• Jackie Capers-Brown

A Self-Empowerment Guide to Overcoming Difficulty

Oprah writes, “What I know for sure is that no matter where you stand right now - on a hilltop, in a gutter, at a crossroads, in a rut – you need to give yourself the best you have to offer in this moment. This is it. Rather than depleting yourself with judgments about what you haven’t done who you could have become, why you haven’t moved faster, or what should have changed, redirect this energy toward the next big push – the one that takes you from enough to better. The one that takes you from adequate to extraordinary. The one that helps you rise up from a low moment and reach for your personal best.”




From my personal and professional experience, I know that nothing changes in our lives without a change in our inner game. And without initiating corresponding actions relevant to the desired change, we will continue to miss our desired aim. This leads to frustration and disappointment. And if we don’t muster up the determination necessary to try again, we will begin to accept the status quo as the best we can experience. This my friend, can lead us to live in a state of learned helplessness and accepting the notion that we are powerless to create the change we desire.

The actions in this guide debunk the notion that you aren’t capable of bouncing back from difficulty better, stronger, and wiser. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. In the midst of this difficulty, there is a seed of an equivalent advantage. A fresh perspective will help you see that you have what it takes to bounce back and thrive during and after any difficulty.


Step 1: Acknowledge the Truth of Your Reality.


Self-awareness is the starting point for creating change. A sure-fire way of getting and remaining stuck in a disempowering cycle of beliefs and behavior is the denial of the truth about how your feel and the circumstances that led to experiencing your present reality. Whether you had a hand at directly creating the situation or not, getting on track and moving forward from where you are by acknowledging your truth.

It’s important to understand that your perception of the truth is your perception. Your perception of most experiences depends largely on the meaning you attach to them. It is possible for others involved in the situation to have a different perception of it. That’s okay. This step is not about being right or wrong. It’s simply about ending any denial on your part about what you truly feel and think about the situation. Instead of numbing yourself, acknowledging your truth helps you to get real and tune in to the thoughts and emotions shaping your perception of the situation. You can’t change what you refuse to acknowledge.

Do This: Show yourself some tender loving kindness with a judgment-free zone (this means that you accept the fact that you have every right to feel and think the way that you do). Get out a few blank pieces of paper or your journal and begin to write down your true feelings and thoughts about the situation. Write until you feel you’ve put the core of what you feel and think about the situation on paper. Remember, this is a judgment-free zone. It’s your truth.

Step 2: Identify the Meaning You’ve Attached to the Experience.


In his book, The Law of Agreements, Tony Burroughs points out, “Your agreement is your point of power, and you can add to or weaken any idea or commonly held belief simply by making a choice. We have within us, in each moment of our lives, the ability to discern- to decide whether something is working for us or not – and to choose to agree with it and make it stronger, or to say “Hey, I don’t think this is working for my highest good.” In order for you to exercise this power, you have to first, develop an awareness of your inner states, and second, take personal control of your life.


Your beliefs about your situation reflect agreements you’ve made unconsciously or consciously about it. Today is just as good as any to end your allegiance to beliefs and assumptions that limit your power to take the purpose-driven actions necessary for you to pull up your stakes and move forward.


Now that you’ve acknowledged the truth about what you feel and think about the situation. The following questions will help you tune in to the story you are telling yourself about why you feel and think you can’t bounce back from this difficulty.


1. What are the agreements (the beliefs and ideas you have bought into) that are influencing your lack of progress in this situation?

2. What factual evidence do you have that proves your beliefs and assumptions about what isn’t possible are true?

3. What are the emotional interpretations (the meaning you’ve attached to the experience) driving the beliefs and assumptions you have about what isn’t possible in the situation?

4. In what ways has this meaning (the story you are telling yourself about the situation) diminished your ability to bounce back and thrive in the face of this difficulty?

5. In what ways has this meaning (the story you are telling yourself about the situation) supported your ability to bounce back and thrive in the face of this difficulty?


Acknowledging the truth of how you feel and think about your circumstance and answering the above questions provide you with a level of self-awareness that has within it the power to help you see how your perception (your beliefs, assumptions, and emotional interpretations) is shaping what you feel and how you are responding to your situation. Identifying the meaning you’ve attached to your experience allows you to examine your perception and determine if that perspective is working in your best interest or not.

Step 3: Be All In.

Adopting an empowering perspective about who you are and what you’re capable of doing enables you to harness your power and be proactive toward what you decide to believe and do to experience better in the situation.

Stop overthinking. It fuels self-doubt and leads to procrastination and stagnation. Creating momentum in your situation requires that you get off the fence. You’ve got to be more than just interested in bouncing back and thriving in the face of this di