We’ve all been there and we will all be there again. It’s one of those days when you’re knee deep in it and it keeps on coming. And then one day turns into several days. As soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, it only gets worse. It can be a problem at work or a personal issue, but no matter what you try nothing seems to work.
As the pressure and the frustration build everyone is looking to you for answers and there is no immediate solution. You reach out to others as necessary, but to no avail. You are the man ultimately responsible and you’ve got to get the job done. People’s time and patience are running out and you will soon have your head handed to you on a platter.
For our purposes we will call this a shit storm. This is not the same as a Life Storm which I would classify as an existential event, but still a very serious matter that needs to be taken care of. If it is not, there will be very negative consequences and a heavy price to pay; and it is a problem that is kicking your ass.
You’ve decided at this point in your life there is going to be no more running or shying away. That was the past and you are fed up with it. You have become a man pursuing his very best and realize that men on the move will always catch some heat; there will be no more being afraid, disappointed or demoralized. You will now maintain your frame, attack the problem and handle all things undeterred and with all you’ve got.
You are going to stand tall and grind it out.
Take a Step Back
As chaos reigns and you begin to sense yourself unraveling take a step back to get some perspective. Physically separate yourself from the problem if you have to. Reflect on your Life Mission and make sure you are remaining consistent.
Ultimately this is the most important thing in your life right? To pursue your Life Mission? So make sure you are indeed carrying yourself properly under duress. If you think about it, this is when it really counts. This is why you have a Life Mission. It will provide the guiding principles for your conduct during the good times and especially during the bad times.
Reflecting on your purpose in life will also provide you with some perspective. “Oh yeah” you will think to yourself. “This is just a transient problem that is causing immediate stress, but it will pass. It will pass just as all things do and I will continue on with my life and prosper. I will never stop and I will never quit.”
So remember when you are getting hammered in life, to step back and reframe your situation in light of the foundation for all that you do — your Life Purpose. Doing so will allow you to surpass the immediate negative mindset of the moment and provide you with the mental fortitude to stand strong and pursue a solution.
Consider the Nuclear Option
Right off the bat, as soon as you realize your challenge is a serious one, consider how far you will go to make things right. This is not necessarily the ideal solution, but the final brute strength or shock and awe strategy you could employ if all else fails.
In the back of your mind this will become your failsafe fallback position. It will set you at ease somewhat because you will know there is an answer, ultimately. It is not the answer you will reveal to others because of the excessive expense or effort, but a solution none the less if all else fails.
For almost any shit storm there is an ultimate solution that can be used if absolutely necessary to save the day. Every other strategy must be employed before going nuclear, however. This is only a last resort.
But a man must always know how far he is willing to go to overcome an obstacle in his life. This will give him the patience and courage of his convictions to pursue a more rational and elegant path. It will allow him to remain confident, take the fire and hammer away.
Consider Taking the Loss
The other side of the Nuclear Option is to consider taking the loss. What would the consequences be if you just walked away or even failed? How bad would it get?
Perhaps, your problem is not worth the effort in the long run. Maybe it is best to just walk away if there is no reasonable solution. Not every challenge is worth going nuclear. Sometimes it is best to just cut your losses and move on. A man always has things vying for his attention and some of them are not worth the effort.
Taking this train of thought will provide you with some detachment; a measure of outcome independence. Stepping away from emotional involvement will allow for more endurance and clarity of thought.
Having both ends of the spectrum—going nuclear or taking the loss—mapped out in your mind as such will make you a better man when things go wrong and then from bad to worse. When others fold under the pressure, you will hold up and handle yourself with pride, dignity and verve.
You are smart, you’ve decide how far you are willing to go and also considered walking away to ply yourself to other matters. The boundaries are set, your mind is clear and it’s time to get to work.
Shoot the Closest Soldier
As things go wrong and you jump into the thick of it, sometimes it is hard to find a place to start. Sometimes there is so much going wrong or so many things that need to be fixed it seems like there can’t possibly be an answer.
