Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

How often do you set exciting challenges for yourself?

October 3, 2011

During a recent walk through a nearby forest, which took in a Trim Trail, I came across this climbing wall. When I was young, I used to love climbing trees .. proper ‘tomboy’! As soon as I saw this I thought, “Now there’s a challenge! I’d love to have a go at that!”

Bearing in mind my tree-climbing days are well in the distant past, I think it’s fair to say I overestimated my ability to scale this wall. I think the idea is to get up to the top then down the other side …

… I managed to traverse across it from one side to the other! Nevertheless, the Outdoor Education lecturer at the Teacher Training college I attended would have been impressed … 3 points of contact on the wall at all times!

Even though I didn’t manage to achieve the full and proper use of this piece of equipment, I was very satisfied with my efforts 🙂 With a little practice (probably whilst no-one is looking!) I can see me getting over the top one day.

This was an exciting challenge rather than a daunting one. I was up for it and felt a great sense of achievement afterwards. Getting over the top will happen, it’s all about taking it one step (no pun intended!) at a time.

What kind of exciting challenges have you faced recently (both in your personal and working life)?

With these types of challenges, the excitement provides the added adrenalin which gets you through. For me, the motivation for doing this challenge came from the feeling I would get during and after it. Exciting challenges are perhaps those ones which are short-term, and ones where you’ll get a quick buzz from completing them.

Setting yourself exciting challenges on a regular basis does wonders for confidence and an overall sense of wellbeing. Daunting challenges have a different feel as you approach them. More on that topic in a different blog.

A postcard from the future

March 9, 2011

If you were to send yourself a postcard from the future, say a year from now, what would you like it to say?

  • What will be different about you?
  • What will your business / career look like?
  • What will have changed about your daily routine?
  • What challenges have you overcome?

… And what does this tell you about what you need to do over the next 12 months?

Although you won’t know exactly where you’ll be, you may well have goals, plans, dreams, or desires; and this is a good starting point!

So imagine what you in a year will be doing, and consider what advice you’d give yourself to achieve what you’ve achieved.

Some examples …

Hi (your name),

Business is going great guns. My clients are loving my newly developed service! I’m much more confident about delivering seminars, and am excited about moving to new premises in 3 months.

My advice? Keep believing you can do it and continue to learn from those around you.

Dear _____

I’ve figured out how to deal with the communication issues at work! I’ve enlisted the help of an expert, who helped me identify why our current systems weren’t working. We now have really effective communication strategies in place, staff are much happier, and there are far fewer misunderstandings.

Advice? Don’t try to do it all yourself. You’re not Wonder Woman / Superman. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness! Learn from it and add it to your skill set.

Hi _____

Feeling much fitter and healthier, and enjoying a well deserved break! Changing my diet has given me a lot more energy, which means I’m much more productive both at home and work. It wasn’t easy, but having small targets spread out over the year was the key success factor.

My main piece of advice: Start making small changes now, and don’t be hard on yourself if you lapse occasionally. It’s all progress, and you’ll get there!

So what would your postcard say?

(Photo courtesy of Anankkml)

28 Day Blog Challenge Learnings

March 3, 2011

YES! I’ve achieved my 28 Day Blog Challenge and it’s time to celebrate!

But before I do this, I always like to look back at what I’ve learned.

My learnings …

I have a Blog chair!

When you compose a blog, do you sit at your computer, do you vary where you write, or do you have a favourite place in your house or office?

During my blog challenge the place where I was most productive …. where ideas flew more readily …. was my blog chair. It’s comfortable and cosy, a bit old and tattered, and offers few distractions. When I’ve tried composing directly on to my WordPress blog, I can be distracted by checking emails / tweets, etc. So for future blog writing sessions, I will resort to my blog chair!

I must admit, though, there were times when the ideas weren’t flowing and I’ve have to resort to blog ironing!

Was it a challenge?

Definitely! I started out quite well prepared, but as the month rolled on my posts were coming out later in the day. A lot of this was to do with working around other commitments (e.g. clients), and it did mean some other things didn’t happen (e.g. not tweeting as much!) It definitely made me more focused, and my time to write blogs did get shorter.


