Today I wanted to talk about motivating yourself through unexpected challenges. Ooooh it’s gonna be JUICY. But first before we even get there let me tell you a little about me.


I am a mom of a beautiful (at this moment) 12 year old son named Zachary, and he is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I absolutely enjoy just sharing my journey through being a mompreneur, a speaker, a professional, an audiologist, and a speech pathologist. I’m just a person who loves to share what I have learned through the wonderful experiences of my 42 years of living.


I’m excited to share with you today how I motivate myself through those unexpected challenges because I know many of you out there today are going through something that you totally did not plan. It was not on your agenda of what you were going to be dealing with this year, or this month, or this week, or maybe even this day. I’m sharing so you can learn what works for you, so we can work on getting into the headspace that unexpected things WILL happen. Preventing them isn’t what’s important – it’s how we RESPOND to those moments when unexpected things happen.


The first thing I’m going to share about is the diagnosis that I had with Zachary. Many of you have heard this story before, but for those of you who haven’t I’ll give a little background. I was working as a therapist with early intervention; working in schools, homes, various places; and working with families with different special needs for pretty much close to 10 years before having Zachary. I knew that I was good at what I did. I really chose a field that I enjoy. I enjoy helping people to communicate when they can not. I enjoy helping others to communicate with them when dealing with someone who communicates differently. I just enjoy helping parents connect with their child when they thought they couldn’t. Things are much different when dealing with a special needs child – whether it’s speech delays, auditory delays, or delays in their physical mobilities.


So here I am helping others, and then having this beautiful bouncing baby boy. Now here he is showing me all the things I’d like to say are textbook signs of a child on the spectrum. He was running around flickering the lights on and off. He was lining things up all his trains, anything you give him he would line it up. He had a deep fascination with Thomas the Tank Engine, and even today he loves him some Thomas the Tank Engine. He had difficulties connecting with me and giving me eye contact for extended amount of times. He was just in his own world. Even though he was a boy – and these are some of the things you’re going to say “oh he’s a boy, oh he’s not ready, oh he’s a only child” – he was still showing me that he wasn’t even interested in engaging with others. At times I would call his name and he wouldn’t respond. Now I think THAT for some parents is one of the hardest moments. So as I was seeing these things happening and knowing what it was, but not quite wanting it for my child … Like it can happen for everyone else, but not for MY child. That’s how I felt, I’m just being honest.


When I finally got the diagnosis with him it was shocking. Even though I knew it, I didn’t want to know it. So opening up the letter and seeing the words in front of my face… it took me to a place of despair. It took me to a place where I felt that every dream that I wanted for him had just disappeared in a blink of a second, and I felt completely hopeless. I didn’t know what to do. Well, here’s the good thing – as a therapist I DID know what to do. I knew he needed help, so let’s get him his speech therapy, let’s get him occupational therapy, and whatever other therapies he needed because he needed help. It was clear. He was delayed in so many areas, and yet advanced in other areas. He had the ability to tell you any letter, any sound he could read very early. All these things he did have, but then he was lacking in communication and socialization skills. So I decided to deal with the immediate, which are the present behaviors or the present needs, but I completely forgot how to deal with ME.


Now bringing this to YOU. Now my diagnosis that I had to deal with as a parent was the diagnosis of having a child on the spectrum. Yours may be different. It might be something short term, or it might just be for that exact moment – where you hear that you took a test and your blood sugar is low, or something that you completely did not expect – you are meeting a short term challenge. Some of you might have long term challenges where it is going to be for an extended amount of time. It’s not something that you can just blink and it will go away. There isn’t an immediate answer to it, but its clearly a long term challenge. Then some are pretty much till the end of time. There’s certain diagnosies or certain situations where you know that “I’m pretty much going to have to live with this for the rest of my life.”


So how do we handle those unexpected challenges, or how did I handle it? I can’t speak about you, but I can just share what I’ve done and what I’ve helped others with as I coach or speak or train. I’ve helped them with the diagnosis through educational and experiential learning, these are the things that I’ve learn that have worked for me.


First of all you, have to give yourself permission that it’s happening. A lot of us try to avoid it or run away from it, and I’m holding my hands up! A lot of us try to pretend it is not happening. So we have to give ourselves permission to identify, to accept, to sit in it where we are really taking it in. Like, “oh my goodness this might mean a change in my lifestyle moving forward.” I like to tell you what I did for myself, and here’s what I did: I blamed myself. Something that I did that I want to help you through is to not blame yourself. I blamed myself. I said, “oh my goodness, what if I did this different? What if I stayed at home instead of going back to work earlier? What if I ate differently? What if i didn’t vaccinate him?” All these things I had in my head, the “what ifs.” I had to allow myself to understand that it was not my fault, and it took me a while to get there. So why I’m talking to you about dealing with and motivating yourself through unexpected challenges is because you’re going to hit challenges. You’re going to have moments of hearing a diagnosis, and you’ve got to understand it’s NOT your fault. The minute you begin to shift your mindset towards it not being your fault, then you begin to have a certain connection to it where you can start making moves or working on yourself. Yes, YOURSELF. Not the other person, not the one with the diagnosis, but start working on yourself. Working on how you are going to approach relating, engaging, and helping supporting that person. A lot of it comes back to self work, what do I need to do within myself?


