It’s 4:30 PM and your boss calls you in for an impromptu meeting. He needs you to create a new training presentation for him. He gives you the title and tells you to run with it. No information, literally just the title. Not only have you been working for this company for one week but this was only the second encounter you have ever had with your boss. Your initial thought might be “Peace out, I quit!” or it could be more like “I’m going to prove to you how great I really am at this job.” Classic flight or fight response.
Let’s break down these scenarios.
“Peace out, I quit!” Your boss is obviously crazy and not reasonable. No, you haven’t asked him any follow-up questions but questions show weakness right? Well, this is great, now you’re out of a job, you have no insurance, no money, and you get to go home to your parents/spouse/dog and let them know you were too scared to take on a challenging project. Life gets hard so you took the “easier route”. You’ve let your new boss down, yourself down, and your dog down. Ouch.
“I’m going to prove to you how great I really am.” This is exciting! You get to prove to yourself, your boss and the company why they hired you. You research everything you can over the given title and how to create the most impressive innovative presentation your new boss has ever seen. You’re learning so much! While researching and creating, you develop a passion for building presentations you never knew you had. An unknown dream is becoming known. Look at you, big dreamer! Although your boss picked the presentation apart, you are now aware of his expectations and feel like the next time you’re presented with a similar task, you’ll knock it out of the park.
Why do we have these reactions and what makes one person choose to flee and one person stay to fight? It boils down to how we deal with stress and fear. Challenges can be intimidating and may cause you to overthink, stress and fear over the potential outcome. However, if we shift our minds to overcome those thoughts, then we may just begin to learn from the experience. I love the quote “do it afraid.” It signifies strength and courage. It empowers you to take control and do it even if you’re scared. When faced with a challenge you want to run from, ask yourself these questions:
- What could I learn from taking on this challenge?
- Is it truly impossible or am I just scared?
- What are possible repercussions if I don’t take on this challenge?
- What are the potential rewards or areas I could grow in if I do accept the challenge?
- Is this challenge keeping me from a goal I want to hit?
Taking on challenges is essential for growth. I’ve never met a challenge I didn’t learn from. When you run from the test, the only lesson you learn is that you shouldn’t have run (and maybe you should have thought about your dog in the process). Don’t live a life full of regrets or missed opportunities. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look at different challenges in the workplace, why we react to certain challenges the way we do, and how to successfully #SpringIntoAChallenge.