By Emily Barske, Business Record Editor

Emily Barske, Business Record editor

I was adamant that I got the answer right, but the teacher counted it as wrong. 

The stage: middle school social studies class. I had received an A, but I wanted full credit for my answer to a question on a recent test. Enter my master plan to get the points back. I asked my teacher if I could write an essay about why my answer was right to make up my grade on that question. He kindly obliged. 

I got the points back. To this day, I’m not sure if it was because I was actually right, or if he just appreciated the effort or he just didn’t want to deal with me anymore. 

I’ve always loved being persistent in just about everything I do. I see how many things I can get done during the time it takes to warm something up in the microwave. My friends have made fun of me for having a personal strategic plan for each year rather than a New Year’s resolution. I’ve considered timing how quickly I can get my items rung up and bagged in the self-checkout at the grocery store (and the only thing that’s stopped me is that the process of timing would take more time). 

As soon as someone says that something has to be done a certain way or that something can’t be done, I set out to prove them wrong.

I’ve always known about my love for challenges, but an activity I did while participating in Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Media in November helped open my eyes to a new perspective on this.

We had to think through the things we’ve said yes to in life as well as the things we’ve said no to so we could identify what values matter most to us. The items on our lists could be trips we opted to take or opted out of. Job opportunities we agreed to and ones we turned away. People we’ve chosen to be our friends or partners, and people we didn’t see as a good fit for our life. 

Then we shared our list with someone who didn’t know us all that well, and they listened to pick up on themes. The first thing one of the people I was matched with said was, “It seems like you like a challenge.” Touché. 

It certainly wasn’t a revelation, but it did make me realize that I not only like challenges, but I choose challenges. I choose things that are goal-oriented. Once we better understand what helps us make some of the most important decisions in life, it helps us better understand what we should say no to more often – because, Fearless readers, I know I am not alone in saying yes to too many things.

Once you’ve established what you truly value when taking opportunities, it gives you something to hold yourself accountable to. Ask yourself these questions when making a decision:

  • Does this help me live my values? 
  • Does this serve me in a way I will find fulfilling?
  • Will doing this make other things already on my plate feel less fulfilling?

Do the activity yourself and see what you seek out in life.

Categories: Guest opinion