How to Get Better Results at the Things You Struggle With
Is there an area of your life where it’s a struggle to get the results you want?
Maybe you struggle with attention to detail, accepting feedback, or handling office politics. Perhaps it’s about influencing clients, overreacting to setbacks or holding people accountable.
When you work hard on something and still don’t get great results, it’s natural to feel frustrated, avoid the activity or even stop trying. But often, you can’t. And approaching these situations with frustration and dread just makes your results worse.
What I’ve discovered is there can be a simpler way to make the changes needed to get the results you want. And it doesn’t require making a 180-degree change in who you are.
A Simpler Way to Get Better Results
When you can’t get out of the activity or task, it’s time to get into it by taking the things you do well and applying the principles to the things you’re struggling with. It’s what I call “flipping the switch”.
When you walk into a room and flip the light switch up, the lights go on. It’s simple, instant and not much effort is involved. All you need is to make the connection between the electrical current and the light bulb.
The same kind of instant change can happen when you find the key that connects something you do well with something else that you’d like to do well.
It just takes three steps.
1. Identify your area of struggle
First, identify where you’re struggling and want to get better results. Some clues to look for are times when you get frustrated or feel blocked by people or things outside your control. You might even have written off these situations as something you’re not able to change.
For my husband, it’s the admin side of managing his basketball team, like making sure the schedule is set and the transportation lined up. For me, it was honoring my relationships with my family while I was at work.
2. Identify your area of excellence
Next, get in touch with a situation where you’re at your best. An area of excellence where you’re “in the zone”, getting results and things feel easeful. Chances are you’ll also be giving off positive energy and creating an environment where people around you feel good too.
Notice the level of focus, attention and care you’re applying in that situation. How do you feel and how do you make others feel? What’s the impact you’re having on the situation and the people around you?
For my husband, it’s when he’s working with his basketball players. That’s his “happy place” and he’s completely focused on them – their moods, their needs and what it will take to get a positive result from the interaction, game or practice session.
The same goes for me when I’m with my clients. Even with the toughest clients, we end up getting positive results and even having fun.
3. Form the connection
Having identified your areas of struggle and excellence, it’s then about creating a conscious connection or bridge between the two. How could you apply the principles that work for you in the area where you’re getting excellent results to the one where you need to improve?
For my husband, it was taking the same energy, attention and focus he uses with his players and applying it to the people who help on the administrative side. And indeed, once he put the administrators into the same mental category as his players, he was able to have much better conversations that led to better results without it feeling like hard work.
In my case, I never took personal calls at work unless it was an emergency. My clients came first in the office, so how dare I allow distractions from fulfilling my duty. Even my department head couldn’t persuade me to change my habits and “take those calls from your husband!”
Until one day, my husband got fed up with being a second-class citizen and asked for client status. That’s when the lightbulb finally went on for me. If husband = client, then it would be easy for me to take his calls at the office. In fact, I would have to take his calls.
That’s the day I “flipped the switch”, and I’ve taken my husband’s calls at the office ever since.
Start Getting Better Results
So when you’re struggling with some aspect of your work or life, take a moment to pause and think about your areas of excellence. Look for the parallels and connections to your area of struggle.
Then identify the bridge or connection that would allow you to simply “flip the switch” and get better results. This will turn your struggling into better outcomes for yourself and everyone around you.
What could you transport from one area of your life to get better results in another?
Leave a comment and let me know.
Dear May, I have been reading most of your posts but has not made comments even I enjoyed them. I felt compelled to let you know how I was struck by your example of not answering calls from your husband during work – I will answer my wife’s calls in the future. I like your “flipping the switch” advice. It makes great sense. Thank you. Daniel
Great to hear from you, Daniel and thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s marvelous that you are “flipping the switch” and will answer your wife’s calls in the future. Based on my experience, your life will become even better!
Excellent advice!!! Although I’m not working for pay anymore, I feel this information is very valuable! Thank you very much!
Thank you, Ann!
Frankly speaking from about half year I ‘am doing SWOT analysis in the case of unsuccessful. It helps me for fit for my next challenge. Even though the next won’t be succeed I can estimate my distance to the expected goal or change the goal to easier reachable with my current potency. It looks enoying but makes things forward.
Love how you’re preparing for the next challenge each time, Michal. Keep going!
Thank you for sharing. Your recent article is very timely. I am taking a switch from 25 years of old school marketing to Digital Marketing. This has been a paradigm shift and a challenge.
I have taken some courses but every turn I take, there is something to learn. I have not settled in yet to make my own coaching business successful. I am still thinking, I need more to learn before taking next step. This is slowing me down. Salaam
You are not alone, Ahamed. I wonder if you can find a smaller switch to flip to help you get started? One that helps you take a step forward toward the bigger switch of “old school marketing to Digital Marketing” without “waiting until you learn more”.
Perhaps an example of a time when you had to learn as you went along – or as the saying goes, “build the plane as you’re flying it”? Once you identify that example, you can connect it to your current situation so you can start taking steps without having to know everything.
Whatever you decide, I’m rooting for you to keep going!
I want to flip the switch on having difficulty with writing content for work. I’m aware of the “Writer’s Block” tricks, buy I really just need to get out of my own way.
Sounds like you’ve nailed it! And it’s a good reminder that so often in life, it’s about getting out of our own way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.