If you’re in business, you’ve been challenged. An understatement for sure, but the challenges of having a business are, in a way, one of the perks. How can I equate challenges with perks? Because the challenges we complain about most, or at least loudest are, in the end, the ones that give us the edge. The challenge about challenges is the delusion that they’re bad.

Wow! You have to think about that one. The challenge about challenges is the delusion that any challenge is bad! The word challenge means, according to Webster, “A call or summons to engage in any contest; as of skill, strength, etc.” The thesaurus defines challenge as, “To confront, face head-on, brave. Things that are actions and movement-oriented.”

Many of us see a challenge as a problem, a difficulty, something unpleasant.

That very well could be the case, but a challenge can also be something exciting. It all depends on how we choose to look at it – just like life.

Owning a business presents us with many challenges to confront, face head-on, and be brave about. It’s a challenge to keep clients current and up-to-date, it’s a challenge to keep the team motivated and focused, and it’s a challenge to make sure your product is produced on time and within budget. The challenges continue, but so does the evolution.

The challenges of business can also produce the most innovative and brilliant solutions. When you realize how important it is for people to know what’s going on both internally and externally, you can put systems in place to provide information, and sometimes in very creative ways. Your team wants to feel like a team, and by enlisting their help you can develop strategies and plans to handle any challenges that develop.

We are living in a time of great ideas and limitless access to knowledge. The challenges we face make sure we stay on the thinking edge. If we want to excel and prosper we have to grow, and that involves overcoming challenges.

When things are going well, why should we change? The goal, it seems, would be to get systems in place and the team in line so a person could take a much-needed break once in a while. But, what if instead, a person embraced the challenges and took breaks during and around the challenges, so that critical thinking can occur?

If we thought of challenges as the fun part, we could approach how we deal with them in a positive way, instead of the usual “How do we deal with this?” that usually accompanies a challenge.

A new person joined our team recently and, to tell you the truth, I’ve been in a major challenge mode and not handling it very well. I sat down with this very accomplished woman and said, “Mistakes aren’t bad things if we learn from them.” I felt good about saying it and I believe it too. Dealing with the mistake, however, was less appealing than the philosophy behind it. Adding another person to the team brought unforeseen challenges that I had considered but had not really been prepared for. It continues to present new challenges but it has also brought many more blessings that stretch all of us further than we thought we would go. This is a good thing.

I’ve been hearing a lot about how in this current economy, we all have to do a lot more with a lot less, and how stressful that can be. Okay – but it’s also the best time for creativity, and the hottest way to streamline and tone up. It’s all in how we choose to look at the circumstances. The challenge of this economy is the delusion that it’s bad. No one promised us that life would be without challenges, but wouldn’t that be boring anyway?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be challenged than bored. These are challenging times, exciting times, and times to be creative. Aren’t you glad you’re in business right now?

(c) Copyright Shawna Schuh, 2004. All rights reserved.

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