Feeling Defeated? Coach Yourself Through Tough Times

The essential self-coaching techniques used by high achievers.

Feeling defeated? Believe it or not, we all face tough times—it’s unavoidable.

Even the most successful people you know can tell you about the incredible challenges they’ve faced if you ever take the time to ask.

But winners find a way to win anyway, because how you respond to tough times determines the kind of life you can have. It’s not what happens to you—it’s how you respond to what happens to you.

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to what happens to you. Click To Tweet

Quitting is Almost Always a Bad Idea

Employee feeling defeated and quitting job.

When times get tough—and they always do—winners don’t impulsively quit.

They know quitting is almost always a bad idea, so they rely on their mental toughness and stay in control of their emotions when they start feeling defeated.

Fortunately for me, at 8 years old, my mother came up with an example about quitting that has stuck with me all my life.

She said the problem with quitting was that once you get started, it is hard to stop because it becomes much easier the next time.

It’s like taking a simple wooden block and rolling it over from one side to another. She said that’s like quitting. When you roll it over, the edges start to get dull, and that makes it easier to roll it over the next time.

The more you do it, the easier it gets. So when it comes to quitting, never get started.

I know she had a lot of challenges in her life and this seemed to be a lesson that she had learned early and used to face all those tough challenges as they came along.

This was a pivotal lesson for me. I’ve had many failures in my life because—let’s face it—they are unavoidable. But I’ve never quit. As a result, I’ve always been able to keep moving forward.

Successful People Overcome Obstacles

Female athlete jumping over a hurdle.

It would be easy to assume the most successful people in life simply face fewer obstacles—that they had it easy.

You might find this hard to believe, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Before she became a television talk show host, Oprah was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore. (Not to mention the trauma she experienced as a child.) But she didn’t let that ruin her spirit. Soon after, she worked on her first talk show and later went on to host her own talk show that ran for 25 seasons. Now she has a net worth of $2.7 billion.

Best-selling author Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times! At one point in the writing process, he felt so defeated that he threw it in the trash. With some encouragement from his wife, he kept going. And now he’s published 54 novels and sold over 350 million books.

The same thing happened to current, best-selling novelist James Patterson when he got started. He was also rejected over 30 times. Finally, a publisher gave him a chance. His first book not only became a best seller, but he was honored as the best new writer of the year. USA Today tells us his books have sold over 300 million copies, and he is one of the highest paid authors with an estimated income of over $700 million in the last 10 years.

Beethoven started losing his hearing at age 26, but he kept composing. He composed the famous Ninth Symphony when he was almost completely deaf, and it is now one of the most performed symphonies in the world.

Winners don’t win because they face fewer obstacles. They win because they find ways to overcome the obstacles that get in their way.

Winners Coach Themselves Through Tough Times

Pushing rock up hill.

Winners are typically great at self-motivation. It starts with going after the things they really want. Because they are pursuing something they really want, it’s hard to make them quit.

As a result of going after things they really want, they usually put all kinds of extra effort into making it happen that most people would not. They don’t want to lose all the momentum they’ve built up to that point and waste the weeks, months, years of effort they’ve put in.

So when they hit a wall, they are more likely to think, ‘How can I get past this?’ rather than feeling defeated and thinking, ‘Oh no. I guess it’s too hard. I’m not good enough. I bit off more than I am capable of achieving, so I’ll just give up and quit.’

Their energy and drive causes them to hang on to their positive mindset and allows them to look at each new obstacle as something they can handle.

They also realize this new situation may be something that drives them to learn some exciting new information or options that otherwise they wouldn’t have thought about.

When problems are overwhelming, they seek help from experts or their support system to help get them through. Or, sometimes they have to take the time to learn something new to overcome it.

The end result is that not only do they solve the problem, they pick up new information, contacts, and maybe even skills that they can use over and over again the rest of their lives as they run into other obstacles.

Meeting challenges head-on keeps you fresh, stimulated, and growing.

To win more, learn to coach yourself past the negativity that makes others quit by accepting the challenges that new obstacles present.

To win more, learn to coach yourself past the negativity that makes others quit by accepting the challenges that new obstacles present. Click To Tweet

5 Things Winners Say When They are Feeling Defeated

1. I might not be good enough today, but tomorrow I’ll be better.

Everybody has days when they feel like they just aren’t good enough to reach a goal or to win a race. And they probably aren’t—right then.

But if they keep pushing, what seems hard or impossible today may be easy tomorrow or next week.

2. The people who say I can’t don’t matter.

Who gives them permission to decide what I can or cannot do?

The ones who say that what you’re attempting can’t be done are simply saying that they don’t know how to do it. Just because they may not be able to do it doesn’t mean that you can’t.

Just because somebody tells you something can’t be done doesn’t mean that it can’t. It simply means that they don’t know how to do it. Click To Tweet

That’s why I wrote a post on having a pioneer mindset.

Don’t let other people convince you that you aren’t capable. They don’t know, and they won’t know until you prove you are.

3. Everybody has scars. Life goes on. So how can I win anyway?

Everybody has problems. No life is easy. And the bigger your goals, the tougher the obstacles you’ll probably face.

So what? The only way to avoid tough situations and problems is to set your sights very low—to lead a mediocre life full of mediocre goals that you don’t care much about and that don’t bring you much fulfillment.

Is that what you really want? If not, then stand your ground and figure out how to solve the problem you’re facing right now.

4. What can I do to make some progress today?

Forget about next week or next year, and focus on what you can do today. Because if you give up now, you’ll lose the full return on everything you’ve invested so far.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it matters that it gets done—because once it’s finished, you’ll be able to enjoy the results the rest of your life.

Anyone can fall victim to thinking they’ll never get there because usually we’re exhausted at the end of a project. What we need to understand is how to get motivated and stay motivated—especially at the 2 key points in any project—the beginning and close to the end.

In the beginning, you have to remind yourself that it won’t always take this much effort. It won’t always be this confusing. It won’t always feel so awkward.

In the end, you have to remind yourself that if you keep going just a bit further, all of your hard work will pay off—at a level you probably can’t even imagine.

5. Until I quit, I haven’t failed.

You might lose. You might make a mistake. But you aren’t a failure until you decide to fail, to quit.

Learn how to coach yourself to success. When you’re feeling defeated, use these phrases to coach yourself forward.

How do you get through tough times? Let me know in the comments.

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