For the last couple of Mondays I’ve shared lessons from the Road & Squash court. For some reason that is where I seem to find myself in reflection almost effortlessly. Perhaps the reason is that it is those two places I, in a sense, disconnect from the usual bustle. Have you noticed places where you easily can disconnect and reflect? I think it is those kind of places where complexity ceases to be daunting. Productivity takes on a new face when we’re in environments that encourage it. Sometimes changing my environment has made significant difference between getting things done and the adverse. At other times it hasn’t been a location but a time of the day… I learnt more than one thing last week, but I’ll highlight something I learnt from (you guessed it!) a squash match I played.
I won the match I played. I was glad for the win but was not ecstatic. It was a win but not as challenging as I would’ve liked. I prefer winning to losing but I realized something; I don’t just like winning but I like winning with a challenge. There is something about a challenge that makes winning all the more sweeter. The lesson I learnt was the importance of challenge…
One of the reasons why people may feel unfulfilled is that they don’t feel challenged enough! I tend to feel cheated or like I’m the one cheating when I don’t get a ‘fair challenge’ (whatever that means). After all that is the idea of a match. Perhaps one of the reasons you feel unfulfilled and have somehow lost the zest for your undertakings, work etc is that you’ve ‘outgrown’ your challenge! An obvious remedy would be to seek or ask for more challenge. As a leader, you may want to review the challenges you give your team members. Some blatantly ask for more challenge and others more subtly. The important thing is discernment on how they do it, which can be enhanced by knowing your team members. (Knowing those you lead is an invaluable resource for any leader.)
A sign that you’ve out grown some challenges is when your activity becomes mundane, dull or boring. Perhaps you are not as incompetent or ‘weak’ as you thought. It may just be that you have been underestimating yourself. It just could be that you’ve grown more than you think. Could it be that you are ‘under-challenging’ those you lead?
(More on challenges later…)