You have a good career and usually get a stellar performance review from your peers and management. But sometimes you get on a questionable project or end up working with a challenging team that makes you dread work and stalls your deliverables. When the challenges seem unending you start to question your ability to perform and whether you are the right fit for the job.

How do you keep your confidence in yourself and keep focus on deliverables? Today, I will share some mindsets that help you get through challenges or even setback in your work.

  1. Self-Reflection
    First thing to know is that setbacks and challenges are normal part of successful career. Just because you’re experiencing tough challenges now or a recent project setbacks that seems tough to overcome, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It means this is your opportunity to grow and learn from this experience. Change your language and calling it a growth opportunity instead of setback or failures. To overcome your self-doubt, remember another time when you overcame challenges and delivered results that you’re proud of. Remember the mindset you had at the time, recall the feelings you had at that time, and what you were most proud of out of that work. You probably overcame some challenges back then too. How did you overcome it and how you have grown from that experience? If you have other projects that you are proud of, write them down in a time-line and see that you have had many challenges in the past and that challenges are part of growing career.
  2. Separation
    Create emotional distance and logical clarity with the challenges you are experiencing at work. Visualize your work challenge in a glass box that you’re holding in your hand. Put the key players in it. Put the project in it. Put the goals, deliverable, and dynamics in it too. Imagine yourself looking from the outside into the glass box. You can clearly see who are the players and their contributions to the work. Visualizing difficult situations in a glass box that you hold in your hand gives you an emotional distance so you can see the challenge and growth opportunity with fresh eyes. As you visualize the glass box with its content, become aware that you can work with this challenge without getting emotionally involved. If you can stay mindful while you do the visualization, try taking it to the next step of coming up with a fresh idea on how to work with this growth opportunity. If you need help doing that, please give me a call to schedule an appointment.
  3. Reframe Your Situation
    Do you have an all or nothing perspective? Do you say to yourself that all of your projects suck and that no one values your input? Can you re-frame that to say that at the moment, this project is challenging because of ….. reasons? Could you consider that sometimes it takes repeating your message a lot or talking to the right person at the right moment to be heard?
  4. Visualization
    Imagining what kind of person would thrive in this situation. If you can think of a respected role model you know pretty well, imagine how she/he would handle what’s going on. Take on that person’s energy, attitude, way of talking, stance, and just imagine yourself as that person. As you embodied your role model, see if you can find more ease at looking at your challenge.
  5. EMDR Therapy
    If you are having a hard time seeing a failed project as growth opportunity and has already gotten you really doubtful of your ability, you might also consider seeing an EMDR therapist, like me, who can help you reduce your doubt and feel more confident in yourself. EMDR helps by reducing the emotional distressed related to a stressful event and can diminish performance blocks and anxiety. Read more about EMDR here.
  6. Self-Care

Lastly, remember that when you’re taking good care of your health you have a lot more ability and tolerance for difficult situations at work. Taking good care of your health means:
a. Sleep regularly and sleep enough;
b. Minimize alcohol, recreation drugs, caffeine, and sugar;
c. Have healthy meals with a good balance of natural vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein;
d. Get daily exercise – raising your heart rate to an aerobic zone for 15-60 minutes/day will give you a brighter outlook, build confidence, and improve your mood. Check with your doctor to get an okay to exercise if you have any health concerns;
e. Stay connected to loved ones. Connecting and being close to loved ones reduces your stress and brings meaning to your life;
f. If you have any potential illness symptoms, go see a doctor and get treated.

If you need help implementing the above tips, or would like more ideas or help in creating a career that you feel successful in, please give me a call at 650-397-1376 or email at In my follow-on blog, I will share with you tips on building communication skills to work more effectively with challenging peers and management. Sign up for my blogs to read my future writings on career, relationships, and personal growth.

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