5 Things to Do When You’re Riding the Struggle Bus

It doesn’t always work to hunker down and just gut it out.

Are you riding the struggle bus right now? Yeah, me too. Heck there are days when it’s like I’m driving that stinkin’ bus. Life has handed me a handful of setbacks over the past months. Taken on their own, each challenge is easy enough to tackle. But when they all pile up? It’s a bit overwhelming.

Can you relate?

Here’s what I’ve learned: For me, the default mode of “hunker down and just gut it out” isn’t so effective anymore (if it ever really was effective). So, if I’m not quite as physically tough as I used to be, thank heaven I am smarter.

So for this trip on the struggle bus, here’s my plan:

1. Take Steven Snyder’s book Leadership and the Art of the Struggle off my bookshelf and refresh my memory on the benefits of the “struggle”—yes, there are some.

2. Take a mental “time out” to figure out what parts of my struggle are truly worth the effort. I’ll think about:

  • Why is this so hard?
  • What do I believe about myself (“I’m not good at ____”) that’s getting in the way of me moving forward?
  • How might a role I really enjoy (ex: chauffeuring the kids to their various activities) need to be shared so I can get the rest I need?

3. Use the Great Dane model to decide what I can delegate, automate, negotiate and eliminate.

4. Learn to ask for help before I get stressed. Otherwise, the request is received as terse and demanding.

5. Lean on my friends for moral support. It’s important that we don’t go it alone. And if you feel yourself tempted to not honor a commitment you made to yourself, call on a friend that has great self-control. Research shows that these friends are more likely to keep you on course.

Everyone rides the struggle bus from time to time. It’s part of life. The first step is always awareness: “Hey, I’m really struggling with this. What’s up with that?” Then, you must lay out a plan for dealing with the struggle. Use any of these five tips to help you feel a bit less overwhelmed and more in control of your situation.

Jennifer Miller is a writer and leadership development consultant. This article originally appeared on Smartblog on Leadership.

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