Is work driving you crazy because of the demanding hours? Can’t stand your overbearing boss? Feel unproductive because you have such a long commute to your workplace? On the basis of such difficulties, you might conclude that your career is your biggest challenge. And you would be wrong.
Recently I worked with someone who was going through several personal challenges, including the death of someone close to him. His life hit a crisis when he was called upon to essentially abandon dealing with these things and get back to work. But since he had kept himself so busy with other tasks, he never mourned his loss. His emotional state became an insurmountable hurdle to his fulfilling his job responsibilities. He knew he needed to grieve, he just kept putting it off. Here is how to avoid the same fate:
1. Just for a week, keep a journal of the tasks or issues you think about but put off. As each one comes up write it down on a list. When an item comes up again put a check mark by it. At the end of the week add up the number of times you avoided taking care of each one. Whichever responsibility has the most check marks is your biggest challenge.
Reality is, while you may dislike spending long hours at a job or whatever else is consuming your time, you are comfortable with what needs to be done so you spend your time there. But when you are not sure how to handle a task you avoid doing it. Yet figuring out how to handle it is the surest path to growing your skills and intellect.
2. Tackle the unknown. It will lead to your greatest accomplishments. Successful people know this. They are afraid, but they overcome it and face their real challenges.
Did you avoid prospecting for more business more than any other task? Embrace your terror of rejection and move forward anyway. Learn new techniques and practice them instead of retreating into what will absorb all of your time but retard your growth.
You will not have a successful marriage until you spend the time to build one with your spouse and learn the skills it takes to nurture this relationship. Likewise with your children.
3. Internalize the idea that the only way to fail is continued avoidance. Failure is not an option because you say it isn’t. It is not an option because you decide to keep growing and learning. No one can make you a loser without you choosing it first.
Which is more satisfying: a busy life with many regrets at not having tried to overcome life’s challenges or a busy life with many frustrations that came from continually striving to grow? If you are working hard anyway, why not make it worthwhile?
Question – Must you continually face challenges for your life to be valuable?
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