How to Chase Challenges That Will Make You Stand Out

It’s been over a month and I still remember the confusion that settled in when it was over. I scrolled down, then up, and down again before it registered that the tiny number on the screen meant I’d passed. Months of studying and weeks of stress, ended, just. like. that.

It wasn’t until I was outside on the phone with my mom that it hit me: I did it! This feels amazing!

Hello my darling readers! I fell off for a few weeks to do what I’m writing about now – chasing challenges.

As a big fan of the daily routine, this is one disruption I’ll encourage you to add into your schedule. The point of simplifying the day-to-day is to save your energy for the most important things – like bigger and better goals.

My most recent achievement is becoming a WELL Accredited Professional. WELL is a new initiative focused on creating healthier indoor environments, with many ties to the green/sustainable building movement. While separate from my architecture license (the next big goal), my early entry into this field makes me a resource and provides an opportunity to expand my knowledge within my field.

At first, I studied for an hour here and there. By the last week before the exam, it was the only thing I did aside from work and work out. (Shout-out to Boyfriend for making sure I also ate & slept.)

If you’re fresh out of school and at the beginning of your career, this is a great way to give yourself a jump-start. If you’ve been at it for a few years, this will break you out of a rut. Here’s how you can get started as a goal digger:

Step 1: Seek Out New Education/Opportunities

We all have interests that we’d love to pursue, so ask yourself: Can I apply this to my career? Thanks to e-courses, there’s an endless supply of options to explore. If you’re curious about a specific topic, I recommend browsing the free & paid courses at Udemy. You can also check your college website – many schools now offer free modules online. If you’re feeling more invested, Lynda is an awesome paid resource.

Step 2: Commit to a Date

Like I said in my earlier post on goal-setting, deadlines matter. Without a target date, you can’t measure progress and won’t schedule the time you’ll need to set aside for developing your new skill. Whether it’s scheduling an exam or setting a date to complete a course/project, make it realistic and build a schedule to meet it.

Pro tip: Let your social life take the biggest hit. If you have physical activity built into your routine (a daily walk/bike ride/gym session), stick to it. Happy hour will be there when you’re done.

Step 3: Share Your Plans

If you’re planning on a career switch, it may be best to skip this step and keep your explorations under wraps at the office. However, if you have friends with similar interests or goals, reach out and see if they want to partner up. While everyone learns differently, having a partner is great if you need an extra layer of accountability.

Step 4: Use Your Resources

When I was studying, I created audio files for myself so that I could listen at work. This fit right into my daily habit of listening to podcasts all day. Build new skills by incorporating them into familiar parts of your day. You’ll become comfortable with the subject matter without having to turn your day upside down. If it involves equipment you don’t have, try borrowing from a friend or check out used items to get yourself started. Expense is negotiable, and shouldn’t stop you from learning something if you really want to do it.

Step 5: Share Your Accomplishment!

Don’t be shy about sharing the positive things you’ve done to expand your skill set. Posting a new skill to your social networks will attract positive attention & encouragement. Sharing your excitement with friends is not rude, and it’s not the same as bragging. Be proud of yourself – you never know who you’ll inspire to chase their own challenges.

Now it’s your turn – leave a comment and share what your next goal is and how you’re attacking it.

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