by Colle Davis
By Colle Davis
Have you ever noticed that the word challenge is considered a ‘static noun’. The word challenging is a verb, a motion, behavior, or dynamic action. (As a writer, I dwell on these minor differences in language, so you don’t have to do it yourself.)
When was the last time you challenged (oh, another form of the word!) yourself to improve anything? Have you taken any new actions like finding a different way to shave, wearing your hair in a new style, or reaching out to someone to improve their world? These all qualify as challenging. All these examples are actions or behaviors that you control.
Success does not come by repeating the same routines over and over the same way. It comes from challenging yourself to improve your routines in some tiny way that forces your brain to devise a better solution.
“If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Henry Ford.
Something as simple as making that phone call you have been dreading removes one more task from your list.
Focusing on your intended outcome instead of creating an action to move you forward makes it easy to postpone the action. The result of the action may, and probably will, be different from what you anticipated.
Behavior and action are the keys to moving your life forward. Outcomes are results, and you can adjust your behavior now to account for unexpected ones.
Flexibility is the key, and the challenge is in your behavior. (There is that word again.)
Answer these six life-changing questions, and write down your answers for reference in 90 days and again in 180 days:
1. What goals are you wishing or hoping will happen?
2. What are you DOING to further the possibility of achieving those goals?
3. Think of one small action today to move you closer to your outcomes.
4. Where do you feel you can benefit from what you are doing today?
5. Is it your physical output, skills output, some mundane tasks you must perform too often, or some other handy excuse for not making a change?
6. What has to happen for you to accept that challenging yourself is the most productive and valuable behavior available to you?
The tiny differences in behavior are easy, fun, funny, and amaze my clients. These can be starting to shave on the other side of their body, brushing their teeth with the other hand, and putting on their pants or shoes, starting with the other leg first. You laugh, as most people do, and these changes make your lazy, happy brain process the new input to see if it works better or needs to change or decide if it is too silly/hard. Post-It notes are helpful for reminders during this behavior-awareness training.
“Colle, it cannot be that easy” is the most frequent response I receive from people. My response is “First, do the change; then, if you want, make it hard. Yes, change is that easy. It is our fear of change that we dread.”
Challenging yourself speeds up your life and career trajectory. Start today and shorten the time you think it takes to get that perfect job, raise, or that promotion.
Here is your new action mantra this week to remind yourself to take small steps toward your goals: “CHA-CHA-CHA.”