Why we need challenge AND support to grow

It’s no surprise to me that as a highly-sensitive introvert with internal cycles, my energy varies… and the idea of support is appealing, but… challenge? I wasn’t so sure; let me tell you why. 

Maybe your energy varies too, and so you’ll know that having high energy at the start of an exciting new thing, doesn’t mean you’ll have enough energy to get all the way to the end. 

And if there’s one thing guaranteed to bring on self-doubt, it’s not finishing things you start. 

So here are my top tips for building and maintaining self-belief through the ups and downs of your energy cycles…

1. You don’t have to finish everything. 

I know this sounds the exact opposite of what I said two lines ago, but here’s why. Not everything you started was the right thing to do. And not everything you started is relevant to you anymore. So you can choose to let them go. Books, projects, knitting WIPs, half-written blogs… they can all go if they’re not right for you now… and, psst… no-one need every know!

2. 10 horses, one arse! or… not everything needs doing by you. 

A very timely email from Steven Watson of 27and a half has just arrived in my inbox to remind me of this very thing (Steven is all about time management and his monthly emails are well worth signing up to if you have just a little space in your inbox!) 

What did you start that you can now pass on to someone else? (my half-knitted projects go to my mum, who finishes them in record time!) 

What tech or processes do you need to put in place? (I’m increasing the amount of automation I use, so that all my best energy is right here for my clients) 

Who can you talk in all through with, to get some real clarity? (if you’ve not tried it yet, my Time to Think coaching hours are perfect for this – hit reply to find out more) sihYou don’t have to do this on your own. 

3. The right balance of challenge AND support

I always have a coach / mentor as I grow my work; it’s defintely become an essential in my business budget! Finding the right one isn’t easy though, and here is just one of the reasons why… the balance of challenge and support that we each receive has to be just right for us to grow. Of course this doesn’t have to be about coaching, you could apply it to parenting, friendship… and the way you talk to yourself too!

Challenge & support model, showing the axis of low to high challenge and low to high support. Low challenge, low support = disinterest, apathy. Low challenge, high support = too comfortable, low growth. Low support high challenge = high pressure, stress. High challenge, high support = engagement & growth.

Too much support, without challenge, can lead to… pffff, I don’t need to bother.

Too much challenge, without support can be incredibly stressful and undermining, and potentially lead to mental health problems.

Not enough of either can lead to… very little. Which (see above) can dent your self-belief hugely.

A balance of both is genuinely what leads to the shifts that truly grow self-belief, the real changes.

I’ve seen all of these play out at various times; I bet you have too, and I know that when it comes to self-talk, we can often bring too challenge and almost no support; so if I had one big question for you this week it would be…

🤔 how can you offer yourself the right balance of challenge AND support to help you acheive your goals?

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