I was recording my Monday Motivation video for my Gen-ius Network Members this morning, this week’s topic was about challenges and I felt inspired to write an article on the topic too! We all face challenges every day – from the small, emerging from your warm bed on a cold rainy morning….bbrrrrr. To the large, those life changing challenges like buying a house, starting a new relationship or taking off on an adventure of a lifetime).
I thought it would be interesting to dive into the topic and explore the common phases that we all go through when approaching a challenge.
Challenges Phase 1: Inspiration & Ideas
I talked about Inspiration in last week’s podcast, and explained it’s importance in fuelling our ideas and motivation. It is important to remember:
“Inspiration doesn’t work in the realm as practicalities, nor bound by ‘reality’ or the constraints of societal norms. They are freer but fragile.”
I love the phrase a ‘spark’ of inspiration. That spark of inspiration quickly gains momentum when the spark turns into a crackle of tinder and the glow of early flames – an idea. That’s only possible if it happens to spark near some dry tinder!
As any bush-craft expert will tell you, it’s so important to keep your ‘idea tinder’ dry. So that, even in the worst of conditions you can light a fire and warm yourself.
Never lose that inspiration and make sure you give an idea time to develop.
Check out my podcast “Let’s Talk About…Inspiration”:
Challenges Phase 2: The Practicalities
After all the initial excitement…then comes the practicalities!
All those things you need to do to get an idea of the ground to make it happen. You can experience this in a variety of ways, it can be making a big list of all the things you need to do, or (if you are like me) booking the ‘thing’ – the race, saying yes to a speaking engagement or booking the flight/ticket. Then you start doing the stuff, taking action.
I read an interesting story about a guy who for years wanted to start his own e-commerce business, but had procrastinated for years. One day the idea popped back into his head, followed by all the usual reservations. But this time…he decided to take action, what I call a ‘point of no return’.
He decided there and then, to order a wholesale delivery of 10,000 pairs of shoes. Not 1,000, 10,000 pairs. They filled his garage and some of his house! No more procrastination. He now had to start an e-commerce business, in fact he technically had one already having received his first shipment of stock! Now all he had to do was sell them. He got to work, setting up all the practicalities – website, ads, shipping. Eventually selling the whole lot and establishing his business. Learning all he needed to know in the process.
Had he not taken that first spark of inspiration, lighting that idea tinder and firing into action he might have never started his business!
Another way to create mental ‘points of no return’ is to tell people about your idea, get them excited about it too. Share it with others, get them to join in! Accountability is a powerful thing and can give you that little bit extra idea tinder to get the fire going.
Challenges Phase 3: The Dip
Sometimes, as you begin to list/do things… your self-doubt and self-confidence start to raise their ugly heads and questions begin to drop into your mind about the challenges:
“Can I do this?”, “Is this crazy?”, “Who do I think I am doing this?”, “What if something bad happens?”, “What if….?”
If you challenge is a particularly big one, I predict the ‘dip’ will be big also. Personally, my biggest challenges have been the most rewarding experience of my life! But the ‘dips’ that accompanied them were harsh, dark and difficult. But they are what resulted in the challenges being so rewarding.
The ‘dip’ is part of the process. You cannot avoid it. It is there to protect you.
It tests the alignment of the challenge – It is there to test to see if this challenge is really yours to pursue. Sometimes we can find ourselves unconsciously pursuing someone else’s idea, someone else’s dream. In the dip, you get to fully check if this is the case for you and it can protect you from pursuing a challenge which is not meant for you. Take some time to embrace the dip and ask yourself ‘Is this aligned with my dreams and aspirations?’, ‘Is this aligned with my Core Intentions/values?’, ‘Is this someone else’s challenge?’, ‘does this move me closed to my dream day?’.
It checks for danger – The dip is there to protect you, a stop-check if you will. It creates a pause for you to consider the details, potential outcomes and also to consider alternatives/tweaks. Very quickly we can become very tunnel-vision with a challenge and forget to consider the alternatives. The dip is a great time to stop, step back and see if there are any necessary tweaks or alternatives you hadn’t considered. You can then explore these, incorporating them as necessary before moving forward.
Imagine your idea was to do a speaking engagement – your initial idea for your first speaking gig was to speak at an event in front of 500 people. For a first timer, that would be quite a challenge and terrifying! So during the ‘dip’ you decide that a tweak is in order – maybe 50 people would be better for the first time, then work up to 500. A tweak.
Check in with your body – Many of us have a gut intuition, that gut instinct that sees through all the ‘details’ and gives you a yes or a no. Much of the time we ignore this and rationalise everything. In the ‘dip’ you will really rely on this gut feel help you navigate through this phase. If it gives you an icky feeling – it’s probably not right for you.
Try switching off that rational brain for a minute and check in, ask ‘What does my gut say about it?’.
Embrace the ‘Dip’. Anticipate ‘Dip’. Explore the ‘Dip’.
Challenges Phase 4: The Accomplished Challenge
You’ve done it! You made it happen!
The reward of a challenge accomplished is like nothing else. Enjoy it!
Take learning from the experience, reflect on the process, on how you navigate the different phases, learn you patterns. This is the real reward from the accomplishment – knowing yourself better.
We consolidate our experiences as memories. our wonderful brain assimilates, sorts and connects all our memories into a complex web of resources that we can access in future. A catalogue.
Every time we accomplish a challenge – small or big – it builds another volume to this vast, personalised and interconnected library, available to us at any time in the future. But, memory is selective, it doesn’t store everything the same. Ever replayed a memory from your past and found elements of it minimised, ‘rose-tinted’ or even missing? This is the result of this sorting.
A great way to capture experiences is to journal – write down your experiences as they happen so you can read back over your experiences and learn from them, spot patterns and almost time travel back to that time in your life. This can be an amazing tool to help you build your self-awareness and learn from those experiences.
Check out my podcast on ‘The Joy of Journaling’:
Finally, HAVE FUN!
Challenges are the most exciting experiences in your life. They are a part of living, of simply being alive! Enjoy them, embrace them and develop yourself through them!
Interested in joining the Gen-ius Network for mentorship, inspiration, knowledge, developing your mindset, overcoming procrastinating on your dreams, mastering work/life balance and much more! Check it out –> HERE