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No one looks forward to dealing with adversity. Sometimes the challenge is external—like job loss or financial troubles. Or the challenge could be internal, in the form of self-doubt.

The struggle is real. But so are the strategies you can use to overcome self-doubt and meet challenges head on. When adversity strikes, use these five strategies to keep your chin up, and keep your academic and professional goals on track.

  1. Get in a Growth Mindset

    Too often, we think of our abilities as fixed. We believe there are some things we can do and achieve, and some we simply can’t—end of story. In reality, abilities are flexible, and can be developed and strengthened over time. Having a growth mindset means choosing to see challenges as opportunities, not threats. Get excited about stretching outside of your comfort zone—that’s where the life-changing growth often occurs. Learn to see mistakes and failures as learning opportunities.

  2. Monitor Your Progress

    Keep a record of both large and small achievements. Jot them down in a notebook, on your phone, or in your laptop. When you hit a rough patch and feel discouraged, look at this list to be reminded of how far you’ve already come. This record can help you gain perspective about the tough stuff and feel encouraged to keep going. Share your progress with people close to you, so they can help you celebrate your progress and cheer you on to the finish line.

  3. Embrace Change

    If the thought of change makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Just like adversity, change is an unavoidable part of life. When you learn to ride it rather than resist it, you’re better able to reap the benefits of change. For example, getting laid off at work can feel like the end of the world. But if this change leads to a much better job with a bigger paycheck, you can view getting laid off as a gift. The transition from one career to another can be challenging, but it often leads to greater professional satisfaction (not to mention more income). A change that initially seems negative might turn out to be best thing that could’ve happened, both professionally and personally.

  4. Remember That It’s Never Too Late

    Think you’re too old to set goals and achieve them? No way. As life expectancy in the U.S. increases, more people are pursuing professional goals in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. In a survey by the American Institute of Economic Research, 82% of respondents said they successfully transitioned to a new career after age 45. As long as you’re healthy and motivated, it’s never too late to go back to school, learn new skills, and land your dream job. 

  5. Check in With Yourself

    From time to time, ask yourself: Am I approaching my goals with confidence and staying in a growth mindset? Or am I letting difficulties get me down? Am I being as proactive as I can, or are there areas where I could take more positive action? Take stock of what you’re doing well and what you need to work on. These check-ins can help you gain insight and perspective, modify your methods when necessary, and keep moving confidently in the direction of your dreams.

    Do you dream of a career change? Earning a degree can help. Explore Strayer University’s online degree programs.


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