Some Challenge is Good but Overchallenge Brings Chaos

I am a firm believer that having challenge in our lives is healthy and helps us to stretch and grow. Without it everything would certainly become stagnant and we would just rest on our laurels taking everything for granted.

It’s amazing how we tend to welcome and prefer those people, situations and things that are in agreement with who we are and what we do but walk away from or close our eyes to those we feel uncomfortable or even fearful around.

Seeing the clarity beyond

I don’t know about you but I can definitely say that the times I have felt uncomfortable or fearful were those times that preceded great insights and leaps forward. They were times where I broke through limiting beliefs and conquered my inner monsters. They were times where I grew an inch or two.

And yet is is also true to say that prolonged periods of nothing but challenge daunted my spirits and had an adverse effect on me. They were times where I began to doubt my ability to turn a situation around, where I lost belief in myself as a capable person and where I thought I was unworthy of love.

Today when I look at how I deal with challenge, one thing has become clear to me. I love to take a challenge as I know that it is offering me a unique opportunity to learn something valuable about myself and I know that they very fact it has presented itself means I have the ability to deal with it.

But it is not always immediately apparent why the challenge has manifested. I trust in the process and remind myself to go with the flow, taking a deep breath and surrendering to what is.  However, the path can be very rough and I can lose sight of my focus and bring myself off target. That’s when the chaos ensues.

It’s a bit like going into labour. As long as my mind remained clear and I stayed completely focussed on the breath, my discipline and trust carried me through. Whenever I became briefly distracted and lost my sense of purpose, that’s when things got painful and I lost sight of the end goal, doubting myself and getting drawn into panic and fear.

I’m sitting here at the end of another day, looking back at the challenge I faced today and thinking about where the silver lining was in it all. It was a day of challenge, in fact overchallenge.

I spent hours and hours on something which ought to have been relatively straightforward and easy. Contrary to my expectations I was faced with a situation that totally stretched me and continued to stretch me until I went into overload and didn’t know what to do any more.

The task in hand was installing a widget on WordPress. It seemed straightforward and the instructions looked clear….however when everything was in place, I kept getting an error message I didn’t understand. I had set intention to have my double optin on my page for readers to subscribe to my newsletter. And the free gift was my first voice recording.

This was a project I had been thinking and talking about for many years, yes, years. And somehow I just hadn’t found the momentum to sit down and do what I had planned. But two days ago I brought the first step of this plan to completion and recorded a brief introduction to meditation. The next crucial part was publishing it on my site.  Yet here I was today, staring at a major roadblock and just shaking my head.

In the midst of my frustration I vaguely remembered that I was most probably just experiencing huge resistence to doing what I had intended to do and that this was having an effect on the success of my project. And there was a voice telling me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

Well, to cut it short, I was at a loss, feeling very tired, worn out and rather disheartened and was ready to uninstall one widget and swap it for another, although I did have the  sneaky feeling that the error was generally to do with the mechanics of setting up a double opt-in.

But the day was saved when my husband came in and, after a bit of a break, came through and said that I needed a certain code, which he promptly went and got for me. Suddenly everything was working. We ran a test and yes, the email went out as well as the confirmation one with the link to the audio recording. I sat there in disbelief, feeling relieved, exhilirated, dead tired but thrilled that I would still be keeping to the deadline I had set myself.

I recognised that I had totally reached my limits and had been in my realm of incompetence. And what a load of insights that brought me. But that will have to wait for another blog post.

So….my newsletter subscription box is up and running, the audio recording is in place. I have taken another hurdle. And I can go to bed knowing all is well now that I have moved beyond the overchallenge and chaos to the next crossroads.

I’d love to hear how life is challenging you and how you are dealing with it. Do you sometimes feel you are in overchallenge?

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4 Responses to Some Challenge is Good but Overchallenge Brings Chaos

  1. Hi Fiona,
    so true! I love challenges but more often than not I transferred myself into chaos thinking I can do it all at once. The toughest challenge I had to face was when I got promoted to Executive Chef to soon. I made some unpleasant mistakes that made me look very incompetent.. I decided to step back (internally) and learned the basics until I was ready to be fully in charge. In the end, it’s a never-ending learning curve but it’s worth it when you stretch yourself a little more every day.

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Hi Franziska,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I agree, it’s a never-ending learning curve but so worth it. The dawn always lies just a few minutes away from the darkest hour. Stretching and trusting. Great to hear from you!

  2. fiona — love your writing! love that you needed a break — we are all human after all. I get the same way over challenges – so frustrated, but sometimes after a break, it all becomes clear. Rachel

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Lovely to hear from you Rachel. I certainly needed a break and am just a vulnerable as everyone else when situations like this arise. When the frustration comes it’s a sign that the breakthrough is close. It’s important to sit back and have a break and then pick it up again. Nice to have your support. x

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