Overcoming Work-Life Hurdles

Perdita Felicien

Perdita Felicien,
originally uploaded by
Erik R. Bishoff

Who hasn’t faced challenges along the way in their work and life? Hurdles come in many forms: disappointing work experiences; losing a job; ending personal relationships (divorce, separation, other) – etc. The real question isn’t whether or not there will be occasional set-backs in our work and lives – rather, it’s how will we cope and overcome them?

It takes a lot of smarts to deal with life’s challenges. More than IQ, more than technical and work-related smarts – it takes emotional intelligence (EQ) to successfully hurdle life’s challenges and disappointments.

Who better to look to for inspiration than the queen hurdler herself – Perdita Felicien. Perdita is the Canadian champion hurdler who just earned a silver medal in the 100 meter hurdles event at the world athletics championships. One year away from Bejing Olympics, this athlete’s dynamo performance last week marked a major come-back from her crisis three years ago when she crashed into the first hurdle in the Olympic final at Athens.

Do you remember that? The frustration, agony and disappointment Perdita faced after her fall in Athens – ouch! After so much hard work, with all her talent – she barely got out of the starting gate. With a bruised and battered foot – her confidence was equally shattered.

So how do you get up from there?

Perdita had a lot of work to do to come back. Both physically and emotionally. Her emotional journey was front and centre in last week’s newspapers. When so many others lost faith in her — she had to find it in herself to remember who she is and what she’s capable of.


Got any hurdles you are dealing with? When the chips are down how do you cope? How do you regain your footing after a ‘fall’ or set-back?

These are the times when emotional smarts really count the most.
When life and/or work gets tough, this is when your own inner game matters most. How are you with you? How do you talk to yourself through a set-back? Do you become the judger or the supporter? Do you dig deep to find your truths – or look outside to others for affirmation and/or worse, judgment?

A few tips:

1) Remember who you are. I always find these four little words very helpful when times get tough. Ask yourself, has this set-back really changed who you truly are? Does it take away all the gifts, strengths, talents and past accomplishments that you’ve developed and earned thus far? We’re often hard on ourselves…and quick to forget who we are because we are too busy beating ourselves up. This leads to the next point.

2) Practise humility. Sometimes we screw up – or fall short of reaching our goals. Sometimes it’s ourselves who are accountable and other times it’s just not meant to be. Being empowered is great but as long as we remember that we don’t get to control it all. Sometimes the universe is bigger than us. These are the times to practice humility. Simply letting yourself be human.

3) Learn from the experience and go from there. Ever hear the expression ‘things happen for a reason’? Try to find purpose and meaning in the challenging times and disappointments; learn from them and use the experience to grow.

4) Develop the ability to tap into faith and self-trust. Trust that if you do what you can do -then what’s meant to be will be. Trust yourself; trust the universe and balance the ‘doing’ with the believing. This mind set will be as important as all those other ‘hurdling’ skills.

And more…would love to hear your ideas – bring them on!

In the meantime, to you – and a TGIM work-life!


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