Publishing something on a daily basis which other people can / will read ranks up the accountability factor! I was not only accountable to myself, but potentially to anyone expecting to see a post each day. At times, this definitely helped to keep the momentum going.

What about the benefits?

In one of my first blogs during the challenge I identified some potential benefits to achieving the goal. Having completed the challenge I can now say:

  • I definitely feel more confident writing blogs
  • I don’t think my writing style has really changed over the course of the challenge, but at the moment I am happy with what I’m producing
  • Research into some of the blog topics has further developed my subject knowledge
  • From reading more blogs by other people, and getting into dialogue in the comments section, I have learned more about what people like to read and discuss
  • In terms of adding value, I can only say that I’ve had some positive comments, been invited to guest blog, and some of the posts have been featured in online newsletters

Next steps

It’s an ongoing process! My original blogging goal was to developing my blog writing skills and frequency of posts, delivering weekly posts as a minimum by the end of March. I now plan to write 2 posts a week to see how much of what I’ve learned I can retain and maintain!

If you have managed to follow me through this challenge, I hope you found it interesting / relevant 🙂 Thanks also to those who passed on positive comments and encouragement via Twitter, etc. It was much appreciated!

(Photo courtesy of Keattikorn)

Quitting isn’t an option

February 16, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 16

Having entered the second half of my 28 Day blog challenge life seems to have thrown a couple of curve balls, causing the daily output of posts to be more of a challenge. I’m not complaining, as it’s driven the focus for today’s post.

It’s very tempting to quit, especially when unexpected challenges come your way … and they do! It’s how you deal with them that counts. What you planned to do may now have to be changed; perhaps try a different route. See it as feedback rather than failure! Goals should regularly be reviewed and adapted to accommodate any challenges. The important thing is that you don’t give up.

If you find yourself in need of a bit of inspiration, or a morale boost, here’s a poem I like to re-read from time to time. It keeps me going when things get tough!

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never  can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!

(Author unknown)

For the full version (all 4 verses) see here

Where do you get your inspiration from when the going gets tough?

Staying motivated!

February 3, 2011

Day 3 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge

Yesterday I shared with you some of my thoughts around the planning of my 28 day blog challenge. Today I’m focusing on the potentially tricky area of staying motivated.

Sustaining motivation was one of the top areas (from my recent goal setting research) identified as a potential obstacle for attaining goals. So I thought I’d address this, in part, sooner rather than later, in case anyone has started hitting that ‘wall’ yet with their goals!

Before I explore styles of motivation, it’s important to say that I wanted to ensure that I was interested in my goal in the first place. So my blogging topics had to be things I was interested in writing about and, hopefully, readers would find interesting to read! So make sure your goal interests/inspires/excites you, otherwise you could be in trouble.

So how are you motivated? I think it’s a hard question to answer in isolation, and needs to be asked in a context, i.e. the particular goal/target you’re working towards.

One of the first things I do when coaching clients towards their goals is explore their motivational traits for that goal. There are a range: internal/external, proactive/reactive, options/procedures, but for this blog I’m going to look at the Towards / Away from trait. I know from past experience that I am generally motivated “towards” my goals, rather than “away from” staying the same (where no change would happen). There is no right or wrong here, and both are about forward motion. You’re likely to be one style or the other, but about 20% of the population are a bit of both.

Knowing my motivational preference for my goal helps me plan to avoid the tough times. So, here are some pointers for each style:

If you’re motivated towards your goal you’ll benefit from:

  • identifying your rewards at the outset for achievement of your goal;
  • reminding yourself what your goal is and why you want it;
  • breaking your goal into manageable chunks; and
  • recognizing the progress you are making / you’ve made

If you’re motivated away from your current situation you’ll be motivated by:

  • giving yourself deadlines;
  • seeing tasks as challenges;
  • putting yourself under some pressure (but don’t get stressed out!); and
  • reminding yourself of what will happen if you don’t complete your tasks / achieve your goal

Remember, these are just some of the traits/styles of motivation. Look out for future blogs on the other styles, and let me know if this is an area you’d like to hear more about. If you’re interested in this topic, I recommend Words that change minds by Shelle Rose Charvet, which I’ve found very useful for my coaching and training.

(Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan)