weak, or too “whatever”), I can’t, I won’t be able to, I’ll never.” And on we go, convincing ourselves of all the reasons why we shouldn’t even try. So we walk away without ever discovering just how strong we really are.

Size it up
Instead of saying “I can’t” right off the bat, try sizing up the challenge realistically.

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

 

Now, we’ve all heard someone say it, or have said it ourselves, “I’m not a pessimist; I’m a realist.” To that I say, “Hogwash!” I’ve seen people with no arms or legs jump in a pool and swim. In fact, I have posted to my personal Facebook page a video of a girl born with no legs and only part of one arm setting world records in the Paralympics. It’s not about what we can’t do; it’s about what we won’t try.

Look at your challenge for ways you can.

Start somewhere
When we’re afraid to move and give in to that fear we lose. However, when we “do it scared” we always gain. We learn things about ourselves, gain self confidence and strength. We win!

So, face your challenge, pick your path, and start your climb.

Now what?
When you’ve started and come to a crossroad you have to decide: Do I keep going this way, which is longer, but a bit easier? Do I go straight up, which is shorter, but more difficult? Or, do I really challenge myself and take the “ladder” that is less stable, but gives greater rewards at the end?

It’s your decision, but either way: You are climbing. You are facing your challenge. So keep going!

The decision is made
You will ascend the more difficult, but not the most difficult, climb. You’re gaining confidence you’ve never had because you realize what you are doing is something you never thought you could do.

This is really high!
Suddenly, you realize just how far you’ve come. Your mind begins to race and “Shoulder Guy” starts telling you to “look down” and “You should see just how high up you are. What if you fall? What if you can’t make it?” Your body begins to shake and your heart races. Breathing becomes faster and you start to panic. Stop! You can do this. Do NOT listen to “Shoulder Guy.”

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

I’m doing it!
Find a way. Use the other “obstacles” to shimmy up high enough to reach that next step. Obstacles do not have to be barriers to success. Use them to find out how you can and don’t listen to “Shoulder Guy” tell you that you can’t. He lies!

Just scoot that foot up to the next step, pull with your arms and push with your legs, grab the rope with your teeth and pull if you have to; just do something to keep moving up, no matter how long it takes.

Almost there
You’ve pushed past your fear, knocked “Shoulder Guy” off your shoulder, found a way past difficulties and obstacles. You’re almost there; stay focused on your goal. Your body may be tired, you may want to give up, but keep pushing!

Pull!
Now all that’s left is to pull yourself to the top, ring the bell, and come back down.

The hardest part is over. Use that realization to give you added strength and pull with all your might. Don’t stop. You can do it!

You made it!
You faced down your fear and doubt and conquered it. Be proud of yourself.

While this is an illustration of challenges we face in life, I wanted to show you that you can do things you never thought possible.

It all begins with the attitude of “I will.” I will take that first step. I will keep climbing. I will stay focused on the goal and not look back. I will never give up!

Believe me when I tell you this: You can do it! You are worth it!

2 thoughts on “Overcoming challenges: Adopt an ‘I will’ attitude”

  1. Beverly,
    Thanks for the great words of wisdom and inspiration.
    I think we often compare ourselves to others and feel less successful which may also equal less worthy. That further erodes confidence and self worth leading to lack of trying and taking the first step.
    This article reminded me of my half-marathon training journey in 2008. I set a goal and made a commitment to run with my sister. I battled pain, nagging injuries, and other obstacles. But 3/4 way through around the 10-12 mile training mark, I realized the journey was SO much deeper! I had to push past my initials reasons for competing such as: not letting my sister down, not giving in to self doubt, trying to avoid being a quitter or looking weak, and it being my hardest physical fitness challenge to date.I had arrived at my mental ‘brick wall’: “Am I worth it? Will I choose to (literally) go the distance?”. As Yoda famously said in Star Wars, “Do or Do not. There is no try.” The answers to my questions were all a resounding “yes!” and when I crossed the finish line under my goal time, no moment had ever tasted sweeter. Whether in a running race like mine or in personal life, I’ve learned it really just boils down to tackling it one step at a time and always continue moving forward.

  2. This was inspirational to me. Right now (really for 5+ years now) I have been going thru some very tough times at work…cronyism, lack of the Army values of Ethics, Honesty, and Integrity…but I just have to keep pushing on and ethics, honesty, and integrity will prevail…soon I hope! At least I see a light at the end of the tunnel…so glad the Air Force has arrived (and sadly that is from someone who left the Army Reserves as a SSgt saying that). I am afraid many people in the health industry should not be in it; they have lost the REASON we are here…to help others. That goes for DOD civilians as well as our enlisted and retired soldiers. Please help them see the light and to remind themselves of the “do no harm” part of what they swore an oath to.

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