The Biggest Challenge… Do You Have An Answer To That Question?

April 2, 2013

The first Tuesday of every month is the day when a group of bloggers from all over write their take on a certain subject… I have to be truthful… I am struggling today.

The question is simple but the answer is far from that. “What is the greatest challenge you have faced” and “How did it change you?” “Big… or small.”

My answer… and trust me I have been thinking about this for days… is I don’t have an answer. Well, not one single answer… We all face many challenges in our daily lives and I am no exception.

I can’t tell you in order which are the greatest… but here are a few that spring to mind…

Children… children are a great challenge… and I am sorry to those of you who are reading who won’t relate to this… Having children… the giving birth… is an enormous challenge physically… and caring for them, teaching them, keeping them safe… helping them on their way… solving their problems or at the very least trying to show them the way through… is much more demanding than I ever would have imagined. I like to quote my husband when it comes to the challenges of children… he is wise… but I think this is true wisdom… he says, ‘big children… big problems’… Don’t get me wrong here… every moment of parenthood has been my absolute joy, my biggest high and my most outstanding achievement… but today I am talking challenges…

Marriage… Marriage must be considered a challenge otherwise how would they endure… not all do… but those that do last ‘forever’ are not without their complications. It’s not easy merging lives, living in a partnership… sharing… Whoever said sharing was a good thing! Sharing can create the highest hurdle of all… Compromise… another tricky path… Does anyone really ever like to compromise?Come on… really… I know we have to… and I am aware that it is polite behaviour… but sometimes I feel that compromise is a way to shatter vision not enhance it.

Loss… loss is a massive stumbling block to happiness. The loss of a friend, a family member, a job, friendship and finances… a beloved pet or a garden, due to frost or fire… The loss of possessions… things… less important.. but still as hard as we try to rise above loss… it is a tough one. The challenge of loss is to learn and grow from the heartache… to go forward and make those we have lost proud of us.. The challenge of loss is not to make the same mistakes over and over…

Work… and here I think of the challenges as positives… because I love what I do… so that makes it easy for me. I set my own challenges every year… small ones… large ones. I believe having goals helps us work harder and achieve more. Sometimes I ask myself why do I work so hard? The answer is simple… passion… and commitment. And therein lies another challenge…

Commitment… seeing something through to the end… so often it is easier to let things slide, fade out… fall away to nothingness. Whether we are thinking big or small here… about work or about relationships… Committing, putting our hands up and stepping forward… is tough. It is so much less confronting to let someone else take the lead…

Responsibility… Perhaps that is the ‘big boss’ of all our challenges… if we never take responsibility we will never conquer.

To say ‘no’… that can be the ultimate challenge.

And the little challenges… those every day inner conflicts that muddle our mind and tease us relentlessly… the getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of another… making that dreaded phone call… facing jobs that have been piling up forever… in other words the challenge of what we don’t really want to do… But if we always did what we wanted… wouldn’t we be considered selfish? Perhaps facing challenges is about finding balance at the same time?

And the exciting challenges… only you know what they are… for to each his own. A black ski run… a mountain summit… a marathon… another language… the list of pleasures/personal limits is endless…

Challenges can keep you on your toes… they make this life of ours interesting… we might not always like them… but it is the challenges that define us, make us who we are and seal our place in this world. I for one am all for them…

Tell me… Your greatest challenge?

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  • Beautiful post V such a huge question to be answered and put out there to the universe…..from the heart! Carla xx

  • Right on the money…agree with all you said. Time management is a big challenge for me, maybe thats why I woke up at 4:47 this morning!! I find life as a whole in how fast it moves to be a challenge, things seemed much easier and calmer 20 years ago…..I am sure it has nothing to do with the boundless energy I had in my 20’s, lol.

    Thanks Vicki

    • Vicki says:

      I seem to be getting up earlier and earlier Tina… and the days seem to get shorter and shorter… My great fear is not having enough time to do all that I want to do… Perhaps therein lies my challenge!

