Updated: Sep 7, 2020
I have always enjoyed a challenge. I love the idea of doing something hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those competitive people who wants to prove they can do things better than others. I simply like to achieve something I wasn’t sure I could do.
Just this week, I made my first batch of pastry puff. Baking has always been a passion of mine. My mom owned a bakery in Mexico, and every afternoon I helped her make apple pies and cheesecakes - a delicacy for her clientele in the late 80’s. I chose to do pastry puff because I remember both her and my abuelita saying it was a hard, tedious process, requiring lots of patience.
The dough was delicate, and filled with buttery layers, puffing in the oven unlike anything I have ever seen. While my homemade pastries baked in the oven, and filled my house with the smell of warmth and happiness, I smiled, because I did something people said was hard.
After having my daughter, I took up running. I ran track in high school, and quite honestly sucked at it. But I found I quite enjoyed my early morning runs because they focused me for a long day ahead. As I started to increase my mileage, I remember a friend saying that running was hard, and she could not understand why people ran long distance races. So I signed up for a half marathon. It took months of training, and a my daughter to bringing chilled Gatorade and ringing cowbells to encourage me.
"Doing something challenging is scary and exciting. For me, hearing something is hard increases my curiosity and drive to achieve it."
When I crossed the finish line of my first Half, I smiled, because I did something people said was hard.
The point here, is that doing something challenging is scary and exciting. For me, hearing something is hard increases my curiosity and drive to achieve it. Sometimes challenges fall on your lap in the form of a project or assignment at work. But more often than not, the plum assignments we hear about, aren’t going to be handed to you, you’ll have to search them out or create your own by identifying an opportunity and going after it.
My advice is to search out challenges outside of work as much as you do at work. It’s about building your personal brand, your identity, and the foundation for a balanced life - so when something doesn’t go as planned in one area of your life, you are still fulfilled in another.
If I can master the art of pastry puff and running a half marathon, surely you can do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and is incredibly rewarding - much like eating my homemade pastries.