In this case before you can get your bearing, the best strategy is to simply tackle the most immediate issue. You can worry about strategizing later. Right now is the time to prevent the enemy from overtaking your line of defense. In this case you will shoot the closest soldier.
Survival is the key here. Hold things together as best you can to stabilize the situation. The quicker you get in and start taking action the better. It will signal to those around you that a solution is at hand and provide them with the confidence you wish to project.
It is at this point that you can step back and gather yourself. This is where you will detach yourself somewhat by reflecting on your Life Mission if necessary and both the nuclear and walk away options.
Clear the Table
So you’ve created some measure of control and considered your boundaries on the matter. You know exactly how far you are willing to go and under what circumstances you will walk away if at all possible. Now is the time to clear the table so you can focus like a laser.
When you’ve found yourself in a critical situation and the rest of life and work are still prying for your attention, it can be very difficult to bear down as necessary. With phone calls, emails and other obligations rolling in, stress and diffusion can take hold and push you off your game.
Make the decision to go hardcore and do what you can to clear your schedule. Your obligations will not cooperate on their own and step aside so that you can focus on the pressing issue. You’ve got to make the decision to bring the hammer down.
This is when a man goes all out to get the job done. There is no holding back; there is no need for sleep or the comforts of everyday life.
Stay up late and get up early. Pull an all-nighter if you have to. Call in all the favors you need, to get the backing you must have to spend full time on the matter. Take a deep breath, calm yourself down and get to work.
If you knew exactly what the solution was this wouldn’t be the vexing problem that it is. When there is no obvious solution sometimes all a man has is his willingness to start taking action.
The responsibility is yours and the pressure is on. Use your intuition and start grinding it out. Many paths will not lead to the answer you seek, but then at least they will be eliminated as a possibility. Doing this will clear your mind and allow for other ideas to come to the fore. Sometimes a man needs to empty his mind for the answer to reveal itself.
This is also the time for you to press hard against anyone who can possibly be of assistance either in a personal sense or professional capacity. Iterate and then iterate again. Step back and evaluate the results of your actions. Sometimes there will be an answer that will reveal itself through what did not work.
Break down your problem into its simplest components and then put it back together again piece by piece. As you start from a foundation, perhaps the cause will reveal itself as you step through the rebuild.
This is where we separate the men from the boys as they say. Sometimes the answer to a difficult obstacle is eventually provided simply through mental toughness. This is when a man’s unyielding will and perseverance take hold and do not let go.
Make the decision in your mind that in no way will you fail to succeed. You will stand tall, hold firm and not be denied. This is what men do when it really matters. Having a success mindset in place from the start will carry you through the process. If you know in your mind that you will indeed not stop until things are made right, the fuel and the confidence necessary to do so will remain available.
When the pressure is on, take pride in your courage and toughness. Know that you are a hardened man who will fight like hell to make things right, no matter how long and what the cost.
You’ve got the nuclear option in your back pocket, so be willing to take it to the wall. Each time you cut through an obstacle to attain success it will harden you as heat treating does to metal. You will burn hot under duress, provide a solution and then cool down afterward. The next time up you will be harder, sharper and more resilient.
Learn and Prepare
When it’s all over and you walk away with your difficulty taken care of, give yourself some time to decompress. But always remember to review the process you followed and the eventual solution. It can be very tempting to move on and forget. A wise man, however, will review his efforts under pressure and learn what he can.
Many times there will be a model for future application. Ask yourself what it was that eventually led to the breakthrough. Was it a specific technical detail or a process that did the trick?
Always treat a difficult challenge as a gift for future reference. As a man of action there will certainly be many more obstacles to overcome. They will never stop coming at you. The quicker you accept this fact the better you will fare. Make it a point to always learn from difficulty and prepare for more of the same.
As a man with a history of problem solving and success, life will begin to open up for you. Unlike many, you will not shy away from opportunities or situations that will cause others to fold. Over time this is one of the keys to separating yourself from the masses.
Every man will get punched in the mouth by life over the years and then repeatedly punched again until it hurts like hell. Sometimes there is no elegant solution. Sometimes all a man can do is gather his courage, his will, and his wits and grind it out.
All the best,