Craving Challenge

My mom and my four-year-old granddaughter Tatum are having an ongoing conversation these days about the difference between needs and wants. A recent installment went like this:

Grandma: “I’m going grocery shopping, Tatum. Grandad asked me to get him some ‘wants’ not just ‘needs.’ What do you think I should buy him?”

Tatum: “Definitely cookies.”

Today marks the start of a new series about five categories of things we crave when we’re reimagining a new chapter. I think they straddle ‘needs’ and ‘wants,’ as we may need them more than we realize, and want them more than we’re willing to admit. They also straddle personal and organizational transitions, so I’d encourage you to read them through both lenses if you sit in both of those spaces.

They fall in different orders of priority depending on your situation, so I am arbitrarily starting with Challenge, as I think it’s the most fun.

In my book ELASTIC: Stretch without Snapping or Snapping Back, I explore the idea that we need to find our zone of optimal elasticity — where we are stretched enough to be engaged and challenged, but not past our breaking point.

Challenge is an area that can easily languish in us from a lack of attention. I find there are three specific ways to re-energize it:

  1. Learning
  2. Nourishment
  3. Adventure

Let’s do a quick check-in on each.

Our pathways to professional and personal development are changing. Formal, multi-year courses are giving way to micro-credentials. We turn to posts and podcasts before papers. Books are giving way to blogs. Influencers are becoming trusted sources of information. In the midst of it all, where and who are your sources of reliable learning that are stretching the edges of your thinking?

What feeds your soul? A big question, I know, but when we fail to replenish the nutrients that truly sustain us, we are highly unlikely to seek out challenge. The status quo can feel like more than enough. But when we are well-nourished, our energy is high and we can take on the world! So I’ll ask you again (personally and organizationally, remember?): what feeds your soul? Go get some of that!

Putting ourselves in contexts that are exciting and fun help us push our usual boundaries. When you think of your last adventure, it might have happened an embarrassingly long time ago. Time to tap into that part of you again! What risks might you be willing to take if you framed them as ‘adventures’ instead? Or how might an adventure in one area of your life remind you of how brave you can be in another area?

I am heading to San Diego this week, for what I hope will be a dose of all three. Solo travel is a welcome challenge for me, and I’m delighted to be back to learning in-person with my colleagues at the International Association of Facilitators Conference of the Americas. It’s a conference focused more on professional development than business development, and I’m confident that connecting with peers will both feed my soul and elevate the quality of my work. More on the importance of Connection next week.

If you’d like to assess where you currently sit on the five cravings of transition, why not try my True for You quiz?

In the meantime, I also want to leave you with a bit of a teaser that I am very excited about. Next week, I’ll be launching the next in my series of Immersive Coaching Experiences (it’s not too late to get in on the first one here) and this one is BIG! So I am priming the pump: inviting you to get ready to consider investing in a learning adventure that will feed your soul. Are you up for the Challenge?

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