  • YogaGeek says:

    Thank you Vicki,

    Getting started! That’s my challenge. I just need to get the ball rolling, and things usually fall into place. Not necessarily as I had expected, but usually my projects turn out quite well….but I just need to get started!


    P.S. My site should evolve into my Blog, as soon as I get started:-)

    • Kristie says:

      I agree with this…all of the great challenges in my life were, well, challenges of course. But the hardest part in all of them was to get started. I think with age comes the hindsight to see that you can get through anything. It’s mostly a matter of showing up. Growing older makes me feel kind of fearless. Beautiful.

    • Vicki says:

      So why not start now… today…and worry about all the details later… :)

  • Your husband, a wise man, quoted my words exactly, big children…big problems! From their birth I have been challenged by my children, would it be their own doing or just fate and life…but the love that we give and receive through our children is extraordinary. You post is just as reading through the pages of a life worth living….keep writing…your words are wise and precious.

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you Francine… there is nothing like unconditional love… and for all their trials and tribulations… the love we share with our children is just that…

  • Anita Rivera says:

    I think you have said it all here, Vicki.

    WE are asked the question, and we are left THINKING. Then, the writing comes and suddenly, the ideas arrive.

    After the ideas are shared, readers take it all in, the contemplation begins, the conversations arise, the answers are FOUND, not given.

    Challenges are the air our spirits and yes, our bodies, breathe. Challenges come in different degrees to all people, but the end results that are favorable are: FAITH, PERSEVERANCE, LOVE.

    How we get there is as original as each person. Where we arrive is our own story, waiting to be written or told. That is what my next challenge is: To write my memoirs and to publish them.

    Thank you for always providing a space to TALK with you.

    I have enabled my comments again, because after your kind word the other day, I realized what is more important as a writer, a participant in this world.


    • Vicki says:

      Participation is what makes our blogs happier and more enjoyable places… My resolution this year was to visit more of my favourite blogs… engage more with my readers… even if it means posting less… It’s the part I love the most…
      I shall be over soon… :)

  • mary says:

    Hi Vicki, Thank you for this wonderful post. Yes, my biggest challenges are my children; also my greatest joy. Perhaps an even greater challenge is simply to become the person I am intended to be, growing every day. Thanks for pushing me to take stock.

  • emily says:

    Great post Vicki. And I can relate to all you’ve written. For me – raising children is the biggest challenge. But then again, I read a quote that said something like…Your “challenges” are on someone else’s wishlist…and I realize how lucky I am to have my little ones.

    Emily @ Town And Country Shuffle

  • francoise says:

    you said it all vicky, mine was trying to balance raising a family while battling to share my french while swimming in the australian one (if there is any ?/sorry!..)and growing a business while wanting to be good at both…Humm !… being a mother is a challenge to all as my mother said the same thing than your husband “petits enfants, petits soucis, grands enfans et grands soucis” !…

    • Vicki says:

      For women… I think we face many challenges just because we are obliged to multi task…
      How I love that expression… those ‘soucis’ can give us all sorts of grief!

  • francoise says:

    (correction..) …my french culture while….

  • I think life provides us all with challenges – for me, loss was the biggest one. In hindsight, it made me stronger and led to the next chapter in my life journey, featured in my book SOLITARY DESIRE. Life is indeed a journey!

  • Jacqueline says:

    Oh Vicki,
    Your post is perfect for our BIO subject this month… are so good at this !! I was actually ‘challenged’ by the subject this month……..I couldn’t think of any challanges that I had had in my life but, I guess that is because I don’t really see life as a challange and haven’t really had any thrown at me { so far, fingers crossed, touch wood !!!! haha }
    You,as always and so brilliantly, have summed it all up perfectly.
    …. and, thank you so much for your lovely comment on mine. XXXX

    • Vicki says:

      I will say it again here Jackie… your understated British way of dealing with things would never allow a ‘challenge’ to be a ‘challenge’… :)

  • Silvia says:

    great greatest challenge?? My daughter, but I wont give up.Thank you

    • Vicki says:

      As mothers, we can never ever give up… and even though at times we might want to… we never would…
      Stay strong Silvia…

  • Oh absolutely, challenges do keep us on our toes. :) Very well written Vicki.

