So, how do you define a challenge?
Over these past few years, some of mine have been tangible and specific. Here are three for you.
With a crippling fear of heights, I challenged myself to do Go-Ape and completed the whole course! The certificate of completion made me SO proud.
Starting my own civil funeral celebrancy business 4 years ago, as a person who was previously terrified of giving presentations in front of others and could barely say my name and the dreaded "what I did" around a large table of new colleagues. I have stood in front of anything from 1-350 people at a hugely important and never-to-be-repeated occasion to manage the whole ceremony.
The final challenge was to move 500 miles away from Cambridgeshire to the Highlands, bringing fresh challenges. The crippling missing of loved ones and a new and strange house that needed to be brought back to life with love and care (uninhabited for two years, full of the reminders of nine cats and their detritus) with more than a few problems of its own.
18 months later and my business hasn't taken off so I've had to challenge myself with new work that makes me happy (still a work in progress), we have made some lovely new friends, precious visitors still come and stay with us and the house has come on leaps and bounds.
The biggest challenge I face constantly is the management of my own mental health. An aspiring writer, I have challenged myself to write a best-seller and have entered myself into a national competition.
I've tried (and failed) at some new positions but been brave enough to go for them in the first place and give them time. I've joined new clubs and still trying new things - Scottish Country Dancing and Pole Dancing sadly didn't work out but I am still doing art, badminton and writing.
Within the next five years, I'd like to have another business and also sing in a band (even if it's just for one gig).
As for my mental health... well that's another story. However I have learnt that the power of positive thinking for myself is a bit of a battle... but then I go back and think of some of the stuff I have overcome and I feel very proud. And then it can take me as little as trying to learn how to make a bed properly (with hospital corners) and I'm back to the person who feels anxious, stupid and totally out of her depth in my new role. Waiting to jump ship like the frightened and bedraggled little rat that I feel deep down inside. And then my inner lioness growls a reminder that she's still there... licking her wounds, ready to face the world again with just the merest hint of a swagger... and I give in to her.
Liz (part rat/part Lioness)
A Moodscope member.