Challenge Yourself

You’re a few months into your new position and the day ahead is feeling very ordinary. You say hello to Jonny on your way in the door, get your coffee and daily tasks, and settle in for a day’s work.

But the truth is, you’re bored. Very bored.

Things were interesting when you first started out. There were new systems to learn, working out what was expected of you, and lots of new people to meet and get to know. But now you’ve met everyone, you understand the basics, and the challenge has faded. Now there’s just the day-to-day routine, and that’s not half as much fun as you were expecting.

A job becomes more than just a pay check when it is enjoyable. If your job isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, don’t sit back and wait on your company to do something about it. There are certain changes that you can make to improve your own career satisfaction.

Introducing your own challenges at work will not only improve your career performance, but also provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your skills and future career prospects. By adopting this approach in your current role, you will gain valuable skills and experience that can transfer into your next position when you’re ready to move on.

So now, if you are convinced and you want to make your time at work more interesting, read these 4 ways to Challenge Yourself at Work.

Learn Something New

Whether it’s for work or personal reasons, there are learning opportunities all around us. Studies have shown that whenever something new is learned, it ignites new pathways in our brain.  Just like you can train your body to run an 8-minute mile or do a perfect squat, you can train your mind to remember things more efficiently. Learning new skills helps flex your memory muscles. The simple act of learning something new, and then repeating it, helps improve your overall recall.

Take advantage of learning opportunities to keep up with the changes in your field and reap the advantage of being able to work better instead of harder. As you become the person who others go to for help, your value to your organization grows. Who knows, his could even bring the opportunity for raises and promotions to advance your career further.

As well as being good for your health and for your career, learning can be exciting and rewarding. It could help you to discover unknown potential that you didn’t know you had and allows you to grow your skillset – adding ‘another string to your bow.’

So, the next time you’re sitting around mindlessly scrolling your Facebook feed, think about what you could be doing instead. Google a topic you want to learn about. Visit a new place. Go chat with someone at the coffee shop. Whether you realize it or not, even the simplest everyday tasks can present learning opportunities! You never know what you’ll find when you venture out of your comfort zone.

Face Your Fears

When we’re children, our parents believe in us until we’re able to believe in ourselves. But when we become adults, no one is really cheering us on anymore (at least not as often). We don’t get as much encouragement to do the hard things, like interviewing for a job we’re not sure we’re qualified for, reaching out to a mate for help, public speaking, or asking for a raise.

We are creatures of habit and anything that takes us out of our comfort zone can leave us feeling uneasy.  How many times have you felt a fear of failure, a fear of looking stupid or fear of the unknown?

It is never easy to get over your fears, but when they stop you from doing your job effectively, it’s time to act.  For example, many people fear talking on the phone. They’re worried that they won’t relate to their clients or think they’ll fail or embarrass themselves. If you’re like that and you’re in sales, or rely heavily on phone communication, it’s best to focus on that, acknowledge it and do it every day (all day if possible) for one week. After that week, you’ll have learned more about your company, products and customers, meaning you’ve challenged yourself to change.

Learn the Art of Being Assertive

We can all think of a times when we know we should have spoken up but didn’t, or maybe we were being taken advantage of, but just accepted it.  It could be when your co-worker is not pulling their weight and you are left to pick up the slack, or your boss asks you why your deadline has not been met as expected.  Later we kick ourselves and think ‘if only I had said something’.

A lot of the time we just hold it in, we don’t speak up about our needs or boundaries which can lead to frustration or even anger.  The key to challenging this is learning how to communicate assertively.

When you learn to be more assertive you can advocate for yourself and others learn to respect you more, but importantly you feel better for speaking up.

When you’re feeling concerned about making a certain request, there are a few different ways you might show it. One of them is with the way you phrase the request itself. Hedging phrases like “sort of,” “kind of,” or “technically,” can water down what you’re trying to say–in order to get what you want.

For example, when you say to someone that you’re “kind of done” with a project, you’re not really stating that you are finished with it.

Maybe you begin a request by saying, “I was sort of hoping that you would . . .” hoping that this phrasing will come off more polite. But you might be wrong; This language makes it sound like your request isn’t all that important, or even that you’re not certain it deserves to be granted.

Instead, start your requests more directly. “I need . . .” or “I want . . .” will typically get you much further.  Decision makers in your organization can’t help you unless you state clearly what you need to be successful and explain why it’s so important. Even if they can’t grant what you want that very moment, they may be able to help you out in the future.

Think BIG

One of the most important characteristics that separate the successful people from the unsuccessful is their thinking.  Successful people always choose to think big. They dream big. They imagine themselves playing it big.

When you are looking for a job and you get the chance to work at Google and another small, not-so-famous company, which one will you go for?

For most people, they prefer to go for big companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. as they have big dreams of changing the world.  And people are literally attracted to big thinkers.

Start by making small changes.  Rome wasn’t built in a day; Microsoft began as a backroom business. Richard Branson started his empire using a public phone box as his office.

Everything starts out small. If we are to believe the astrophysicists, then everything around us – the whole Universe – originated from a form smaller than you can possibly imagine. So it doesn’t matter where you are at present because from small beginnings come great things.

Ask for more responsibility, ask for more work. Take five minutes every day to ask yourself how can I do more? how can I add more value,? how can I achieve more? Step up to more challenges, volunteer for more difficult jobs. The more challenges you overcome, the better you will be.

For more tips on how to Challenge Yourself, When Your Job Isn’t Challenging You, read JobHero article here.

Carly Isaacs