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The Gifts of a Challenge

November 9, 2009

One of my favorite newsletters arrived today from Patrick O’Neill, a unique management consultant from Canada. The theme of the newsletter is the essential functions that challenges play in the development of a leader.  He outlines 4 gifts we can receive from challenges:

* They call forward our personal powers – including our gifts, talents, character qualities, fortitude, skills, aptitudes, knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity;

* They help us develop new powers;

* They teach “right application” of these resources; and

* They expose that which requires change or strengthening in our nature or our approach.

He suggests that, “how we respond to a challenge can often tell us more about who we really are than years of contemplation.”

I feel like I am surrounded by talented, experienced colleagues and friends who are feeling discouraged and a bit beat down by the current economy. Both self-employed entrepeneurs and those who took the more traditional career path of a corporate position are being challenged by the current economy.

I personally am seeing the “gifts” play out at Green Impact as the economy and new boom of “green consultants” is pushing me to refine my niche and get more creative and skillful at marketing my services.

I was pondering this morning the fact that we only have 8 weeks left in 2009 and contemplating what my most significant goal for the rest of the year is.  Both professionally, and personally, it is easy to get pulled in so many directions.  I have never been a “niche” kind of gal, but have worked on a wonderful range of issues–land conservation, ecosystem services, program development, cross-sector dialogue, green business, stakeholder engagement and blogging.

If we all need to build our talents and skills and be more creative right now, where are the areas to put our energy? What are the steps to take to help us move forward?

I love these questions, but seem to be stuck answering them.  Do I focus more on my business the next 8 weeks?  Or do I focus less on business and more on my personal pursuits? Or, do I put the list aside and slow down? My list includes the ideas of painting everyday, trying one new activity each week, getting a cardio workout everyday, volunteering more and updating my web site.

What is on your list to accomplish before 2009 ends that can move you toward your goals?

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