During the last month, I went through two self-imposed challenges: I completed one successfully and withdrew from the other (no second thoughts followed, no guilt either).

Self-imposed challengeI found self-imposed challenges useful to get out of my comfort zone and learn something new (especially about myself). Since I went through quite a few such challenges during the last 13 years, I’ve noticed some similarities. I call them phases:

  1. In Phase 1 there is a mix of excitement (it was my choice!) and nervousness (not being used to it). The former fuels the drive to deal with the latter, so I can continue.
  2. Since some familiarity gets in moving forward, the Phase 2 is less exciting. The nervousness gradually fades away, leaving space to curiosity. I’ve already noticed some learning in Phase 1, so I become curious what else is there for me.
  3. Phase 3 becomes a crossroad: based on what I’ve learned during the previous phases, the challenge’s duration, and my main focus (long term), I decide whether to continue the challenge or not. If the learning is aligned with my long-term focus, I get excited again and look forward to continuing the challenge until the end. If not, I take an inventory of the learning occurred and withdraw from the challenge. I don’t consider dropping off as a failure since it was a conscious choice (that brought some lessons anyway).
  4. What’s going on in Phase 4 depends on the decision made in the previous phase. But one thing I do for sure, I reflect on the lessons learned: what situations from the past could’ve benefit from this learning? where can I use these lessons in the future? what reminders can I put in place to remember them? what new ideas sprang out of this process? where and how I can implement them?

If you went through self-imposed challenges, did you notice the same phases? What was your experience, and what you’ve learned from them?


PS1: Curious about which challenge I chose to continue, and which not? 🙂

  • Completed: 30-day live video on Facebook. Although I didn’t enjoy it much, it was only a month long, and it helped me clarify a lot of ideas regarding self-image and skills I’d like to use more (or less) moving forward. It also eased in the new webinar challenge.
  • Dropped off: Certification program – Organization & Relationships Systems Coaching (ORSC). I’ve decided to drop off after two months, although the intensive program is eight months long, plus 100 hours of coaching practice. I found the original ORSC training very useful, and I was expecting to get more insights aligned with my focus (working with individuals, especially introverts). But how the certification program is structured, it pushes students to work intensively with couples, partnerships, and teams … which will take me away from my focus for another 6 months! So I’ve decided to withdraw from this certification program. No second thoughts followed, no guilt either! On the contrary, I felt a huge relief when I made that decision! (that’s usually a good sign) I will still keep the project I’ve started during this program as a personal project (strengthening the ORSC GTA community of practitioners) since I’d love to be part of a more vibrant community.

PS2: Talking about the new webinar challenge. 🙂

  • I’ve done my first webinar last week, twice. Each time registrants didn’t show up, but I went ahead and did it anyway. I’ve got the video recording, learned what went well and what didn’t, transcribed the video and I’ll use the content in my new book. When life gives me lemons, I made lemonade. Do you? 🙂


4 Phases of Self-Imposed Challenges
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