I want to start off this post with a quick explanation: I define challenging opportunities as those who might be defined as challenging to work with. Therefore, those whom many of us try to avoid; individuals that you know will cause drama, challenges, throw-up barriers, along the way; those who just enjoy butting the system; those who are the loudest vessels but are the emptiest and do least of amount of work; those who bring no value to the table or contributions to work; those who seek glory and do very little, etc. Ok, I am done.
When I worked for an organization where I managed 100+ volunteers, I quickly learned that not everyone will play nice, help, or support the greater mission or the work we were trying to accomplish. When people would ask me publically about my work and in a small community, it is somewhat noted who is more challenging to work with, I would get asked how projects, committees, events, etc. were going and how it was going working with so many diverse people? Well, I had to find a polite and professional way to share my experiences. So here is what I have learned:
· Everyone can be a challenge at times and that includes me. I know that I can be passionate but I can also compromise, lead, and communicate to help come to a solution. But I won’t hide from the fact that I can be a challenge to others at times.
· Challenging opportunities: I would use this phrase to describe my work at times and those I worked with. I could see (or try to find) the good in each person and I would work to find out their passion, skill set, what was driving their actions, etc. I had to figure out what each person brought to the table, then I could figure out what volunteer work they would enjoy most. Because if they enjoyed their work, they would do good work. This was a challenge at times and I failed at times. BUT, I learned from each experience. I grew from each failure and success. I tried to find ways to grow from each of these challenging opportunities.
· I would often reply to question listed above in paragraph two as following, “Work is going well, busy and I have the opportunity to be challenged each day with diverse people and activities. I learn something new each day.” I truly do. I think being reflective of myself in situations and also others, helps me to evaluate if I was successful or what I can do to help that person better in the future.
· Challenging Opportunities define us: I argue that they really do! It shows people what you are made of! Are you made of courage, hard work, growth and leadership or do you pass the buck, undermine or undercut others, and show defensiveness? Saying your sorry is hard and is even harder to say you’re sorry on the behalf of others (when we cannot control what others do or you are in a position of leadership and handle all the problems). If you take the high road, the professional road, you will benefit personally and professionally and so will the organization and others that you work with. (This is pretty much taking accountability for your own actions and others).
Being able to work with challenging people and challenging experiences, provides us with the confidence to work with a very large and diverse group of people, and hopefully succeed with them. A majority of what we do in life, involves others (committees, teams, office staff, etc.). A majority of us have to be able to co-exist, work, live, etc. with other. If you encounter challenging opportunities in your everyday life or professional life, I encourage you to be challenged. Why not grow from it?