Challenges is what drives most people, it’s what keeps us engaged. I’m one of those people, but I like really difficult challenges. I’m not talking about a challenging task at work, or having to deal with a particularly difficult person. I’m talking about being over my head where every day is a challenge, where I feel I need to be on my toes all the time and if I drop the ball I could get fired kind of challenge.
The Marissa Mayer type of challenge (someone I highly admire); she left an executive position at Google to become the next CEO of Yahoo in 2012. I bet every morning she wakes up thinking that everything she does that day needs to count and at night before going to bed hoping that this isn’t her last week on the job. Image that thrill.
When you feel like your job’s on the line, you do what ever you can to learn as much as possible as fast as your brain is able to absorb it. You try to improve processes to ease your job. Every task you do is an adventure in itself. You quietly walk out of meetings with new terms you need to look up to get ahead. Yet throughout all this struggle you keep your cool and tell yourself you deserve to be here because you’ve earned it.
Now that’s a challenge.
The best part is when your boss comes along after a few months of struggle and says nice job. Not that you were fishing for complements, but gives you that two minutes of release from the pressure you’ve been putting yourself through.
There is no better feeling.