Power Tool: Challenge Vs. Opportunity

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By: Renee Erlich

Leadership Coach, UNITED STATES

“Life offers us neither problems nor challenges, only opportunities.”
Bruce Schneider, Energy Leadership

What is a Challenge?
A challenge is a roadblock preventing forward motion.
Circumstances arise and we may feel constricted, lost, and unsure of ourselves. Often times, people blow a challenge out of perspective and one challenge becomes, multiple challenges.

What is an Opportunity?
An opportunity is something that presents itself with enthusiasm. An opportunity
is a gift that often can only be seen by those with open eyes. We create opportunities. Ideas are sparked from opportunities and opportunities and created from ideas.

Challenge or Opportunity?
To so many, a challenge is a roadblock. It is a difficult predicament to overcome. Considering the challenge an opportunity brings spirit, growth and fulfillment.
Often we do not realize an opportunity stands before us. We are blind to what the potential can be. Challenge can be filled with fear, pain and is often called a problem. So much can be learned from a challenge. Life’s greatest lessons are learned from challenges.

“I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that this is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get.”
“You need to get a life, a real life, a full life, a professional life, yes, but another life, too. School never ends. The classroom is everywhere. The exam comes at the very end. No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.”
Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life

To grow we must challenge the boundaries set by our doubts. We must seek out

1. Can you share three ideas?
2. Can you dream of an alternative way?
3. On another day, in a different circumstance, how would you visualize a positive outcome?
4. Who do you know that can do this? How would they do it better?
5. In a perfect world, how would you want this to work for you?

• Creating a gratitude journal or a gratitude list is a wonderful exercise to realize the opportunities

Shift perspective
Overview: My clients are ambitious leaders who want to grow
Challenge and develop their careers.

a) A challenge or problem brings doubt and fear. Identifying another leader they know can bring clarity.

b) Asking what this other leader would do in this situation could bring a shift.

c) Allowing my client time to consider the challenge an opportunity will bring a shift.

d) Reflection is healthy and brings shift

e) Asking if they see opportunities coming from the challenge can bring healthy shift

Action creates Opportunity
• Brainstorm all of the opportunities as a result of the challenge.
• Setting weekly goals to consider opportunities

• How does a client become freed from the feeling of being challenged to the feeling of opportunity?
• What does opportunity feel like?
• How does growth play a role in this?
• Is there something that motivates a person from fear to opportunity?

Coaching Application
As a coach it is my role to help my clients see their challenges as what they really are; to break the challenges up so they’re easier to process; to ask powerful questions and to understand how the challenges will affect them.

It will be up to my client to reflect and to take the time to naturally shift and recognize the power of self-reflection and therefore realize the opportunity that lies ahead.

• Bruce D. Schneider, Energy Leadership
• Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life