We all have a routine. Those things we’ve been doing for ages that just seem to come naturally. Mindless. Without thinking or much effort. Whether it’s getting up at a certain time, automatic responses to specific questions, to how you process new information or prepare for meetings. Auto- pilot is alive and well. How though does being on auto pilot allow you to grow, learn, and ultimately be better? Contribute to living your best life? I’ve been thinking about this idea a lot lately and the one thing that keeps coming to mind is the idea of challenge.
Challenge for the majority of us is uncomfortable. It’s not something most, readily and happily seek out for obvious reasons.
The word literally means a call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel.
Further experience and analysis lead us to understand that challenges require work. Often times HARD work. All the more reason to shy away from it but what if we did just the opposite. Using that fear of hard work and/or change to fuel our passions. To get us moving and ultimately motivated to keep going. Openly embracing and encouraging challenge in our lives regaining the power we allow it to hold. When we are challenged it means we in essence come alive. Alive to life and all that is happening around us. Being challenged requires one to be more present, to actually think at a time we might not normally do so, and in turn be better.
Ralph Marston says “Challenges give you the opportunity to grow smarter, more capable, more effective. Challenges can even make you kinder, more generous and understanding. When you have a choice, choose the challenging task. When you don’t have a choice, challenge yourself to find a way.”
If our goal is to be better than we were yesterday, challenge is the only way to get there.
Every week as a Coach I challenge you, the reader, to taking action in a new and different way for a reason. It would be easy for me to pick a topic give you my opinion on it and leave it there. But again, how does that serve my purpose of supporting others to reach their potential and be the best version of themselves? And more importantly how does that challenge me to become a better coach?
Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable, trying new things, being willing to fail, make mistakes, and try again is all a part of the process to becoming great. Without it there would be no meaning to our achievement. And meaning is what life should be about.
Therefore this week, I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in ways you would never think to do. Push beyond your limits and discover strength that you didn’t even know existed. Ask yourself what areas of your life you would like to see change within. Then brainstorm challenging ways to help you break your current cycle and get where you want to go. There is no challenge to small or big. If it pushes you, it’s the right thing. If you stumble along the way that’s OK. Take that time to make adjustments finding just the right amount of push necessary to get back on the horse and try again.
If this sounds completely crazed and you need a little reinforcement take the time to reflect on challenges of your past. The moments when, at the time, you felt the world was crumbling at your feet yet you managed to prevail and achieve the impossible. No matter where we are in life we all have successes. Use them to build confidence and strength to do more.
Changing the conversation we have with ourselves about what is bad, negative, hard, uncomfortable, is the first step to changing our lives. If we believe in this notion then it’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and experience life in the best possible way.