When you feel like you’re grinding through your life, faced with challenges that seem to go on and on and you wonder what good could ever come of them, pay attention to this:

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.” –Walt Disney

You may think your challenges are the universe testing you for some unimaginable reason, but I know you can draw on them to substantially enhance not only your career but all of your life.

I have witnessed this with many of my clients who are now thriving in their careers.

A Woman Re-Invents Herself Out Of Her Challenges

One client of mine who had been diagnosed with ADHD and lived with the effects of a traumatic brain injury is a great example. She had periods of mental fatigue and brain fog that made a 9-5 job difficult for her.

During her years as a patient, she had learned the ins and outs of the American health care system. As a single mother of two daughters who themselves struggled with academic and behavioral issues, she had to rely on public assistance. At desperate times she had resorted to fast money to support them by working as an exotic dancer. This work was temporary because she desired to not just entertain people but to impact the world in a positive way, especially by helping those in similar situations as herself.

Over time, my client had melded these two very different worlds. As an exotic dancer, she was a charismatic performer who exuded confidence in front of others. As a low-income patient, she understood the health care system and had become passionate about helping people whose income earning potential was limited through no fault of their own. She formed co-ops and gained leadership positions in many areas of public assistance. She had learned the legalities of government assistance and taken trips with social justice organizations to Washington DC to advocate for better treatment of low-income families and the chronically disabled.

I knew as soon as I met her that she was a dynamic salesperson and compelling public speaker. Her passion for helping others radiated from her, and she clearly had deep expertise about not only the US health care system but the government support in place for low-income and disabled people.

Together, we developed strategies to manage the symptoms of her ADHD and brain injury and maximize her productivity while always keeping in mind her passion and expertise gained through years of challenges.

Today, my client is a lobbyist who advocates for many causes. Her work has deep purpose; she discovered her “why”, as leadership guru Simon Sinek says. Lobbying has flexible hours that allow her to work around her cognitive symptoms and be available for her daughters except for the minimal amount of time she travels.

She Refused To Let Her Struggles Limit Her

If my client had let herself be defined by her past, or limited by her struggles, she would not have discovered her meaningful career. But because she kept her mind open and her belief in herself strong, she was able to see how rising to her challenges had enhanced her life rather than detract from it.

We didn’t minimize or gloss over the things she’d faced in her life. Rather, we laid them out, took an honest look at them, and found the riches. Then we got to work creating a new career for her, one she loves and in which she’s thriving.

Find The Riches In Your Own Challenges

I encourage you to examine your life and discover the talents and expertise you’ve developed as you faced your challenges, just as my client did. Many of us sense we have strong skills and unique expertise lying right below the surface of our everyday life, and we’re right. We just need ways to see our struggles as the key to a fulfilling career rather than limitations to one.

And you don’t have to do this alone! A supportive third party such as a career coach can help you uncover the full range of your talents and abilities as well as support you if you falter and feel “not good enough”.

If you’d like to know more about how I helped this client – and others – develop strategies tailored to their specific circumstances and needs, my book Happiness, Passion, and Purpose is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately. The book will be available in early 2019. In the meantime, you can sign up at www.razcoaching.com

Author's Bio: 

Michelle Raz, M.Ed, is an ADHD Specialist, Board Certified Coach, Career Services Specialist, Author of Happiness + Passion + Purpose, Blogger, Webinar host and owner of Raz Coaching. She is dedicated to helping people work with their unique challenges, find their true passion in life, a career they will love and helping them connect the dots to get there.