“Show me a goal with no challenge or risk, and I’ll show you a goal with no value or reward.” — Gary Ryan Blair
One of the greatest things about life is that each day, workout, project, task or race provides you with a life changing and character defining choice…
To give everything you’ve got…to push, test and challenge your limits…or to mail it in, lower the bar and sandbag your efforts.
The former is the sign of a champion…the latter is the mark of fool.
Sandbagging is the ultimate form of betrayal as your full potential will never see the light of day.
So what’s it gonna be?
Are you going to live your life wide open and fully engaged, or are you choosing to live it undisciplined, unfocused and uncommitted?
No need to reply, just look at your behavior…
BEHAVIOR NEVER LIES!
We’re all playing a high stakes game of one and done, therefore…
Why not choose to spend each day feeling completely spent…knowing that you gave it all and left nothing behind?
Why not choose to pour your heart and soul into everything you do so that you intentionally end each day on empty?
When it comes to success…no sandbagging allowed.
What’s the point of hesitating, holding backing, and obstructing what you have to give?
Why cheapen, undermine and waste the gift of your potential?
One choice leads you to a feeling of contentment and of great personal pride in being thoroughly used up…knowing that you gave everything and held nothing back.
The other choice leaves you with a deep feeling of resentment, disgust and disappointment in yourself; a sense that you’ve sold-out and squandered a good deal of time, opportunity and potential.
I’m fairly conservative in many areas of my life but conservative does NOT describe how I go about setting goals for myself or for my business.
I’m all in, and go all out…and by the time you get to the last word of this message, I hope to transfer the belief that challenging yourself is a better choice than sandbagging and undervaluing yourself by pursuing easy goals.
We’ll begin with a question and follow it up with some sound reasoning.
When will your finest hour come, and how will it arrive?
Do you really think you’ll experience peak performance and unleash your greatness without a challenge…without your perseverance being tested…without being pushed to your limits, tormented, and put through your own personal hell?
In short, for an individual, team, company, community, or country to become great, they must seek out and rise to the great challenges that are thrust upon them. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!
The Rewards of Rising to a Challenge
“We choose to go…not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy on sending a man to the moon
There is no purer form of success, no more exact and demanding test of what you are capable of, than to face a challenge and find joy in the capacity to meet it.
While we all have different goals and aspirations, we all love and benefit from a challenge — something that inspires us to reach the peak of our potential, jailbreaks us from our comfort zone, and transforms us into a better, far more capable version of ourselves.
The ultimate reason for setting challenging goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.
Why? Because who you become, as well as the traits and skill sets you develop in rising to meet a challenge, are much more important than the nature of the challenge itself.
1. A Challenge Develops Mental Toughness
It’s actually pretty simple. You either rise to meet the mental demands and physical rigors of a challenge, or you succumb to them.
And, because victory begins in the mind, all challenges are initially won or lost between your ears.
The very nature of a challenge sets an appropriate stage for practicing mental toughness, which by definition means a psychological edge that enables one to remain focused and confident during high-pressure situations to perform at one’s full potential.
Mental toughness means bending the body’s software to control its hardware. It works if you’re standing over a putt on the 18th green. It works if you’re presenting to a roomful of people. It works if you’re serving for game, set, and match.
2. A Challenge Stands Down Fear
A challenge is unique in that it immediately engages the fight-or-flight mechanism…and you never know how you are going to react until you are faced with it.
Fear is never a reason for quitting. It’s only an excuse for those unwilling to face their doubts, insecurities, and mental boogie man.
Therefore, your first duty in rising to meet a challenge is to conquer fear and the mental resistance it brings along with it. Get rid of it quickly, or get steamrolled by it.
If you’re ever going to find your greatness, you must decide that what you want is BIGGER and far more important than the fear which prevents you from achieving it.
You must choose to put fear behind you — to stare it in the eye, walk straight through it and advance toward the goal with confidence, conviction, and certainty.
3. A Challenge Inspires Courageous Acts
Courage is the greatest resource you have in rising to meet a challenge. What good is a challenge or a big, ambitious goal if there is no willingness to overcome fear, mental and physical resistance, adversity, or self-doubt?
The conceptual opposite of courage is cowardice. We are therefore confronted with the reality that we either habitually practice courage, or we habitually practice cowardice.
Courage is remarkable in that it takes on the form of every virtue at the testing point.
When courage is tested, it manifests itself in the form of character, initiative, self-control, and responsible behavior.
When cowardice is tested, it presents itself in opposite forms to include bad character, procrastination, excuses, and blame.
“If the goal does not challenge you, it cannot change you.” Gary Ryan Blair
Test your limits…don’t undermine them.
4. A Challenge Tests Your Limits
It is imperative that you accept this reality…
When you rise to meet a challenge, you will never be the same again.
You either cope or crumble. You become better or bitter. You emerge stronger or weaker.
