The Opportunity in Struggle

Published on January 30, 2020

Life is unpredictable, which can be both scary and exciting. Due to this unpredictability, we might find ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in, and we might struggle to find the way out.

Take, for example, the case of Mary. Mary left the United States to move to Hong Kong because her husband got transferred. Mary was unable to relocate with her work, so she quit to be close to her husband. When she got to Hong Kong, she was overwhelmed with the sights, sounds and the crowds. She wasn’t prepared for what she viewed as chaos. She soon felt her anxiety levels rise.  She wasn’t earning her own money, and she had left her family and friends behind.  She felt utterly lost.

What was it that Mary wasn’t seeing that was making her anxious? She decided to find the opportunity in the situation. She made a list of what she felt was lacking in her life, and where she felt appreciation and abundance. Could the abundance provide opportunities where she was lacking?

Mary decided that her abundance was financial. Her husband’s company had paid for their relocation and their housing for the first month. Mary also had a visa that allowed her to work anywhere. She decided the move was an opportunity for her decisions to be her own and not determined by her friends and family. She saw it as an opportunity to work on herself, become more authentic and to find work that she enjoys.

That worked out for Mary, but what if you aren’t so well off financially and you feel stuck in survival mode due to lack of finances?  Being in survival mode brings chaos to a whole other level.  People in survival mode have a difficult time thriving because their fight or flight system has hijacked their executive thinking. It is difficult to see the bigger picture in survival mode. If you are in survival mode, what battles can you stop fighting?  For example, can you stop fighting your pride and ask someone to feed you? Can you network for a higher paying position? Can you tell yourself that you are capable and that you can handle the work?  When self-worth is low, it is difficult to put yourself out there for fear of rejection. These are the battles with yourself that can you end. Until you end these battles, you won’t thrive.

Here are some quick pointers:

1. List your fears

What are you afraid of? Is it rejection, is it failure or success?  How do these fears hold you back?

2. Where is the opportunity?

What can you see that others can’t? Is there a service that you can provide that no one has thought of?  Is there an opportunity for self-development and growth?

3. Network

It is a great idea to Network. Speak to your friends about finding work, developing a business, or providing a service. They might know someone who knows someone, or perhaps they can help you themselves.

4. What are your strengths?

Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. How can you maximise what you are good at?

5. What battles can you stop fighting?

Are you in conflict with yourself or with others? How can you de-escalate the conflict or what battles can you retrieve from?


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Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Anxiety, Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance, Stress Management

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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