This article was initially written for those of you who have followed my work over the past couple of decades. Whether you are reconnecting with me or new here: Welcome! I hope you find The Challenge Chronicles helpful as we navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex world.
Some time ago you indicated an interest in my work by working with me as a client or student, or member of the Heart and Soul of Coaching Community. And then…I went away.
Life called me – or, if I tell the truth – pushed me into a period of non-stop, ongoing, unremitting challenge.
(Don’t you love when that happens?)
In the space of four years, four family members passed, including my younger brother, Mark – a runner, who dropped dead of a massive coronary while training on a treadmill – a scant 18 months after our father passed.
If I tell you my world tilted on its axis ….that would be an understatement.
My brothers and I had been working to get our family home of 40 years emptied, rehabbed and marketable, and to maintain a rental property we inherited. Living, as we did, spread out from Virginia to Arkansas required handling the properties long distance, adding layers of complexity (or…one might say “challenge”) to the situation.
Just three weeks before Mark died, and six months into a dizzying round of medical consults and tests, I received a confirmed diagnosis that I had contracted a little known and often fatal disease known as MAC.
As I mentioned above…it has been a season of challenge.
And – there IS an upside: This little love tap from Life propelled me into an immersive study of what it means to meet challenge. To face challenge over and over again. To live with chronic ongoing challenge as well as a series of unrelated challenges, one after another.
My little meander down Challenge Lane? Has changed me in ways I could not have imagined, and catalyzed a discovery process leading me to a radically different perspective on challenge.
Where I’ve landed – so far – is in a bone-deep belief we have an old cultural narrative about challenge that really needs to change.
The old story? Is not just damaging; it can be lethal. Simply stated, it tells us challenge is something to overcome.
Like me, you may find it notable that combat and conquer are among the synonyms for overcome.
This narrative that has shaped most (all?) of us mandates we combat and conquer challenge. This means gearing up, armoring up and going to battle.
Which….yes…we can do. From time to time. Occasionally, perhaps. BUT – as a steady, daily diet? As an unconscious default? Not so much.
When you consider the complexity of today’s world and the rate at which Life calls us to assimilate change? We are, arguably, living with more challenge than ever before. Or – at the very least – we’re experiencing a host of new and emerging challenges that won’t be resolved by yesterday’s approaches and mindsets.
We simply can NOT thrive or create when all of our internal resources are spent fighting to overcome challenge. This approach is bankrupting us – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
What this means, I believe, is that it is essential for coaches, leaders and culture shapers to lead the way in dismantling this old story and co-create a new one. Bottom line: We can NOT do what we are here to do if we continue to operate from within that old overcome, combat and conquer perspective. We can’t usher in the new while living from the old.
This continued attempt to function from within the old story? Isn’t working now and I don’t expect things to improve any time soon – at least not with regard to our ability to meet challenge without tearing ourselves and each other apart.
If this resonates for you, stay tuned. I am working on a series of articles sharing what I’ve been learning and assimilating in my own life around moving into a new and intentional narrative… one that helps us do it differently. Live it differently. And in so doing, build capacity and decrease energetic drag in our interactions with challenge.
Thank you for reading this far. Please know how much I value your interest and attention, and our connection. I hope you will join me in co-creating a new story around challenge, one that gives life instead of compromising it.
In support of the contributions only you can bring to this world,