What helps you stay motivated when you’re struggling? What’s something positive you try to keep in mind when everything seems to be going wrong? Here are some of the best words of advice and “collective wisdom” I’ve learned from those who have made it through their struggles. I hope they can inspire you when things get rough.

This Too Shall Pass

Problems and heartaches in life are inevitable. Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. When life seems hard to bear remember that everything in life is in a temporary state; someday this struggle will be over. Nothing stays the same forever and neither will your struggle—after darkness there is always light.

You Can Handle This

One of the things to remember when you’re facing difficulties is that you’ve handled problems in the past. Don’t overlook past difficulties that you’ve dealt with successfully. Remind yourself of all the past problems you’ve overcome and you’ll gain confidence in dealing with the current issues. It’s not what the world takes away from you that matters; rather, it is what you do with what you have left.

Pain is Part of Growing

Most of us learn more through our mistakes, trials and tribulations than we do from our successes. This is probably because pain forces us to change; morphing us into stronger, more capable individuals. This is something to keep in mind when we are struggling; the process is helping us to grow, change and adapt, even while it’s not easy to accept at times. In the end, something good inevitably comes from the pain we’ve had to endure.

Tackle One Day at a Time

It’s natural to get overwhelmed by our struggles but there’s no point in trying to tackle all the problems in the world simultaneously; it’s just too difficult. Identify the priorities and try to focus on tackling one thing at a time; one day at a time. You’ll find it easier to cope and much more effective.

Do More, Say Less

When things aren’t going our way, most of us, me included, have a tendency to complain. However, in my experience complaining rarely does much to improve the situation and can often make matters worse. Let’s face it; it’s tiresome to provide support to someone who shares their problems with you constantly. So try to hold back on complaining and focus on doing something to help you move forward. As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

Have Faith

There are times when life seems hopeless. At these dark times all you can do is give away control of the outcome and pray for help. You cannot force things to happen. At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE. Have faith that life will work out somehow. Ultimately, there are blessings hidden in every struggle you face; even when it doesn’t seem that way. But you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them. Meditation and prayer can help; especially at these intense times.

Take Care of Yourself

“While it’s not easy to go through hard times, the ability to keep a good attitude is what helps you get through challenging times and also makes great things possible. It’s important to take care of your mental health and physical health. Find the strength to stay positive. Laugh even while your heart is hurting. Spend time with other people and try not to isolate yourself so that you do not feel alone. Dwell on the good things in your life at this moment and list them out. Give yourself space and time to re-energize. This includes: exercising even when you don’t feel like it, avoiding junk food, eating nutritiously to sustain your health and making sure to get sufficient sleep.

Remember, every struggle you encounter is a step forward; part of life’s journey and your opportunity to learn about yourself and shape your specific destiny. The way in which you are able to handle what life throws at you, defines your future and who you will become. It is the ultimate motivator. With this perspective, life is tough, but you are tougher.

Sally Stanleigh

Sally Stanleigh is a senior partner in Business Improvement Architects and the Chief Operating Officer. Sally manages the operation and develops and implements communications, marketing and promotion programs. She is also responsible for spearheading and managing the company's corporate research projects. Sally has a background in marketing and communications and previously worked as a senior product manager with multi-national corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive and Phillip Morris before founding Business Improvement Architects with her husband and partner, Michael Stanleigh. On occasion, Sally is asked by clients for help with business planning. She facilitates the planning process as a consultant and helps clients with the development of their marketing plans and programs. She has also presented to professional groups on such topics as: customer feedback systems, employee motivation, development of incentive programs and trends. You may contact her at sstanleigh@bia.ca.