noun. a call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength; a call to prove or justify something.
verb. dispute the truth or validity of; invite (someone) to engage in a contest.
The global pandemic has been a challenge. The challenge has been complying to lockdown. The way we choose to live our lives has been challenged.
We have been challenged personally and professionally. We have been challenged individually and collectively. We have been challenged mentally, physically and emotionally.
What have we learned from the challenge? How have we grown as a result of the challenge?
Different people respond to different challenges in different ways. As a competitive person I like rising to the challenge, but in areas where I know I can potentially excel. Challenge me in an area out of my experience, my expertise or my comfort zone and I might not be as up for it.
A challenge is a situation we find ourselves in, posed to us by someone else. To receive a challenge is to have an opponent, someone to compete against. Sometimes a challenge is posed by ourselves to ourselves, we compete against ourselves.
Who are we a challenge for? How much do we allow ourselves to grow when a challenge is given to us? How selective are we in each challenges we take on?
A challenge can be learning a new skill or flexing an old one.
“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A challenge can make us look at things differently.
“Challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”.
A challenge I have recently faced is having a lodger, and his partner, trapped in my house with me during lockdown. I have lived by myself for a few years, I love my own company and my own space. Having not one, but two people, in my space, all day every day had its challenges, but we made it work.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on how my lifestyle serves me.
We face challenges day in and day out. We rise to them consciously and sub-consciously. There are challenges with a small c and there are challenges with a big C.
The Challenge is an obstacle or a barrier. It is something bigger than us. It is something out of our control. It is something to fight against.
The Challenge is systemic. It is structural. It is societal.
The Challenge is limiting. It is the double standards. It is the inequities. It is the injustice. It is the missing rung on the ladder. It is the reinforced ceiling.
How aware are we of the scale of the challenges we face? How often do we compare our challenges to the challenges of others? Do we check the privilege of the challenges we face?
The challenges we rise to enables us to learn and grow.
“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits. Each day we must strive for constant and never ending improvement”.
The challenges we overcome empowers us.
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel of the exhilaration of victory”.
The Challenge I am committed to taking on via my work with and for Diverse Educators is the challenge of diversity, equity and inclusion in our school system. The challenges faced by people from diverse backgrounds in our teaching workforce and experienced by the children from diverse backgrounds that we teach, need addressing. The challenges are societal, systemic and structural. The challenges need collective agency.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on my own privilege and I have scrutinised where the power is above and around me.
To be challenged relies on us to be humble. To be challenged requires us to be resilient. To be challenged needs us to be receptive. To be challenged compels us to be vulnerable.
Challenge is a two-way process.
We challenge and we are challenged.
To be challenged can often feel uncomfortable. It invites us to raise our game, to justify our position, to explain our standpoint.
How do we receive being challenge? How do we process being challenged objectively rather than subjectively? How do we not let being challenged get under skin and respond with grace?
To be challenged is an opportunity to win or to learn.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional”.
To be challenged is an opportunity to learn and to grow.
“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation”.
I am challenged by those around me. I invite challenge and I am open to it. I have critical friends who I trust, who I seek challenge from. I am currently going through the branding process for Diverse Educators and I have sought challenge from people in the community to stimulate the creative process.
As a result of being challenged I can see situations from different perspectives.
To challenge takes courage. To challenge takes action. To challenge takes commitment.
We all have the capability and the capacity to challenge the people, the ideas and the things around us. But sometimes it is not our way, or it is not the way the team or the culture around us works.
We need to create cultures where it is safe to challenge. We need to cultivate teams where we can have fierce and courageous conversations that challenge us. We need to create the conditions for challenge being delivered and received in an objective way, where we depersonalise the challenge from the person articulating it, where we can listen to and learn from the challenge.
How do we perceive challenge? How do we challenge others? How do we respond to external challenge?
To challenge is to feel the fear and do it anyway.
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet”.
To challenge is to take a risk, despite the consequences.
“The greatest glory in living, lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Nelson Mandela
To challenge is in my DNA. I ask questions. I ask for detail. I ask for evidence. I ask for reasoning. I encourage people to look at things from different perspectives.
To challenge does not always make you popular, but so be it.
To challenge is to have a voice and to use it. To challenge is to have strong values and to live by them. To challenge is to have a loud, positive inner voice and to listen to it.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on how I have challenged in the past and how I will challenge in the future.
A challenge… The Challenge… To challenge… To be challenged… Each reveals our true character.
How do we reflect on, capture and learn from the growth we have experienced by our resilience being challenged?