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Setting a Challenge That Challenges You


I am reading through a book right now that is challenging me in a number of ways. They are good challenges, but challenges that are requiring me to stretch should I follow the advice of the book (and do the exercises). It is amazing how we let habit form our lives and allow ourselves to live less fully than we can (or should). As a result, over time, we lose the zest for life. Many chalk this up to aging or to "growing up" and taking on "responsibility."

But I can't ever imagine Thomas Edison's wife or mother going out to Tom's workshop and telling him it's time to take responsibility for his life and get a "real job." Could you ever imagine Colonel Sanders not trotting around Kentucky and Tennessee selling his mother's chicken recipe -- instead being content to live retirement in a rocking chair on the front porch? Yet many of us fall into that habit or routine every day, whether we are successful or struggling to eke out a living.

How do we overcome this and get that internal wellspring to begin flowing like Niagara Falls? Well, that's what this book is challenging me to do.

In the portion I read today, the author challenged me to do 30-day challenges. Rather than setting only long-term goals, the author suggests setting 30-day challenges every month. And the challenges should do just that: challenge you! There could be multiple challenges over a 30-day period, as most challenges do not take an extraordinary amount of time on a daily basis.

So, here's a challenge I have for you over the next 30 days -- build personal relationships with five of your customers.

By doing so, you will have accomplished a few things:

  • Getting outside of yourself and listening to five of your customers at a deep level;
  • Learning what bothers your customers (and it's not the desire for buy one, get one free specials);
  • Realizing your customers are more like you than you may be willing to admit;
  • Finding yourself smiling more often throughout the day; and
  • Realizing that your customers don't buy from you because of your convenient location; they do so because they consider you a friend who has their best interests at heart.

You'll also find something else at the end of this challenge. Giving of yourself yields great returns -- spiritually, socially and financially.

Ted Leithart is the founder and president of The Leithart Group LLC and creator of C-store Marketing Systems. The Leithart Group is a marketing and business-building resource provider for independent convenience stores. Leithart's marketing expertise has been utilized to build and enhance more than 500 small businesses. He can be reached at [email protected], and more of his marketing insights can be found at

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.

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