Life has its challenges. How you respond to those challenges is ultimately what determines your success or lack thereof in life. Here’s a simple five-step process to help you see each challenge as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.

Step One – Take a Deep Breath

Challenges can be overwhelming and scary. You don’t want to make decisions out of fear or a misguided sense of urgency. That’s why the first thing you should do is to stop and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that each challenge is an opportunity to grow, a chance to come out better on the other side of it.

Step Two – What Can You Do Right Now

Next look for something – anything you can do right now to start your journey towards overcoming this new challenge. It doesn’t matter how small this one thing is. It could be something tiny. The point is that you’re starting to take action. You’re forcing yourself to move from a state of fear and anxiety into one of taking control. It takes you right out of a fixed mindset and into a growth mindset.

Step Three – Map Out a Strategy

Now that you’re set in motion, it’s time to start directing that energy. This is where you want to take a few minutes (or even a day or two if the challenge is particularly big) to map out a strategy. Where do you want to go? What will it take to get there? Put your roadmap into writing and don’t forget to mark down some milestones so you can measure your progress along the way.

Step Four – Get to Work

Next it’s time to do the work. What do you need to do today or this week to move closer to reaching that first mile marker? Focus on that. Do what you need to do to make that progress. Remind yourself of the big end reward. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of staying persistent and getting the work done.

Step Five – Review and Reflect

This last step is easy to overlook, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you skip it. The idea is to take some time to ponder what it took to overcome a challenge after the fact. What did you learn? How did you grow? How did this make you stronger or better? If you look long and hard enough, you will find something positive in every single challenge you face.

Maybe you didn’t make it through as gracefully as you thought. Maybe the outcome wasn’t what you’d hoped for. But you made it through and you improved in the process. It’s important to acknowledge this. It will make navigating the next challenge that much easier.