When faced with a challenge our response can be quite primitive- the adrenaline kicks in and biology dictates we have a fight or flight response. Well, we’ve evolved a little since caveman days and often we have a third response, that of freezing. A difficult situation can leave us feeling overwhelmed and we freeze into inaction. I’ve talked about that in my monster in the cupboard article where fear paralyses you. Sometimes a challenge is just too big and we turn away, this is a more sophisticated version of flight where our brains analyse the potential for success. That mountain can just be too big to climb. There are times when we just have to find the strength because the stakes are so high. Other times it is smart to walk away and “live to fight another day”. This is not failure it is smart thinking and conserves your energy for those challenges that must be met. Walking away is acknowledging you are not a superhero. Then there is the fight response… to be used sparingly

Taking a stand, when you have to bulldoze your way through a challenge.

Gritting your teeth and tolerating a difficult situation can leave you feeling frustrated and angry. Challenges in your personal or business life may need careful handling but there are situations when you just have to be bloody minded. If a competitor is wreaking havoc on your business you may need to take the fight to them. You may need to adopt an attitude of ‘oh no you don’t’, ‘grrr’, ‘get out of my way’.

Lowering your head, charging at it and battering away until it caves in can be direct and effective.  However, the trick is to know when this strategy will work – and it is not as often as you might think.

I have found that roughly 95% of my successes have come from finesse, forethought and careful strategic planning.  Only 5% came from the head down, crush it tactic.  Having said that I will admit that the ones that came from this attitude were intensely satisfying and it does pump adrenaline around the blood stream though it often led to my energy reserves being wiped out afterwards!

The downside of the bloody minded taking a stand approach is that it is fuelled by emotion not logic. What you perceive as a threat may seem like normal practice to your opponent or adversary. They could be quite confused and perplexed by your reaction and long term damage can be done to the relationship. Ultimately in both business and personal life our “enemies” need to be accommodated.

However, when we feel threatened by a challenge it is quite difficult to apply cool logic. It is good practice to have in place strategies you can turn to as a default setting to rise to challenges in a controlled fashion.

Taking a stand when morals and ethics are involved

Aristotle quoteBeing bloody minded is sometimes the only response to outrage at morally unacceptable behaviour. When something is blatantly wrong, and nobody is dealing with it, you may be justified in being more bullish than usual. Again, this is a value judgement and only you can make it. Just be aware that taking a stand polarizes people’s views and you in effect create opposing sides. Is this the right way to deal with a challenge that may require compromise along the way?

Being bloody minded and taking a stand to meet a challenge is a short term solution. It may kick start the process but it is rarely sustainable. I would advise you use this tactic sparingly and ensure you follow up with a more considered approach. Sometimes challenges have deep roots and you need to understand you are in it for the long haul.

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