Have you found this past year more of a challenge than usual?  I certainly have and many people I have spoken to over the course of the past twelve months seem to have experienced the same.  I have no idea as to why, or what powers have been aligning themselves, but negative things appear to have been intruding into many lives and 2017 seems to have been a challenging year and a struggle for many. How do you manage challenge and maintain professionalism?

A challenging year personally can impact your business

Mine has predominately been on a personal level but that has had repercussions on my business life making that more of a challenge than usual.  This is often the case and it can be tricky managing a business and personal challenges. I have written before about work-life balance, but when life feels like a shipwreck, how do you handle your business?

From the beginning of the year I have been faced with a succession of things going wrong, deaths and illness. Starting with a PTSD depression episode which always brings everything to a grinding halt for a while.  This was quickly followed by the death of a much-loved pet, then actual flu, followed soon after by the illness and death of my mother. The grief associated with this manifesting into me being on the edge of a nervous breakdown (which luckily my doctors managed to prevent but it meant me slowing my life and work style down). To top it all, I have recently managed to break my foot!  As my psychologist has pointed out there has not been a point after each event where I have had time to recover and get back on my feet before the next thing has hit.

Handling a challenging year professionally

Throughout all this I have had to maintain my presence professionally, managing my bookings without letting on about my fragility, marketing, attending meetings and helping out with other projects that rely on my input.  I have just about managed to do this (by the skin of my teeth) but have had to become far more ruthless at prioritising what really needed to be done and putting to one side things that can wait. I have also noticed, that helping others when you are feeling low is a great source of strength, but needs to be balanced against your own needs.

I know I am not alone with the buffeting that has been going on.  I am hearing tales from others on similar personal lines with similar ramifications at work.  When you are constantly being pushed down by events, one after the other after the other it is hard to stay focussed and resilient.

However, I am still here, still going, feeling positive and optimistic. 

I am focussing forward, not backward and am hopeful that this year of rotten luck is merely a blip.  That is not to say I am forgetting this year – again it has taught me how much is out of our hands and our control.  It has reminded me that even if you feel like a punch-drunk boxer on the boxing-ring floor you do have the reserves within you to force yourself up onto your feet even if you are a bit wobbly standing.  That is provided you can admit that when you are weak or in trouble there is always support and help, out there, if you are willing to ask for it and intelligent enough to use it.

For any of you for whom this article is resonating, please take heart and keep going. We are human not automaton’s so bad things will affect us, allow yourself the room to have whatever feelings arise.  Remember life is short and precious and even from our grimmest experiences we are reminded of how much we can bear and how strong we are.  Tap into your resilience and remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going and you are tougher than you think.