  • kris says:

    Navigating through breast cancer was my biggest challenge and the most extraordinary time of my life. I used to cringe when someone would say, “I thank God for this cancer. It has changed my life.” While I would never be thankful for cancer, the lessons I learned and the changes it brought have been life-affirming, too many to enumerate in this small space.

    • Vicki says:

      I cannot imagine how life changing such a trauma would be… and i wish there would have been another way for you to learn those lessons… Thank you for being so open and I wish we could chat more about this… Another time.. :)

  • Hello Vicki~What a thought provoking post. I appreciate your honesty in sharing your challenges and they resonant with me. The biggest challenge for me may just be the courage to take risks, put myself ‘out there’ with my blog and my new online boutique. Creative types of endeavors are exhilarating and can be a little scary at times.
    On a different note, as a woman who always wanted to be a mother but waited for the right marriage to the right man, and then to suffer two miscarriages and be left childless, is a whole different type of loss. In everything in life there is such a balance as we find our own path. Thanks for the reminder.
    Lovely post today.
    Cheers, Heather

    • Vicki says:

      I do believe that loss is the greatest challenge of all… and loss… unlike other ‘challenges’… never leaves us…
      Good luck with your new online boutique… we shall all be over to visit… :)

  • Isn’t it amazing how children can be the biggest challenge but also the grandest joy?

  • oh my….what a fabulous post you have written today. Children: when they are little, they step on your shoe strings, ….. when they are big, they step on your heart. My greatest challenge was raising my two boys and to see them now, both successful young men, with their own children, wives I could only have dreamed for, and being productive well rounded citizens, not to mention caring, sweet, handsome and good. I am blessed. :)

    • Vicki says:

      Yes you are Lynn… but I would say that you deserve those blessings… :) I believe that what goes around… comes around in many multiples…

  • La Contessa says:

    Every day is a challenge for me……………………because I’m slowing down faster then I want too!
    Your words are very good in this post.I could relate to all of it.Now, I best stop reading blogs and get dressed so I can get to exercise then get myself to the shop not too late so I can clean up EASTER GOODS and prepare for MOTHERS DAY!Company arriving in a few days and I really should get those DAHLIA bulbs in the ground!Off I go to seize the day!

  • Susana Stevens says:

    Challenging question, and wonderful answer! As others have mentioned, you summed it up well, and put voice to it beautifully.

    Thank you!


  • what a thought provoking piece you have written. to quote Einstein “there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a Miracle, the other is as if Everything is”. Each challenge brings a

  • Louise says:

    Vicki, thank you so much for this wonderful post. After my first day at l’ Institut de Français I thought I was exhausted until I read your comments and they inspired…my life with my children has been my greatest and most profound and enjoyable challenge…around them my choices have been made…and now they have encouraged my choice to come to France to pursue a dream…

    • Vicki says:

      Your challenges are in your dream… it would seem Louise… But they do sound like wonderful challenges…

  • D. A. Wolf says:

    Loss comes in so many forms, which you touched on. But this is so true, and so helpful:

    “The challenge of loss is to learn and grow from the heartache… to go forward and make those we have lost proud of us..”

  • Katherine says:

    Vicki, You nailed it! The ying and yang of life proves to us that there is always another side of the coin.
    My biggest challenge is allowing myself the credit due.
    I take on the challenges around me, the troubles that people like to drop on my plate – but remembering to give myself a pat on the back or credit doesn’t happen often enough. That is a mistake for many women – too much for too long without enough for ourselves.
    Whew, that was a lot to share ….. I’m going to eat a piece of chocolate now!!

