Word-Of-the-Week #776: Challenge

June 25, 2019 by  

Challengesomething new and difficult which requires great effort and determination.

Do you LOVE a good challenge? Or do you tend to dread it? When was the last time you felt determined to do something new or difficult? How long did it take you to handle the challenge?

I found this in the USA Today by Ken Fisher, Female executives offer some career advice to younger women: ‘Leave the comfort zone.’

“With the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death approaching, this Mother’s Day was wistful. She would have turned 100 in weeks.

Mom grew up tough in southwest Arkansas. Pre-Great Depression, before penicillin, where railroads and river shipping reigned. She married my father during World War II, moved west and never looked back.

Honoring her memory, I asked top women at my firm what advice they would give women seeking to fulfill their vision of life. 

  • Don’t settle for comfortable

Jill Hitchcock, a 20-year veteran, who heads our national Private Client Group, offers this advice: “Run toward the things that scare you, especially early in your career.

Too often, I see associates, especially women, seeking ‘comfortable’ roles instead of what really challenges them to build new skills,” she said. “Don’t close doors opting for comfortable or known roles that play to skills you have; move toward roles that build skills you don’t have.”

Carrianne Coffey, also 20 years at my firm, who runs our comparable overseas group, echoed this: “Feeling role-comfortable creates mediocrity and stagnation. Get a comfortable bed, some good sheets — then leave the comfort zone when you wake in the morning.”

She adds, “Be direct about your aims.” Her favorite advice comes courtesy of her older brother: “If you don’t ask for it, some other jerk will.”

  • Don’t expect to have all the answers

Take time to breathe and reflect, says Laurine Garrity, our global marketing head.

“Don’t expect to have all the answers early in your career,” she says. “I often see young adults seriously stressed thinking they need a long-term career roadmap. Life is unpredictable. You need to be flexible and resilient. So find out what you enjoy, what challenges you — then learn from those experiences and build on them. Over time, with work and self-reflection, you should land in a good place.”

Lane Jarvis, our human capital tsar, stressed avoiding burnout.

“Take care of your health. Don’t prioritize work over taking care of yourself. It will make you better and healthier so you can work longer.”

This week’s focus is on challenges. When was the last time you had your abilities tested? How did it make you feel? Does it make you more determined and want to put forth the extra effort?

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

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