The Only Challenge that Matters
The only challenge that matters is the one you give yourself. Others might try to challenge you, but the only challenge you win is the one you want to win.
The only way to advance is to challenge yourself.
Taking on a new challenge means:
- Doing something you haven’t done before.
- Applying current skills on a larger scale.
- Developing and testing new attitudes, behaviors, skills, and practices.
New challenges are like adding weight to the bar. It’s wise to feel concerned. Don’t jump from 100 pounds to 200. Learn from someone who lifts heavy weights. Get a spotter.
Taking on new challenges means stumbling forward instead of sprinting forward. How you set expectations and deal with failure determine how far you go.
Bad habits become more dangerous when you take on new challenges. The habit of speaking first and listening later, for example, hurts more when stakes are high. Good habits protect you.
7 ways to challenge yourself today:
- Avoid doing things that matter less.
- Build new relationships.
- Strengthen current relationships.
- Practice a relevant skill. (Listening, planning, or coaching, for example.)
- Participate more in meetings.
- Bring up an issue you’ve been avoiding.
- Say no.
4 ways to win when you challenge yourself:
- Go public. Let others know what you’re doing.
- Get partners. We go further with mentors, coaches, and friends.
- Define the big win. What will be true if you win?
- Set short-term wins. Long-term goals can paralyze. Short-term wins lend themselves to taking action today.
Challenging yourself means facing fear, exposing limiting beliefs, and stepping into the unknown.
Advancement begins at the point of discomfort, when you try something you haven’t done.
How might you challenge yourself today? Others?
How does one win when taking on a new challenge?
Taking on new challenges means stumbling forward instead of sprinting forward.
Love this line and indeed I have found that building in tiny little steps gets us to the end goal faster and more consistently than trying to take on too much at one time!
Thanks CG. Your comment reminded me that I can over-estimate my capabilities. A little over-confidence helps. A lot of over-confidence harms. Small steps that get somewhere are better than giant leaps that go nowhere.
Avoid doing things that matter less.
Build new relationships.
Strengthen current relationships.
Practice a relevant skill. (Listening, planning, or coaching, for example.)
Participate more in meetings.
Bring up an issue you’ve been avoiding.
Say no. If I’m doing 1 thru 4 and 6&7 I don’t need 5 because I’ve built the necessary relationships and communicated effectively that everyone knows what I am doing. Everyone also is in direct frequent contact so movement forward is going well. Meetings in this context are redundant and time wasting.
Thanks Roger. It’s cool how you can see how these elements interact with each other. I was just making a list. You saw connections.
This list of three:
1. Doing something you haven’t done before.
2. Applying current skills on a larger scale.
3. Developing and testing new attitudes, behaviors, skills, and practices.
defines challenges in such a clear way! I am going to use it with students who see challenge as a negative or adverse experience. Ha, I’ll use it with my teachers as well. I’m planning on sharing this blog post with them and printing the list of three for my board. Thanks, Dan.
I loved the line about “stumbling forward instead of sprinting forward”. I recently talked to a coworker about how we stride quickly over a parking lot, but slow way down when we see a sheet of ice ahead. I think it’s the same way with challenges; wisdom teaches that in order to get ahead you can make more ground by slowing down carefully than by picking yourself up off the ground. Thanks for this insightful wisdom.
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