A colleague of mine recently sent me a survey to fill out that was designed to evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. It was an interesting request since we hadn’t worked together in a traditional office environment—rather I assigned her to write stories for the last magazine I worked on—and, in fact, we’ve never met in person. But having worked with her on multiple assignments, I felt competent to answer at least most of the questions on the survey. One of the ones I wasn’t sure about, and to which I checked “N/A,” was, “Do you think your colleague is challenged by her job?”
This got me to thinking if I was challenged by my own job. Pondering my answer, I started to wonder if I have ever really, truly been challenged at all.
I’ve known and interviewed people who battled cancer but somehow never lost a step. I worked with foster children who, despite having to deal with horrific living conditions and situations so vile it makes your blood boil, still manage to keep a smile on their face. I’ve had friends who had miscarriages and yet still bravely tried again. I’ve seen family members hit rock bottom and, with all their might and against all odds, somehow climb their way back up.
But have I, like they, been challenged? I’ve certainly had my share of bumps in the road—sincerely tough times that tested my strength and spirit, but that ultimately made me a stronger person—but have I ever really, seriously been challenged? I can’t say for sure.
Even more puzzling was the question of how I might respond if I ever was to be seriously challenged. Would I crumble if I went broke and lost the roof over my head? Would I give up if faced with a deadly disease? How would I respond if an accident left me paralyzed and wheelchair bound? What would I do if I couldn’t do what I do for a living anymore? Could I go on, god forbid, if faced with the loss of a family member?
We deal with challenges big and small every day, many of which challenge us in fun and exciting ways (I don’t mean to dwell on the negative), and how we react reveals a lot about our personalities. I only hope that if I ever am faced with a true challenge, that I show the courage and resolve of so many before me.