by Kellee Marlow
Do you ever remember complaining when you were in school about how hard things were, only to have an adult tell you to appreciate your childhood because being an adult is so much harder?
Navigating life is scary and challenging. There’s no free pass, no get out of jail free card, and there’s certainly no way around putting in the work to get what you want. While there are many fortunate people in the world who don’t, for most to call life easy would be a misnomer.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you want something more than what you have right now. You’re looking to succeed—do more, have more, and be more.
Luckily, you’re in the right place, because the way to get what you want out of life is by learning the art of being scrappy.
Solutions over suffering
There’s a famous English proverb that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” What it means is that if there’s a need great enough, you will find a way to solve it because the pain of the problem becomes more intense than the pain of implementing a solution.
One of the traps that people find themselves in is over-examining the problem they’re facing. There’s a difference between looking at all angles of the challenge so that you can find the right solution and running through the situation repeatedly in your mind, deepening the pain of the problem.
Your mind can get trapped in negative thinking loops, so it’s important to consciously choose to seek solutions—not positive thinking. While thinking positively may help you, sometimes it can be something that makes the challenge more frustrating. So instead of just trying to think positively, focus on finding real solutions to ease any emotional distress or discomfort that’s present.
When you focus with clarity on solutions, you will find them. It may take time as you determine what is possible and therefore you need to be patient. As you build on each step, it gives you momentum to move forward, which then creates more possibilities. Once you make it a habit to focus on solutions instead of emotional distress, you’ll move more quickly in identifying what is or not working in your search. You are building your solution-finding muscle. It will challenge your creativity and over-time, you will become more agile in piecing together what is possible.
Resources and resilience
Once you can identify solutions for the problems you’re facing, then it’s time to identify what resources you have. In the art of getting scrappy, when you don’t have resources, you learn to become resourceful so you can figure out how or where you can get the resources you need.
To become resourceful, you have to remember that you’re not alone. There are people who will want to help you. Many have experienced what you are going through and now, they are looking to lift others out of the same challenge or barriers they faced as well as non-profit organizations and governmental services. For example, most cities have small business support centers that help entrepreneurs who are starting out with advising, financial, and other support services. You can even find such support online. If you are diligent in doing your research and outreach, you will be surprised at the resources that may be available.
There’s a myth that if you plan your life and follow the plan, you’ll reach your destination. While that’s not a bad idea, it’s not always the way it works for everyone. Sometimes, you end up taking detours or other priorities come up like taking care of a sick parent. You will hit barriers and challenges along the way. The key is to see it as a timing issue rather than giving up when you hit the roadblock. If you focus on taking small steps until you can give your full attention to your goal, keeping your burner on slower progress than no progress will help you get there at a quicker pace later than starting over.
What if you don’t know what the next step looks like? It is ok to take a break and give it space, rather than sit in frustration. Then the key is to ask the right questions and get feedback that will help you determine what your next step looks like. People love giving free advice. You need to find those who have the experience to lead you in the right direction.
To find the right people and resources, you need to be creative. Give people reasons to talk to you. You need to show your commitment, your enthusiasm, and how you can be of service. This means that what you are doing will make a difference for others. When you can speak to this with authenticity, people will respond to you and want to help you make that difference. Remember, we are better together. Life goes in a full circle.
Kellee Marlow is an Impact Entrepreneur, Empowerment Accelerator, and Motivational Speaker. She built her career by embracing disruption and identifying innovative concepts and technologies that challenged companies and people to think differently. After 20+ years of business experience in different roles and industries, Kellee has created a catalyst mindset that is science-proven, focused on empowerment, innovation, and inspiration that guides people to successfully realize their entrepreneurial or personal goals.
She is the founder and host of Spark, on KXSF.FM and 8+ online platforms that stream world-wide. Kellee created the Spark platform to inform, inspire, and ignite her audience by pinpointing the underlying value of the expertise from change-makers in psychology, wellness, business, and innovation. She tackles topics including the future impact of artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency; career reinvention and self-empowerment tools like empathy, gratitude, and social fluency. Spark has connected thousands of people with the narrative to move forward in their pivot with guidance and support.
Kellee’s expertise and advice have been published in media outlets including MSN.com, Yahoo Lifestyle, Redbook, Thrive Global, and Authority Magazine.