It has to be this way, as a challenge exists to tests your limits, to push you beyond the breaking point, and to separate you from the herd.
You’ll never know the full measure of your potential until you are tested. You can never be sure whether you’ll step up or falter in any given situation.
Passing the tests presented by a challenging goal proves that you are tougher, more resilient, and far more capable than you ever imagined.
5. A Challenge Focuses Attention
A great challenge is like a great romance. It calls for your passion and your devotion, and it demands to be the center of your attention.
Rising to meet a challenge is a form of seduction. It means concentrating your energy and resources on what’s most important…keeping the fire burning!
You do that by making everything count. Everything you think, say, and do must be focused on goal acquisition and on leveraging all available resources.
Focus is best seen as a preemptive strike against mediocrity.
The moment you focus on a challenging goal, your goal becomes a magnet that pulls you and your resources toward it.
The more focused your energies, the more power you generate, and the sooner you will live happily ever after.
6. A Challenge Builds Self-Confidence
Think of a challenge — any kind of challenging goal. Now, ask yourself…what role does self-confidence play in rising to meet that challenge?
The truth is that no mountains can be climbed, no hearts won, no opportunities seized, no books written, no elections won, and no victories enjoyed without self-confidence.
Now think of something you fear — anything that makes you flinch. Ask yourself, what role does self-confidence play in overcoming fear?
Fear is the greatest enemy you will ever face. It impedes your ability to succeed physically, emotional, spiritually, and financially. Fear negatively impacts everything you want to be, do, and have.
The inspired ability to rise to a challenge and climb great heights is directly attributable to your self-confidence. As your challenges build, so does your self-confidence.
7. A Challenge Matures Perspective
Few things in life are capable of radically altering your perspective, but developing the capacity to rise to a challenge not only impacts the size of your results, it transforms your mind and expands your worldview.
It changes everything. The way you walk, talk, and communicate all exude a level of self-confidence and self-assuredness that’s impossible not to notice.
A challenge involves psychological trauma that induces fear, self-doubt, and insecurity, while simultaneously dislodging you from your comfort zone, ultimately bringing about a superior performance.
By taking on a challenge…you are pushing yourself beyond any previously imagined comfort zone and performance standard.
You will be expected to pass tests which tempt you to quit…and you will be required to pay the high price that success demands while entering new psychological waters.
This proof cements in your mind that you are the type of person capable of performing great acts, and that you really can do anything you set your mind to.
8. A Challenge Demands Superior Execution
A challenge has limited value if not overcome, and expecting to get better results from the same old behavior will only succeed in perpetuating your current situation. It will NOT get you to another level of performance.
Great companies, lives, and families are built around extraordinary execution skills.
The better you execute, the better you perform and the bigger the challenges you can take on. It’s that simple.
You must become acutely aware that a challenge has razor-thin margins for error and will not tolerate lapses in judgment or sloppy execution.
It expects you to give it your undivided attention. It calls for profound self-discipline and demands that you execute as if your life and reputation depend on the outcome.
9. A Challenge Calls for an Indomitable Spirit
It is irresponsible to take on a big challenge without the will, heart, and mindset to win it, as nothing can withstand the power of an indomitable spirit.
In your efforts to rise to meet a challenge, you will be buffeted and pummeled. You will be criticized and opposed. You will be attacked and assaulted. You will struggle and fall.
Your commitment will be relentlessly tested, and that is precisely why a challenge calls for an indomitable, unconquerable spirit.
Having an indomitable spirit means that you have the type of spirit incapable of being overcome, subdued, or vanquished.
If you passionately believe that you are up to the challenge and committed to seeing it through to the end, it is your right and responsibility to cultivate an unbeatable mind and enforce your will over the world.
10. A Challenge Empowers Freedom
Freedom isn’t free.
It demands that you roll up your sleeves, jump into the ring and get dirty, sweaty and stinky…but freedom is the ultimate prize for rising to meet the rigorous demands of a challenge.
In virtually every case, the decision to rise to meet a challenge boils down to the desire for greater freedom in one’s life.
This includes freedoms from and freedoms to.
- the monkey on your back.
- self-imposed limitations.
- the opinions of others.
- the shackles of debt.
- self-limiting beliefs.
- the comfort zone.
- settling for less.
- the masses.
- focus on projects you find important.
- succeed or fail on your own terms.
- doodle, wander, and experiment.
- think and dream without limits.
- set and control the agenda.
- showcase your talents.
- set your own schedule.
- say no without guilt.
- love passionately.
- be authentic.
To enjoy these freedoms and bountiful rewards requires that you rise to the challenges life presents or the ones which you present yourself and pay the required price in full, in advance, and without complaint.
Go get’em tiger!
If you enjoyed this post…it would mean a lot to me if you could click on the “claps” icon on the left side of page…up to 50 claps allowed — Thank You!
Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a radical approach to goal achievement that shows people how to achieve 10X size goals by applying the methods and best practices of growth hacking. Get all the details here.