The Power of Challenge

“Everyone has a plan until they’ve been punched in the face.”

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have an appropriate reason to quote Mike Tyson—but maybe that’s precisely why the phrase “never say never” exists.

A few weeks ago I had big plans for a productive, successful, and fun week. Then I got punched in the face (figuratively). My plans got derailed by a host of events, including a brief hospital stay, an ill nanny, a traveling husband, and a death in my extended family.

That Friday morning, I was due to give a presentation entitled “The Power of Challenge” as a part of a course I’ve been taking hosted by my mentor. Despite the week I’d had, I fully intended to participate in the workshop and deliver my talk. Then, my daughter woke up with a high fever and blisters all over her body. Given the way my week had gone, the irony of my presentation topic was not lost on me as I rocked her in the early morning hours.

Facing any challenge, personal or professional, can result in one of two feelings: (1) you feel like a failure, or (2) you feel successful, even if you do fail. The real power comes from knowing how to feel successful when a setback occurs. For most people, this takes a lot of hard work and practice.

My goal as a coach is to equip my clients with the tools needed to feel successful even when things don’t go as planned. When faced with adversity, my happiest clients master the arts of allocating resources, assessing marginal costs, and choosing the right yardstick.

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As for me, getting punched in the face a few weeks back was a great reminder to practice what I preach. I was able to allocate my resources based on my number one priority: my family. I looked at the marginal costs at stake and chose to decline or reschedule my client meetings and professional obligations, so that I could take care of things at home. And because the yardstick I use to measure my success includes putting family first when necessary, my “failure” of a week was still a success, despite the fact that all my plans went awry.

What about you? When is the last time you faced a challenge and how did you feel once the challenge was over? Post your comments below about how you’ve navigated setbacks. I’d love to know what tools you use to bounce back and feel successful.

About Regan Walsh

Regan Walsh is an executive and life coach from Columbus, Ohio, who helps people craft strategic plans for their lives. She meets with clients all over central Ohio, and connects with them via phone and Skype all over the world.

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