    • Vicki says:

      You should feel a ‘virtual’ pat on the back about now Katherine… :)
      It is so true… the challenge often comes back to ourselves…

  • lisa thomson says:

    Nice post, Vicki and I couldn’t agree more on the children as challenge. At least they give back once in a while though :) My biggest challenge was my divorce, hands down. It was also my biggest growth and accomplishment. My book and blog came out of it and my passion to help others navigating theirs. I have to also say, loss as you’ve mentioned has been a challenge I’ve dealt with more than I care to mention.

  • Beautifully written Vicki – my biggest challenge? Getting organised – but it always has been a problem for me so I guess that may be one challenge I’ll never really rise to!


  • Anita Rivera says:

    Oh you are so kind to come to leave me a comment….so kind. Bless you dear Vicki! And I too enjoy reading these comments here for you do open up a wonderful discussion to which we are all able to add in some dimension. LIFE is a gift. Anita

  • lisa says:

    Dear Vicki, just like my mum I seem to have had many challenges in my life. Yes loss has been a big part of my life….my Dad at 39, my Brother just a few years ago, our infant son, all beyond imagining. Last year another challenge which much like the death of a child still remains taboo….we found out a family member had been touching our son….I feel I’ve had my share, our marriage survived through many storms, my heart remains strong, my belief in people shaken, my life thrown up in the air and nobody to talk to about it. Still a hidden crime often with no support for the victim. I would love to post about this on my own blog but few people know and I prefer to keep it that way for now.

    I know I get my strength from my Mum she made me strong xx
    thanks for giving me a chance to share x

    • Vicki says:

      I am so sorry Lisa… I cannot begin to imagine this heartbreak… Thank you for your courage in writing and sharing your challenge… beyond imaginable… xv

  • Loss….losing my best friend, my husband, just over 3 months ago to a mercifully short battle with cancer.

    The challenges are great and overwhelming. How do you reinvent your entire life without the man who was your source and inspiration for so many things. How do you raise a special needs child without that supportive partner. How do you redefine what you do, where you go and who you are…reaching up on that shelf to pick up the dusty parts of you that you had almost forgotten.

    Loss like this is so many things and emotions swirling, batting around your feet like a stray kitten. Widowhood is not a title anyone is ready for regardless of your age; whether you’re 30 or 90…it doesn’t discriminate. It’s elite club with an unspoken understanding that simply needs a nod and a hug, like a secret society handshake, to feel accepted.

    • Vicki says:

      I always thought that motherhood was a secret club… nobody really told you what it was all about until you had joined…
      Widowhood… ‘ an elite club’ ‘that doesn’t ‘discriminate’ this must be the perfect description… I am so sorry that you have lost your best friend… such a deep, deep and unfathomable loss…

  • Lorrie says:

    Great post, Vicki. All of life is a challenge. Living well, living intentionally, living wisely – it takes a lifetime of experience and example to meet these challenges.

    • Vicki says:

      If we could know all we needed to know at the time when the challenges presented themselves… wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  • Alex says:

    Comforting post, Vicki. Thank you.

  • Lorraine says:

    Hi Vicki, Thanks for this thought provoking post. I have decided that my biggest challenge has been being myself. Finding confidence to express myself creatively ( I will always have trouble with this) and believing in me is a daily challenge. This of course means that everything in my life is a challenge, marriage, getting older etc etc.. Reading all the other replies from your readers shows that life in general IS a challenge but as everyone is different (thankfully!) it is on many different levels. I think the most important thing is that we can see the challenge as just that because its how we develop as an individual and learn about ourselves and life. How many times have we all heard someone say “if only I knew then what I know now!” I guess it’s simply because we didnt have enough challenge earlier on to learn from.

  • simone says:

    I was looking forward to seeing what you had to say on this topic Vicki – and I’ll be honest that I feel too challenged in life right now with certain issues (parenting!!) to be able to actually put it into words so I missed out on writing about this topic myself today.

