What challenges in your life have you not yet been able to solve? Notice what it is that you complain about. Do you complain about your relationship or your lack of one, or your job, or your health? What are you not facing in your life?  The easiest way to find out is to notice what it is that you complain about.  Do you complain about your relationship or your lack of one, or your job, or your health, or that midlife belly that makes us look about 6 months pregnant that seems to appear around menopause if not before?  Look at your to-do list,  which are the items you keep putting off.  These are your challenges.

My complaint has been about not earning enough money.   For years I made excuses about why I was not making the amount of money I wanted to make.You may have that one too. Or for you, it might be speaking up for yourself or learning to say no.  Can you face your challenges?

How can we turn our challenges into games?

Turning challenges into games to increase our resilience is the theme of Jane McGonical’s book Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, braver, and More Resilient – Powered by the Science of Games.  My old self that came from the school of life must be serious and scoffed at the idea that playing games could make a difference.

McGonical’s research started 34 days after severe pain from a concussion in 2009.  McGonigal says, “Thirty-four days after I hit my head – and I will never forget this moment – I said to myself, I am either going to kill myself or I’m going to turn this into a game.”  So she created a game she called “Jane the Concussion Slayer.”  This new secret identity allowed her to feel “heroic and determined instead of hopeless.”  This game enlisted the help of her sister and social support is another key in being resilient.

When we play games, we stop telling ourselves the same old story.  We stop seeing ourselves as victims.  We can invent challenges.  going, play with friends and go on quests to find solutions. She models her game playing strategy after popular video games of going on a quest, conquering the bad guys and having special powers gained from “power ups”  the good new is you don’t need to be a video gamer or invest hours in role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons to benefit from her strategies.  In fact, I just did one of her “power ups”  a glass of water to restore focus and energy.  Yes, you already knew drinking water is good for you and can help you focus and feel less tired but isn’t it more fun to think of it as a power up strategy?

I know see myself and my business as separate.  My business now runs more like a game, with targets to meet and actions to take each day. C.J.Hayden’s book, Get Clients Now!, taught me to track my score at taking action about marketing. My friend and business coach, Margie Beiswanger showed me how to set monthly goals that were attainable. I got the support and learned that I not only needed to be good at what I do as a life coach but also needed the business skills to know what to do to run a successful small business.

How do you face the challenges in your life?

The tale of a suicide haunts me.  An acquaintance remarked that life had always been such smooth sailing for this man. He had never faced any challenges in his life.  School had been easy.  Finding the perfect job had been a cinch. When this big challenge happened, he did not know how to handle it.  He had no faith in his ability to handle this challenge, so he did the only thing he knew he could do and ended his life.  How sad.

Challenges are opportunities.  When challenged are faced, you increase your resiliency skills.  Your ability to handle these bumps in the road increases.  Your problem-solving skills increase.  Don’t bury your head in the sand or expect someone else to solve your problems.  When you face challenges and take responsibility for solving them, it’s like increasing your muscle power by going to the gym.  And if you want to treat your challenges like a game and have fun with them all the better.