The boss calls and tells you the report he needs next week is now due tomorrow. Your child has “forgotten” until now they have a major homework project due tomorrow. You find yourself compelled to help them out. These are just a couple simple but quite common challenges most people face on a regular basis. They are external so they are easy to recognize.
We have to understand that challenges are good for us. They help us grow (if you rise to the challenge) as people and give us a higher threshold for staying calm under pressure. If we know that being challenged regularly is good for us, how do we make sure that it’s happening?
The challenges don’t have to be big. It could be something as simple as not eating that little snack bar while you’re on a diet, no matter how much it’s calling your name. It’s doing your workout regardless of how tired you are (unless you’re over-training) and not making the excuse that you’ll make it up the next day, because you won’t. It’s getting up an hour earlier every day and studying and practicing to put yourself in the top one percent of people in your industry.
There are a couple key words that correlate to rising to the challenge. One of those words is self-discipline. The other is perseverance. Self-discipline is doing what is necessary, even when we really don’t want too. Perseverance is not giving up when doing what is necessary when everything seems to be going against us.
At what level do you own these two qualities? They also happen to be great character traits. If you’re known as the person who does what they say they’re going to do, and don’t stop until it’s done, people will take note of that. Having these two qualities gets noticed very quickly by those who are above you, because they most likely have these qualities (part of the reason they’re above you).
If you have a tendency to “throw in the towel” quick when you are challenged, fear not. These two character traits can be developed fairly quickly. As I said in the beginning, the little steps are just as important as the big ones. Little steps can be putting your things where they belong (the same way you do with your kids) the minute you get home from work, a night out, a family event, or wherever you happen to be coming from. Because the things that take no time at all to do take no time at all to not do.
Be accountable for your actions and have the self-discipline and perseverance to rise to all challenges, big and small.