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Facing Challenges: How to Appreciate and Learn From Them


Are you facing challenges in your life or your business right now? Most of us are, especially with everything we’ve been through this past year and half collectively.

Facing challenges is never easy, and these days, there are some real challenges many of us face – at work, at home, in relationships, with money, with family, in the world, and much more.


The challenges themselves, even the most difficult ones, aren’t usually the real issue.


The Real Issue Behind Facing Challenges


The real issue that we face when it comes to challenges is our relationship to them.

Our relationship with challenges is what can bring about the most difficulty and suffering. Think of what your life, your relationships, and your career would be like if you didn’t complain about or resist challenges when they showed up. For most of us, myself included, this would make things very different and much more enjoyable.


So why do we struggle so much when we’re facing challenges? How can we improve our relationship with challenges and learn how to overcome them in a healthy way?


Overcoming Resistance


Resisting, complaining about, or even feeling sorry for ourselves about the “bad” things that are happening is normal. We’re often encouraged to deal with challenges this way by the people around us and our culture in general – whether we do it out loud or just in our heads.


However, while understandable, these things don’t address the real issues, the genuine emotions we’re experiencing, or make things better for us.


I’m not advocating that we pretend everything is “fine” when it isn’t in some phony way – this can be denial or toxic positivity, neither of which will help.


When it comes to dealing with difficulty, the question in life isn’t whether or not we’ll face challenges. The question is, what will we do, and how will we respond when they arise?


Do we avoid dealing with difficult things and learning from them by playing the role of the victim and not acknowledging our true feelings about them, or do we face them directly, acknowledge our emotions, and choose to grow from the experience?

It’s always up to us.


On our path of life, growth, and success, we all encounter difficulties. The road to success is full of lessons from failure, making mistakes, and facing challenges.


You cannot succeed if you don’t experience failure. It’s how you deal with failure that determines how successful you can be.


Challenges can be amazing learning experiences – things that force you to grow and change.


Many of the most successful and fulfilled people who’ve ever walked the planet have faced incredible obstacles. But they learned how to get back up after they fell.


What if we appreciated these challenges? Remember, appreciating something doesn’t necessarily mean we like or enjoy it. Appreciation means that we recognize the value of it.


How Facing Challenges Can Help Us Grow


Here’s a list of some things we can appreciate when things get tough:


  • Challenges often give us important feedback about where and who we are

  • Challenges give us contrast and can help us appreciate things when they get easier

  • Challenges can allow us to wake up and notice all the good things that are happening that we weren’t paying attention to

  • Challenges are almost always an excellent opportunity for learning, growth, and improvement

  • Challenges allow us to get in touch with, take responsibility for, and express our real emotions


By learning to appreciate our challenges and see the opportunities in them, we take our power back from the situations and circumstances of our lives.


Our ability to appreciate difficulties, learn from them, and use them to our advantage gives us an important insight into who we are and how to create success and fulfillment consciously and deliberately.


Here’s What You Can Do


Make a list of some of the biggest challenges in your life right now. Answer these questions about them:


· What can you appreciate about each of these difficulties?

· What are you learning from them?

· What are you able to appreciate in yourself and your life because of these things?


If you look for it, you’ll be able to find many things to appreciate about every one of them.


It’s time to get real about how we feel and to face our challenges head-on.

Appreciating these difficulties can allow us to accept them, learn from them, and ultimately take back our power from them. Doing this reminds us that we’re the authors of our lives – not the circumstances we’re facing.


Where in your life are you currently facing challenges? What do you appreciate about these specific challenges (i.e., what are you learning from them and what can you be grateful for about dealing with them)? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more below or directly on my blog.


I have written five books about the importance of trust, authenticity, appreciation, and more. I deliver keynotes and seminars (both in-person and virtually) to empower people, leaders, and teams to grow, connect, and perform their best. As an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, I teach techniques that allow people and organizations to be more authentic and effective. Find out more about how I can help you and your team achieve your goals today. You can also listen to my podcast here.


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This article was published on February 10, 2011 and updated for 2021.


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