3 Steps to Challenge Yourself for Success

I’ve always liked a good challenge; in fact, that’s how this article came into existence.  A friend suggested I write one every month.  This is my fifth consecutive submission.  Each month is a new challenge; sometimes I know what I want to write about at the beginning of the month and other times it takes a few weeks to find inspiration from something I’ve read or seen.  Rarely will the story just flow out of me.  Some months I might write three or four different things before deciding which direction to go in.  As much as I love to write, it’s always a challenge for me because it’s important to me that what I share resonates with the reader.  I have found so much inspiration in the words and deeds of others that when I find something that speaks to me, I feel challenged to share it so that it can inspire and help others.

My inspiration this month struck while I was attending my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday.  After the religious part of the ceremony ended, he gave a speech about facing challenges.  I was blown away not only by what he said, but by the action he chose to take.  You see, many people talk a good game, but do very little – or even nothing – to follow through on their convictions.  This 13 year old boy, now considered a man in the Jewish faith, decided he wants to make a difference and was taking the steps to do just that.  He shared with us that he is being bullied at school because he likes the color pink.  He recognized that, in our society, we assign gender labels to many things, including colors.  By openly liking the color pink, he was flying in the face of convention because we identify pink with femininity and girls.  That construct made him begin to consider the roles we assign to genders and the reality of gender inequality.  He read more on the subject and began considering the effects it had on the way women were treated in our society, and that inspired him to make a difference in whatever way he could.

In the immediate, he decided to turn his good fortune into a benefit for others.  HeForShe-photo-1In lieu of a traditional Bar Mitzvah party and gifts, he decided to host a benefit concert and asked that his guests make a donation to HeforShe, an organization that promotes gender equality through education and community involvement (www.heforshe.org).  His selfless and mature actions impressed me and I’m not easily impressed.  He also got me thinking…

One of the most important aspects of challenging yourself is the follow through.  I’m very good about follow through; almost fanatical.  If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.  This is just as important to me in my professional life as it is in my personal life.  How many of us, though, are guilty of saying we want to do something and then dropping the ball?  Whether it’s saying you want to spend more time with loved ones, starting a new exercise program, making more cold calls, becoming a mentor, donating to charity, cleaning out your closet…we have these great intentions, but then we allow real life to get in the way, sidetracking us from our desired goals.

This month, I’ve challenged myself to stop eating processed sugar as of June 1st.  It will be difficult for me because I love candy, cake, and cookies; but I will do it.  So will you!  I’m challenging everyone to choose one thing you’ve been putting off and, borrowing the Nike slogan, “Just do it!”

Do it in three steps:

1)     Write down your goal and tell a friend.  Not only do you create some accountability, but you also enlist the support of friend for those moments when you are wavering in your resolve.

2)     Write down the date you will begin the process.

3)     Don’t procrastinate; just do it.

I invite you to share your share your goal with me and I will be happy to offer you support as you work to achieve it.

Thanks to my cousin, Aidan, for inspiring this month’s article.