Another unexpected challenge that I had to deal with is that I was married twice. Yes,  TWICE. One being Zachary’s dad, and the second one was just marriage. I got married and it did not work out. We were not for each other. You have three different ways of dealing with relationship challenges. They can be the unexpected –  like BANG, shot you in your face and you don’t know how to handle it. They can be unplanned – like this was not in our plans, you were supposed to have our white house and our picket fence, and all these plans that we had in our head. Then there is the fact that it’s NECESSARY. The necessary types of relationship challenges that you may need to either grow or grow. Either grow in it or go from it. You’re going to face these challenges.


I know at this moment you’re reading this and I know you’re identifying your specific challenge that you’re dealing with. Identify the same aspect that its not your fault. It’s not your fault whether the relationship is working or not working, and its not their fault. Take the whole fault game out of it. We are so quick to point fingers towards who – you, me, all of us. Take the finger instead of from you or to me, and point it up. Point up towards what it is that you can work on. Do you need to pray and mediate? Up! What are the forward steps you need to do to get through this? Start taking the action steps towards it.


I’m always going to say get help when needed. We got counseling when needed for each situation because we realized we couldn’t do it alone. With the diagnosis many are getting coaching, and many are joining my programs in which they can learn how to work on their self, and then how to work with their child. Understand that you don’t have to do this alone. You can actually get help from people who understand –  whether it’s a tribe or a group, or a professional, or coaching, or understanding that “I still have to work on me.” Self help, self work, and self improvement are what’s going to help us to deal through and motivate ourselves when going through unexpected challenges.


The last challenge that I had to deal with, (and I don’t speak about it often, but its real right y’all its real) was depression. We all go through depression. There’s some that are more severe, and those need a diagnosis or more intense support with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But we all have these periods of depression. I think for some reason someone told us we’re not going to have that. What that may look like are those weekends where you just want to throw the comforter over your head, or you just don’t want to be around people for an extended amount of time. These are challenges that come through our lives when we just don’t even want to WANT, we don’t want to go, we don’t want to do anything. Identifying and accepting it and seeing how long it lasts for … that’s key. If it lasts longer than weeks and it’s going into months, then we know we need to go out there and get the support to help us through this. We need to know once again – I’m going to come back to this because here is the mindset shift that you needed, that I needed, and that the people who you share this or lend this out to need to hear – that it is NOT YOUR FAULT. I wish someone would’ve told me that earlier because i blamed myself for every single thing that I went through. I blamed myself for the diagnosis, I blamed myself for the divorces. Then I blamed myself for the times I didn’t want to do, I didn’t want to empower, I didn’t want to motivate, I didn’t want to help anyone else, I just wanted to BE. I didn’t want to be around people for extended amount of times.  Then I would come back and I’m like, “what’s wrong with me?” I would ask myself what’s wrong with you, but I had to realize it’s not a fault thing. I had to start learning the tools and techniques to help me through these moments.


So what I’m leaving you with today as you’re moving forward and as you’re starting to think about these unexpected challenges that are going to face you in your life  (because sorry, knock on wood, it’s called LIFE), is learning how to shift, learning how to navigate, learning how to get support as needed, and learning that you don’t have to do this alone. Get a tribe, get a group of other people that can help to pull you up when you’re slipping. Most importantly, I’m going to leave you with this today: raise your hands up and say these three magical words – I NEED HELP. Those are the words that, for some reason, we don’t use. Those are the words that we feel like are curse words, that we’re not supposed to say them. I became a better mom when I began to say, “wait a minute I can’t do this alone. I need your help.” I became a better professional when I realized I can’t do new things alone. I need help, and I get out there and I invest in my help. I get out there and get my coaches in different areas, but it isn’t because I woke up like it. It’s because I fell down so many times that I got tired of falling down. I realized there’s got to be a better way to this, and if there’s a better way to this then why am I not choosing it? I’ve got to be more empowered to make a better choice.


As I leave you and as you’re reflecting over some of the things that you read about today, think about what are you going to do and what you’re going to choose to help you to navigate unexpected challenges. If you can, choose it ahead of time. If you can, choose it knowing that there’s a possibility things may not go the way you planned. I’m not saying be negative, I’m just saying be prepared for the unexpected by giving yourself nourishment. For example, I was getting ready to record my podcast and I made sure I had my water next to me because I know if I talk too much my throat is going to star to hurt and it’s going to start to sound more raspy. So I get prepared by making sure the water is close by. Do the things that you can start activating now so that when the things that have happened in the past show back up, you now know how to handle and how to deal with it and navigate it slightly different. Now I’m not telling you that you’re going to get perfection at the end. But I am going to tell you that if we navigate these tools, if we apply them and use them, then we’re going to see differences in our results. I’m pleased to share with you if you go to my website you’ll see access where I share different tools tips and strategies. I’m sharing some of the things I’ve went through so that you can activate these tips and you can get better results. Don’t we all want better results?


Hang in there make sure you stay tuned for our next post that’s following up. It’s going to be more on mindset, motivation, and meditation, and most importantly for you – activation. It’ll be the Thank you again for reading.


If you’re someone who prefers auditory over visuals, you can listen to my episodes of my podcast, The Dr. Ali Griffith show where I discuss topics exactly like what you’ve read today! Links are below. Make sure you’re subscribed, share it out, and definitely leave a review to let us know how you’re loving it. You can always inbox me to send me information or to let me know what other topics are you interested in us discussing or sharing. Have a fantastic and au-mazing one!