LIFE in 2021: “CHALLENGE YOURSELF!”
Human nature has got certain attributes which are just hard to erase. These traits are wired in us so much that they are part of who we are. But, if you want to make the most of your career and life in general, JUST WEAVE these two words into the fabric of your approach to LIFE in 2021: “CHALLENGE YOURSELF!”
There is nobody who can doubt that setting goals is one of the most important life-changing scenarios. Regardless of whether the life-changing scenario is big, with audacious goals or just a small adjustment, it takes a lot of courage to get committed.
Whilst we seem to have no problems identifying goals we want to accomplish, putting these plans into action is frequently much more difficult than we think. Why?
This is essentially because of two issues:
- There is lack of self-discipline and motivation contributing to this behavior.
- It could also be because of low self-efficacy as deep down one doesn’t believe that one can achieve their plans.
SELF-EFFICACY is an individual’s belief that he or she will be able to accomplish a specific task. It is believed that an essential component to accomplishing something is our confidence that we can. Thus, self-efficacy drives one’s motivation – Albert Bandura.
Dear Reader, try to ponder on these questions, as honestly as you can:
- What are the factors affecting your self-efficacy?
- How can you develop more confidence in your abilities?
- What are the most important things you need to know about the influence of your mind on your achievements?
There are some ways of challenging oneself that are better than others. Research seems to agree on three fundamental conditions on changing oneself:
- They take you out of your comfort zone without putting you in serious danger.
- They provide you with an intense, accelerated learning experience.
- They help you develop skills and attitudes that are highly valuable to you in life.
12 Ways To Challenge Yourself
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do” – Leonardo da Vinci.
Introducing your own challenges at work or at home will not only improve your career performance, but also provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your skills and future career prospects. By adopting this approach in your current role, you will gain invaluable skills and experience in 2018 that will seamlessly transfer into your next position when you’re ready to move on.
Push Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I have stepped outside my comfort zone enough to know that, yes, the world does fall apart, but not in the way that you fear – Tan Le
Every job or task has certain tasks that involve a bit more thought and time investment, which many of us tend to shy away from during our day-to-day work life. In order to challenge yourself, you have to take these tasks head on; embrace the challenge and learn something new from it.
If you feel like you’ve exhausted your own role and the responsibilities within it, try to take on new projects and opportunities that are not normally expected of you. Specifically consider projects that push you out of your comfort zone, challenge your strengths and address your weaknesses.
But it’s not being out of your comfort zone that gives the results, it’s the length of the stretch you are about to make when out of it.
I want to challenge you today to get out of your comfort zone. You have so much incredible potential on the inside. God has put gifts and talents in you that you probably don’t know anything about – Joel Osteen
2. Be Competitive
I am competitive and I feel bad when we lose. You can see it in me when we’ve lost. I’m in a bad way. I don’t like to talk to anyone – Lionel Messi
A little competition can go a long way at work. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to beat other employees as this can generate conflict and make you unpopular in the office or staffroom. What you need to do is to simply try to be the best that you can be. Try to consider your past achievements and use them as a basis to define new goals to work towards. Always try to push yourself that little bit further.
It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end it is people that are going to hire you – Mike Davidson
Most of our engagement at work may only be within our teams so what about learning from others. It really plays a vital part in our overall career success. Make sure you stay connected not only with your own team members, but also with the wider corporate network. It is an excellent way of selling yourself. You just never know what is around the corner but colleagues whom you have known for years may just be the antidote for a career change.
By communicating with other departments and colleagues in different positions, you will gain a different perspective, which you can then apply to your own processes and make your job better or safer.
Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill – Christopher Parker
Everyone is guilty of procrastination at work from time to time. We put off tasks that we don’t want to do in favour of more mundane tasks, which quickly makes us feel bored at work. In order to combat procrastination, a shift in attitude and the way you approach work is necessary. Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something. Seize the moment and try hard to do things as they occur rather than putting them off and waiting for the perfect time to occur.
We all need assistance from colleagues from time to time, but try to fulfill your job responsibilities with minimum help. Completing a task on your own from start to finish, will not only make you feel more challenged, but will provide a greater sense of achievement and accomplishment.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein
Remember that your success and devotion not only benefit the company, but also advances your own skill set and increases your employability. In this instance, it’s important that you don’t always wait for your boss to delegate tasks to you. Take initiative and look for new tasks that you can take on. Be open to change and always give 100% at work to make the most of every opportunity.
Evaluate And Re-evaluate Your Skills and Flaws
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions” – Stephen Covey
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” – Michael Jordan
Don’t wait for a work review to evaluate your performance, instead you should constantly evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to your position. By fully understanding your competencies, you are better able to overcome the negative aspects of your performance and utilize the positive ones.
