Sunday, June 11, 2006

Curious about Challenges - Are They Opportunities, Roadblocks or Necessary Steps?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.” - Gustave Flaubert

Yes, it is sometimes hard to agree that challenges are necessary and, in most cases, offer important opportunities. I was reminded this past week of the need for challenges while listening to a CD of Zig Ziglar’s, The View from the Top. A master of stories and metaphors, Ziglar compared life to climbing a mountain. “You can’t climb a smooth mountain. We need the crags, footholds and imperfections.” And, the challenges.

This past week I really needed the reminder that I love and thrive on challenges. I taught the first Step Aerobics class that I have taught in five months - since sustaining a hip fracture the beginning of January. My challenges consisted of having forgotten several parts of my usual routine, not being sure that I could make it through the full hour energy-wise and wondering if I could even perform many of the high-impact moves. It certainly wasn’t smooth, but I did make it through and am now looking forward to teaching three high-impact classes, along with four lower-impact classes this coming week.

If you are facing challenges - and most of us have plenty - here are some great quotations to help you welcome them and benefit from them:
  • There is no greater challenge than to have someone relying upon you; no greater satisfaction than to vindicate his expectation.” - Kingman Brewster
  • Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing.” - H. Stanley Judd
  • I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.” - Tony Robbins
  • We must accept life for what it actually is - a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

Ah, and if you are a creative, here are some great quotations for you to chew on:

  • But when I go on a tour, it's too easy, too simple and I need a bigger challenge than that, like a thirty piece orchestra and the sets moving in an out, costumes... . a big show. I love that.” - Sebastian Bach
  • Every artist has to grow, and has to challenge themselves with a new form of expression.” - Terrence Howard
  • Whatever the medium, there is the difficulty, challenge, fascination and often productive clumsiness of learning a new method: the wonderful puzzles and problems of translating with new materials.” - Helen Frankenthaler
  • The worlds I paint leave a lot to engage the imagination by hinting at what lies beyond the four edges of the painting. I think getting beyond the four edges of an opportunity or challenge is one of the basic skills you need in business.” - Thomas Kinkade
  • Each novel is harder than its predecessor because I must work harder at not repeating myself. However, I enjoy the challenge. This is the greatest job in the world.” - Jonathan Kellerman
  • If you are a genius, you'll make your own rules, but if not - and the odds are against it - go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper - write.” - J. B. Priestley

Being a fitness instructor and a strong and dedicated proponent of physical activity, I will leave you with this excellent and true quotation from Twyla Tharp, “Anybody who wants to challenge their mind to operate - any artists, any writer, any economist, any entrepreneur - knows they have to work physically at something on a daily basis. It is a necessary part of the human machine.”

Do consider your big and not-so-big challenges. Ask yourself, “What opportunities will come from these? What will and do I learn from these roadblocks? Why are they necessary?” I learned so much from my hip fracture, surgery and rehabilitation - but that’s another story.

Maybe, another blog!