Whether a challenge is self-directed or imposed, there is a sense of being stretched or tested in some way. This immediately begs the questions ‘Do I want it and why?’, ‘Am I up to it?’ or ‘What if I fail?’.
The hallmark of successful people is that they carve out a life of significance by addressing these questions head on. They are intentional about both seeking the growth from new possibilities of their choice and in identifying the personal development from challenges that are thrust upon them. Central to this is the recognition of the inevitability of failure and the willingness to learn from it.
Seven tips for stepping out and stepping up to challenge
1. Think of the alternative
Perhaps the best way to welcome fresh challenges into your life is to consider the opposite: endless and mindless repetition. Forbidding new challenges would be tantamount to a life sentence of fossilisation.
2. Choose to see that growth and challenge go hand in glove
Challenge is embraced as a life-enhancer when you abandon or, more realistically, suppress the fear of failure, and choose to see that growth and challenge go hand in glove. In your earliest years, you surmounted the challenges of crawling, toddling, walking, and then running. You achieved this by trial and error and without any thought of not being able to achieve your objective. Imagine how different it would have been if your self-talk, or that of others, had called into question whether you could achieve your goal.
3. Commit to the first step and the rest will follow
There is time for planning on the sidelines, but ultimately the time comes to venture forth and take action. There is a simple and universal trick to rising to a challenge. It boils down to taking the crucial first step, building on prior success and chunking ‘stretch’ targets. It is romantic and appealing to think in terms of a leap to overnight success. However, if success is to be sustainable rather than an unrepeatable ‘flash in the pan’, the underlying reality is almost always one of a series of steps. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, distracting, and counter-productive.
4. Focus on the ‘for what?’
So you’ve embarked on a challenge, whether it was entirely voluntary, or you were put into a situation of needing to rise to an occasion. Focusing on the ‘for what?’ will help you through the tough times. There are no wrong or right answers for your motivating factors—great things have been achieved both by virtue of receiving nurturing encouragement and also by a fierce determination to prove detractors wrong.
5. Trust in your second wind
We have all had times when we have thought that we had given our all and yet have managed to catch a second wind to take us over the line, physical or otherwise. Remind yourself of these occasions, and trust that you have the resources within to pull out the stops when needed.
6. Revel in breaching your comfort zone
Celebrate and take pride in your willingness to ‘reach for the stars’ and unwillingness to settle for mediocrity. It’s important to remember that your so-called comfort zone can end up by being a boundary, which cuts you off from opportunities. You owe it to yourself not to settle for an unnecessarily small life.
7. Question ‘no pain, no gain’
Eating vegetables daily is sound advice whether you like them or not. This does not make ‘no pain, no gain’ a universal truth. On the contrary, there is no merit per se in pain unless you are majoring in masochism. Research shows that success and meaning are correlated with leveraging our strengths. Choose challenges that are fun for you, and self-identify as somebody who relishes ‘having a go’.
For more detail, read A to Z: Your Navigator to Success. Click to buy.
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