    I think sometimes it’s not until something is over or maybe until you feel you are gaining control of a situation, that you can write about it….hopefully I’ll be at that place sometime soon!

    Anyway, I loved reading what you had to say….it’s always a good thing to hear other people, especially those we admire, talking about issues that are familiar. It’s good to know we are all challenged by pretty much the same things in life….XX

  • pve says:

    “deadlines” may be my biggest challenge or memesis.
    “exercising” regularly might be another challenge….
    “wrinkles” or rather keeping my skin and body well hydrated is another challenge
    “expectations” are another huge challenge.
    “perfectionism” goes without saying.
    “ocd” – another challenge.

  • Trudy says:

    My greatest challenge is teaching my children school, real school as we are too remote to attend a main stream school…they are all such individuals and the trickiest part is teaching to their strengths whilst embracing their weaknesses….many days I have been in tears and many days we have had good old belly laughs at ourselves! I loved your reading your post…

  • It is completely fascinating just how varied a response this question invokes: both from the other bloggers in the group but also from the varied comments here on your post. Our lives have all been so very different, yet so many have gained the same wisdoms, the same philosophies, no matter the varied path in life. x

  • Kathy says:

    Vicki, this is such a thought provoking topic and I am touched reading everyone’s thoughts and feelings on life’s challenges. My biggest life challenge is keeping our beautiful 23yr old son well. He was born with a rare disorder, and recently had his 400th hospital admission. He never complains and takes life fully by the horns! We have had many medical challenges to work through and continue to do so, but our son has offered so much hope, love and happiness to the people that are privileged to know him. I do find myself at times in deep reflection, with a box of chocolates and a pot of coffee, now that is another challenge in itself! I can never ever stop at one or two!
    Cheers, Kathy

  • And, the final challenge…to realize what is important, really important, in our lives. I have a little framed quotation on my wall which says, “Life is mostly froth & bubbles, some things stand like stone…kindness in another’s troubles, courage in your own.” It’s been with me forever. Thank you, V, for taking the time to write such an insightful post, as always. One not soon forgotten.

  • Lisa says:

    You are so right. Life doesn’t tie its meaning up in a little bundle, a story with a moral. Things come and go. Life is hard, then easy. The stuff we love also challenges us.

    This was the hardest BIO, but in some ways the best to get know the other bloggers. xoxox.

  • Only you could write about challenges so perfectly Vicki, xx Coty

    There may be another book there for you to write, I love how your mind works!

  • Challenges- I have really had quite a few. Grew up with an abusive Father, married an abusive husband, had twins and one was not only born with Down Syndrome but nearly died several times- including having open heart surgery at 8 weeks old, and too many illnesses and operations to mention all before he was 6. Battles with schools, changing schools 4 times, having the other twin go totally wild from 14-19 which included 2 years of going missing for days with drug dealers and all sorts. Having my husband leave us during the time my daughter was out of control for 2 years when my youngest children were 3.5 and 1 years old, Health issues for myself, my mother and now my father nearly died this year and has been put on chemo therapy…. I could go on and it hasn’t been easy, but I do have the answer to all that life dishes out to us. “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” If it wasn’t for the love and grace of God and my saviour Jesus I don’t think I would still be here. What I don’t have room to say is that every prayer has been answered and I have learned and grown along the way. I have had miracle after miracle. I couldn’t go through life’s journey with out My wonderful saviour and the heavenly Fathers hands around me. xx Corrina Tough

  • What a thought provoking post, Vicki. For me the biggest challenge is keeping a healthy balance between work and family life. If I’m at work, I worry that I’m neglecting my family. If I’m with my family, I worry that I’m neglecting work. The stress I put myself through is just horrible.

  • Mia says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post–I’ve been feeling overwhelmed balancing family, friends, university and, unfortunately, a recent loss. Everyone has their own challenges and I am glad to know that I am not so alone.

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