Internal Responses to Challenge

Internal Responses to Challenge

Challenge represents any activity that is perceived to be as out of the ordinary and which involves something that is stretching to an individual.  

Challenge can come in various forms:

- It could be some form of change where the individual is being asked to stop carrying out some habitual activity.

- A challenge where the individual is faced with doing something they have never done before and which takes them to the very edge of their comfort zone and sometime beyond that.

- A setback (which may arise out of the above) which provides a degree of shock or upset to the individual.

The common factor among challenges is that they represent risk in some way and something may not work out as people hope.   Some individuals may respond positively to these situations with a mindset that sees the challenge as an opportunity.  They will be aware that there are risks and they may even experience a sense of fear, but they will see the opportunity rather than the threat.  Part of that opportunity might be to demonstrate something to themselves, and often to others, that they can deal with the unknown or with the risk associated with doing something that they have not done before.  They may see setback or failure in a positive light, as an opportunity for learning.   

Others though, will see the same situations very differently.  They may have the same background and the same or even greater levels of abilities, but their mindset could be to see the negative parts only, the threats therefore blocking out the opportunity of self-discovery.   

To help you understand how you respond to certain challenges work through these 3 tasks below.    

Task 1: Consider a task when you were fully focused and ‘in the zone’ - write down what you experienced in terms of self-talk, emotions and arousal levels.  Consider the prompts below.

Level 3 - Very High Adrenaline

Joy, Happiness, Hyperactive, Excited     Anger, Rage, Abusive Self Talk, Criticism

Level 2 -Moderate Adrenaline

Alert, Engaged, Responsive, Assertive    Frustrated, Disappointed, Could Do Better

Level 1 - Low Adrenaline

Composed, Relaxed, Cool          Complacent, Bored, Give Up, Disengaged

Task 2: Consider a challenging situation or task where you failed to achieve your desired outcome - again write down what you experienced in terms of self-talk, emotions and arousal levels.

Task 3: Reflect on your learning from the 2 tasks.  Make a note of at least two  recommendations for yourself for the future.

In addition to increase your understanding of how stress can affect your body – Click HERE for details.

If you would like to this area more and understand how we can help you please feel free to to get in touch.

David Charlton, Mental Toughness Coach and HCPC Registered Sport & Exercise Psychologist

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0) 7734 697769



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