What is a Personal Challenge?
A personal challenge is to do something that scares the bejeebers out of you. Or it’s a challenge to start a new habit or start a new job, or just flat out start a job. It could be a personal challenge to better your health: quit smoking, exercise more, eat healthier. The possibilities are as varied as the human race. Really, the challenge is open to whatever your interpretation is that will make you better in your own mind.
The only rule is that whatever your personal challenge is, it has to be for you, measurable by you, and dependent on your input toward the goal.
Let me give a few examples of what is and what is not acceptable.
*You are going to write a book because your late grandfather, mother, friend, neighbor, teacher, co-worker or dog always wanted you to. BZZZZZZ – not acceptable! No. You are doing this for someone else. If it’s not something you’ve always wanted, then it’s not your challenge.
*You are going to write a book because you’ve always wanted to write a book! YES! Proceed, this is a perfect reason.
*You and your husband are going to walk every day for 30 minutes because you want to get more movement in your day. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Great idea, but you cannot include others in your PERSONAL challenges. What happens if your husband decides he doesn’t like that challenge and he bows out after the first walk, or he’s sick for a whole week, or he breaks a toe? You based a challenge off of him being there. Chances are you will abandon that challenge.
*You are going to walk for thirty minutes every day because you need more movement in your life. PERFECT! It’s a challenge for you only, therefore, it’s personal. Bonus points if you have an addendum that stipulates foul weather backup plans: “I will walk outdoors for 30-minutes every day. If the weather is too cruddy, I will dance to the radio in the garage for 30-minutes.”
My Personal Challenge
For me, the challenge is to learn it’s okay to write whatever and put it out into the world. This is a struggle for me. If you’ve read my past posts, you know this. Over the next 28 days (yes, Feb. 2020 has 29 days – but 28 sounds better) I will produce a new blog post on whatever strikes my fancy. No fears. At the end of this challenge, I hope to free myself of my fears and learn how to write what I like while imparting helpful information.
My Previous Method of Blogging
When I started blogging in 2018, I posted whatever. That whatever included a rant that I didn’t like. It wasn’t some evil rant, I didn’t post names, I didn’t swear, but it was a rant nonetheless and I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t like putting that information out in the world.
Then I decided to be professional. After researching, it appeared the only way to be professional and successful with my blog was to find a niche.
And that’s when things went haywire.
I thought I had to write about things I knew. At that time it was parenting – although my kids were little so I really couldn’t say that I was parenting well (I mean, let’s face it, it’s hard to judge until you’ve gotten them graduated and out on their own – side note: I did something right – they have all graduated and they all have jobs; the oldest has his own place the twins are in dorms attending college).
Oh right, back on track. I knew about customer service, I held many jobs all based around customer service and I received great annual reviews. So I figured that would be a good niche. But I was deeply involved in learning about writing in all its forms: Fiction, nonfiction, freelance, copywriting, etc….
What I Knew, Wasn’t New
All that I knew about customer service was the tried-and-true basics. You can’t go wrong when you follow the basics of anything. I swear by that. Unfortunately, that’s about one blog post: Basic Customer Service Tips
I figured I wanted to write so I should probably write about writing:
This attempt led to varied posts. Posts like Hop Aboard and Go Or..., The Best Strategies for Accomplishing Writing, and Job Scoop. These weren’t anything special, maybe the job scoops, those were fun to write. But Fiona Quinn was already doing a great job interviewing people in posts like Military and Police Dogs – Information for Writers. I didn’t feel like I had the same finesse.
As for writing posts in general, um, there are a gajillion sites on writing. Personally, I didn’t feel I had anything special to add. Again, I’m a basics gal. I enjoyed reading about writing, but not so much writing about writing. So I figured I’d try writing about reading for a writing standpoint, which produced a few Point of View book reviews like: POV Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and POV Review: Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand. But again, I felt off writing about my views.
A New Discovery
I learned that some of my favorite posts are the ones where I share information that can be helpful to others. This information is varied. All these pieces have come from my desire to learn or my belief that we all need some tough love encouragement.
*I wrote Best Beginner C25K Training Plans when I wanted to run a 5K. Let me be clear, I wanted to run a 5K safely, without injuring myself.
*I wrote Exercise on a Tight Budget because I didn’t want people to feel stuck. I wanted to encourage others that exercise doesn’t have to mean expensive equipment, over-priced matchy-matchy workout gear, costly pantry makeovers, and pricey gym memberships. Again, back to the basics.
*Lessons Learned from Watching True Crime Shows, stemmed from my binge-watching way too many true crime shows. I felt the need to warn others that everyone wants us dead and that if anyone dies we’re the suspects. I’ve since taken a true-crime hiatus. And I now watch one show at a time, thereby reducing my anxiety. So life isn’t so terrifying anymore.
*Warnings About Free Courses stemmed from a few courses that left a bad impression. The problem is if the free course isn’t filling the answer, it’s not free. You paid with your time and your email for a marketing ploy that promised you’d learn something but didn’t deliver that information. It was regurgitated schlock meant to lure you in and then offer the “Paid” option with never before heard information. There are people who do the free thing right and I support them 100%. And because they didn’t waste my time, I ended buying an item or course or mentoring from most of them. I feel strongly that we can help others by giving away good free information and offering paid stuff as well. Kind of like Yoga With Adriene. She offers full yoga courses online for free and she’s thriving.
*The tough-love, honest, you-don’t-want-to-hear-it-but-you-need-to approach works best for me. And I believe there are many others who need that approach as well. This is why I wrote: 33 People Who Prove We Are Responsible for Our Own Success – basically, the “I don’t want to hear a wimpy excuse on why you feel held back, you can do it” motivational post. Plus my favorite Kick-Ass Cheerleader posts on responsibility and being the best.
What I’m Hoping to Learn from This Challenge
I hope to learn the world won’t end if I don’t fall into a healthy niche. That I can still be happy and grow my blog sharing whatever I learn whether it be a running program, a new app that has made my life a little easier, or a random piece of information that sparked a little joy solely because I learned about it.
The next big take-away is that I hope to share information in a helpful manner. I love encouraging others. It brings me joy to remind others they are worth something. Make no mistake, I’m not in the “blame other people boat”, because the only way we can succeed is by our actions and our thoughts. We can’t control others. So row away from those that make you feel less than successful, the lone open waters are more encouraging than a blood-sucking Negative Nelly.
Join Me – Create Your Own Challenge and let me know hoe to encourage you on that journey.
Today, I learned that I really have a thing for the basics. Building a strong foundation to hold the rest is clearly important to me.
I also rediscovered a love of letting lose and sharing whatever I thought.
What challenge would you create for yourself? Think about. Now create it and do it! Because you can.