Pay particular attention to your flaws and try to take on different roles that can help you to improve upon them. Always be open to learning new skills and building upon your existing skill set in order to enhance your current position as well as future career prospects.
Figure Out What You’re Scared Of – And Do It For One Week Consistently.
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napoleon Hill
If you’re in sales, and you’re scared of talking to people personally or over the phone, then you have a problem. You can’t just relate with your clients online, can you? Now, instead of crippling in fear and automatically thinking you’ll fail, spend at least five minutes a day to pick up the phone and make a call to a prospect. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, you may embarrass yourself. And yes, someone may hang up on you. But don’t stop on the first try, just yet! You’ll get the hang of it eventually. After a while, you can look at fear in the eyes and say, “Go on, I’m not scared!”
Aim High in Your Career
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears” – Les Brown
Big, bold career goals can really challenge you and help you grow as a person. But I’m not talking about theoretical goals though, that you dream of achieving, all the while spending most of your time watching TV. I’m talking about well-defined career goals that you work to achieve.
These goals can relate to the amount of money you make, the number of people you impact through your work, the role you play in a company, or the magnitude of the projects you manage. Whatever floats your boat!
The main point is that by setting and pursuing such goals, you will be forced to develop as a person. You’ll need to study, to develop your expertise in your field, to innovate and to take calculated risks. All of this implies unbelievable self-growth.
Have A Positive Attitude
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” – Audrey Hepburn
Having a positive attitude is one of the most attractive assets in an employee. Always approach tasks – even difficult ones – with a positive attitude and a belief that you can do it. Don’t underestimate yourself or your abilities, and carry out your position with dedication and enthusiasm.
By making these simple changes to your position, you will not only feel more challenged at work through the tasks that you take on, but you will also improve your own skill set and future career prospects.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi
Physical exercise is often talked about as a way to be healthy and stay in shape. I see another side to it, though. I see it as a good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Ever since August 2015 when I challenged myself to walk 30-35 kilometres a week, I have never faltered. I walk everyday and the benefits have been astounding!
This is because when you exercise, you put in some degree of effort. Whether you’re running, or lifting weights, or jumping rope, some sort of physical and mental exertion is involved. And this exertion has many benefits in terms of self-growth.
Through regular exercise, not only that you train your body and you develop your strength, speed, endurance and so on, but you also train your mind. You develop willpower, vigilance and confidence. And there are now studies that show regular physical exercise is associated with a higher level of perseverance and determination, which you know, are important in life.
Aside from the obvious reason that exercise can help you maintain your regular weight or shed those unnecessary pounds, it can also aid in making you feel better about yourself, by releasing endorphins.
Make Failure A Learning Process
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
Regardless of how smart or hardworking one is, failure is inevitable. Everyone makes mistakes or fails to meet expectations at some point in their professional lives, and it’s important to frame those situations correctly or a career can be sidetracked. Again, the leader has much power here.
Employees will go further for a leader who they know has their back. It’s important to build your employee back up after a failure and get them back on their feet again as soon as possible. Discuss the failure as a learning opportunity, and avoid being overly critical or berating them about the issue. Make sure they know that you view failure as a necessary part of growth and innovation, and that you see great things for the person ahead.
Push Yourself Out Of Complacency
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination” -Jimmy Dean
There’s a natural tendency for us to gravitate towards what we’re good at doing. Then we get stuck there because we’ve gotten comfortable.
This kind of stasis can be too much of a good thing and inhibit growth. Try pushing yourself to try things you have potential for and give yourself the opportunity to take a risk.
Remind yourself that it’s about the effort, not just innate skills.
“Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an over-emphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings” – Stanford Psychology Professor, Carol S. Deck
Travel And Allow Yourself To Be Interested In New People
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
We’re not talking about the expensive kind of travelling here. Something cost-effective like going to your local museum or visiting the resort in the next city can all count as travelling! Here, don’t just limit yourself to your fellow travelers – try to connect with the service staff, like the lifeguard, or the receptionist, or the tour guide. You never know what kind of people they’re going to be. Get out of your house or go online right now to book your class – ONCE things get back to normality.
Start now and learn to challenge yourself from time to time. We all need a little push once in a while.
Surely, our challenges are way out there, seemingly unrealistic at the time being. It is only when we step out of our comfort zone in a resolute manner, reaching further than we were used to, that we begin in earnest to yearn for more.
I don’t know about you, but I find the strategies above are like the pieces of a puzzle. Putting them all together and what you have is a lifestyle that entails constantly challenging yourself and growing in all the relevant directions: you grow socially, you stimulate your mind and body, you develop your expertise and you get wiser each day.
Good luck in all your endeavours. Any comments of yours on ways you are challenging yourself in 2018 would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.