Challenges: Pitfalls or Opportunities?

mountain“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.” —Summer Sanders


The question is not if we will face challenges, but how will we show up when we do come up against them. We stumble over them every day, some are small, others seem insurmountable. Those who see challenges as pitfalls will struggle through life with the feeling that they can’t win for losing. On the other hand, those who see the opportunity in every challenge rise higher and higher using each challenge as a stepping-stone to success. So, how can you find the opportunity in challenge?

New perspective

A challenge is always a great opportunity to look at the situation from a new perspective. When things are going along smoothly it is easy to become content with the status quo. Bumping up against a challenge can snap you out of your same old ways of thinking and give you a new vantage point from which to view your situation.

Course adjustment

We often chug along content with the course we are on. Challenges can serve as stop signs, reminding us to look up and verify that we are, indeed, heading in the direction we want to go. Operating on cruise control often results in you getting ever so slightly off course; so slight that you may not even notice it at the time. The longer you remain on this new course, the further you end up from your intended destination. Using challenges as navigational reminders is a great way to keep on target.

Forced to innovate

It’s easy to become comfortable with the way things have always been. It is even easier when things seem to be running smoothly. But, facing a challenge often tosses you out of your comfort zone and forces you to innovate. Innovation is what keeps you fresh, new, and at the front of the pack.

Evaluate and expand your team

Challenges often help you to identify your own weaknesses. This is a great opportunity to evaluate who you need on your team, with the strengths that you lack, so that you can reach your goals. Use challenges as check points. Who do you have and who do you need? This is the perfect time to evaluate and expand your team.

Take the Opportunity

In order to be successful, you must learn to find the opportunity in every challenge. Look at things from a new perspective. Make course adjustments when necessary. See the opportunity in being forced to innovate. Evaluate and expand your team to meet your current needs. Don’t fall into the pitfall mindset; embrace challenge and take the opportunity.



© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


2 thoughts on “Challenges: Pitfalls or Opportunities?”

  1. You know? Everybody is in love with the word disruption, but isn’t disruption just a calculated version of self imposed challenges? What would happen is we began to look at challenges as a form of disruption, and worked through them with the same enthusiasm and passion? Just a thought.

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