The benefit of challenging yourself

It becomes more clear to me year after year that I make most progress when I challenge myself to do stuff that scares me.

Take public speaking for instance. People who know me from my younger years know that I wasn’t the most extrovert person. Who would have guessed I would voluntarily do public talks so many years later?

One of the drives is my goal to try as many different things as possible. That’s why I refuse to go on holiday to the same place twice. The world is so big, with plenty of things to discover that I simply feel I’m missing out on something exciting.

The same applies to my professional career. If I think about it, the most valuable things I’ve learned come from taking a step into the unknown. Doing my first public talk, going to a conference that had nothing to do with my field of expertise, starting a blog, reading books on all kind of topics,…

Basically looking past the familiar. It’s not easy, I admit that. Comfortable doing the things you know can be quite tempting. But what about the kick of doing something new, something risky, getting that new idea, having that insight? For me, that’s very addictive and I take the related stress with a smile. Actually, that stress seems to get less and less over time. Public speaking is not that frightening anymore and going to conferences has become quite enjoyable.

The consequence is that I’m continuously trying to raise the bar. What exciting things can I start to discover now? If you have any suggestions, please let me know, I’m always up for a challenge!

That’s why I’m still so enthusiastic about agile and lean software development. It carries the spirit of continuous improvement and a mindset that we strive for perfection by raising the bar each and every day.

(image by Richard Parmiter)

About Nick Oostvogels

Hi, I'm an independent management consultant. My biggest strengths are located in the fields of teamwork, motivation, leadership and continuous improvement. In the IT industry you find a lot of these values in the agile movement, in which I often act as a project leader, product owner or coach. My interests go a lot further, into other industries where we find these values in lean production. Besides that, I try to broaden my horizon as much as possible, always looking for better ways of doing business.

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