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Sacrifices and Challenges – Something’s Gotta Give

Making the Sacrifice

Sometimes having the yes attitude means you need to sacrifice. Our time is limited on this earth so we best make good use of it. It’s so easy to become sidetracked and distracted from our course of direction. Others in our lives will not have the same vested interest in our success. That’s ok. They don’t need to. However, we need to decide if these folks are hindering us from achieving our goals or purpose. If they are, then we need to decide if we should limit our contact with such persons.

Career coach Marty Nimko often refers to the risk vs. reward scenario. In whatever endeavor we choose we want to ask ourselves if the risk, and in this case we could apply this risk to our hindering associates, worth the reward? If the answer is yes, we may want to take the risk. If we without hesitation know the reward is not worth it, as in this will be an obstacle to me in getting where I want to be, then we may want to let go of the risk or at the very least minimize it.

On the surface, it may appear selfish and maybe even downright mean. Maybe it is. But that’s where the sacrifice comes in. In any endeavor worth pursuing we will need to let go of something in order to gain something. That’s the basic rule. We’ll need to sacrifice time. We’ll need to take time away time from other activities to pursue another.

Then there is the sacrifice of effort. We’ll need to put in the sweat equity before we reap the benefits. And as we continue along our path we’ll need to make choices on how we spend our time and our resources and often these decisions will involve sacrificing something along the way.

Facing Challenges

Sometimes the challenge presented forces you to rise up. That’s a good thing and one we shouldn’t try to avoid. Here’s a small example. I’m gave a training recently on how to work with paralegals within our work group. The presentation is based on an older set of foils which to me seemed out of synch with the objective today. So, this forced me to “tweak” the foils a bit to make the presentation more practical and real. Maybe that’s more of self-imposed challenge, but I had to rise up to meet it nonetheless.

Another challenge in this is that my manager reviews the foils prior to each presentation and will often tweak it to her satisfaction. In the end, I may be working off a foil set that isn’t even my original thoughts! Cool. I can adapt. More often than not, that’s what we wind up doing in life. Adaptation is key to meeting a challenge.

We may find we often choose to avoid facing challenges. But doing so has the effect of basically keeping us from moving ahead in a given situation. The challenge may be a conflict of some sort, maybe with another person or a personal dilemma we’d rather avoid. But avoiding does not make the problem go away. So, we end up putting it off until we’re forced to deal with it – and often then we don’t deal with it properly.

So I say, instead of having the avoidance attitude, develop the proactive pattern of nipping it in the bud as it were.

Many challenges we confront are made bigger in our heads. In our minds, we blow upthe difficulty or allow ourselves to freeze on it. If we take some time to think it through and start making a plan of action it seems to knock down some of that “impossible to overcome” feeling.

Sometimes too, we may attach too much validity to other’s perceptions and may allow their fears to become ours. Again, we need to check ourselves. When everyone’s going crazy, wildly speculating on what to do and how the problem is too big, step back and take a deep breath. Calm your thoughts for a moment and begin the process of thinking clearly on the situation. Then, do something.

Whatever it is, do something in the direction of fixing the problem. That will be the first step in overcoming the challenge. And the other steps will naturally follow. It seems when others see you take that first step, they’re more inclined to step up and assist too. Before long, what seemed like an insurmountable mountain is reduced to a molehill, manageable and doable.

It’s not easy to think this way. If our natural inclination is to shrink back or let others handle it, our first reaction is going to be to run! So, we need to consciously be aware of our activities throughout the day and look for opportunities to train ourselves to think and act before panicking and running the other way.

And it can easily start with small things so we can build up our tolerance so to speak. For example, we can look around the house. What appliance have we left un-repaired? Or, what area have we neglected to organize because we told ourselves we didn’t have the time? Is it that pile of mail on the kitchen table? Maybe the laundry we haven’t folded or stack of books in the corner? The point being we may not be doing some small things simply because we’ve made it a bigger challenge in our mind. But we know once we get into it, it’s not as big as it seemed.

Life is full of sacrifice and challenges. It’s up to us to make the best of these. We owe it to ourselves don’t you think?

© Marc Townsend

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