When I was a kid, there was a phrase thrown around my house like a football in Fall.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
My sisters and I used to cringe every time we heard it because I meant something wasn’t going well and it was my mothers’ way of telling us to make diamonds out of coal.
I never understood why she felt the need to bury that sentence into our brains but it came in handy when life didn’t go as planned. It helped us to look at things from the perspective of, “How can I figure this out” instead of going to victim and thinking the world was out to get us.
After four rounds of cancer and two autoimmune diseases, I’ve held on to that when life gives you lemons phrase like a child clutching their teddy bear.
Life is messy. We think we are heading in one direction and life puts a big old roadblock in the way, sending us down another path. This is not an assault on our person, or done because of some weird karma thing, it’s just life being life.
When you come to a roadblock, do you quit and go home, or find another way to reach your destination? Roadblocks are not a new concept either. In the bible, Apostle Paul says, “One thing I do is press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Roadblocks may be unexpected, but resistance is a constant from birth to death, and it takes many curious forms.
Depending on the situation, you might feel like a failure, want to give up, or blame the problem on someone else but don’t. All roadblocks mean is that you need to adjust your trajectory.
When you’ve hit a roadblock and feel like life has handed you a bunch of you lemons, here are 5 ways to make lemonade:
1. Recognize the roadblocks as opportunities for growth.
When adversity hits, you can choose to get angry and stagnate or you can choose to use this opportunity as a way to expand your skill set. Every time you overcome an obstacle, you’re that much stronger and adept at handling future challenges.
2. Think out of the box.
After you’ve made the commitment to figure things out, it will take creativity on your part to come up with an effective plan to reach your goal. If the door you were walking through has slammed i your face, what other doors are open?
Much of problem-solving is being able to think of ways to use resources that are available to you in unconventional ways. Don’t reject any ideas initially. Who knows, your new approach may even be better than your original one, resulting in even better outcome. Sometimes giving validity to the ideas we would typically reject allows us to discover the perfect solution. Necessity is the motherhood of invention.
3. Call a trusted friend.
One of the best resources available to you is the advice of others you trust. Talking to a variety of people provides you with a variety of viewpoints. If you limit your conversations to people who think like you think, you probably won’t get the fresh ideas you need. Consult with friends who have faced similar situations and ask them what they have done too and with those who will shoot straight with you. You don’t have to take any of their advice but listen to the information as research.
The new path might be right in front of you but, for one reason or another, you can’t see it. Sometimes you just need someone else’s eyes to see clearly and point it out and then you can be on your way.
4. Remain optimistic about finding a solution.
If your first solution doesn’t work, don’t be disheartened. In fact, you may have to go through many solutions before you can find one that works. This is all part of the learning process. Don’t give up. Be careful not to start blaming others or slip back into negative thought patterns. Remain positive and persevere, believing that you’re one step closer to finding the answer you’re looking for.
5. Listen to your gut.
Take all the research you have gathered in and file it away in your mind. You know the facts, now listen to that inner knowing you have locked inside you. We all have an internal teacher, that inner wisdom that can show us the way. All we need to do is tap into it. By turning up the volume of our inner voice, we can clearly hear which way we are supposed to head. This sense of knowing is available to each of us, we just need to quiet the inner chatter in our head so we can effectively discern what it is saying. Once you hear what you are supposed to do, trust in that, no matter how scary it sounds. The universe is conspiring on your behalf so that you can be the best version of yourself. Trust in that and you will go far beyond what you would have planned for yourself.