The meaning of "challenge"

As a Life Coach I occasionally "challenge" a client by asing them to reflect on something more deeply or take the steps they are speaking about, or do what is necessary to take care of themselves. Every challenge is individual and reflects each client's journey. However I never "challenge" a client without first asking their permission to do so, and that is only after discussing what "challenge" is with them in our first meeting. I am only able to suggest this "challenge" if I have truely listened to what the client is saying and have really understood them.

It is with an inner curiousness that I reflect on a number of casual conversations I have had recently where friends and collegues have used this word "challenge". "I am going to challenge you to...." Why?" I ask myself, How is it that in my general conversations I and others are now being issued challenges without having given our permission? What was it about our conversations that had such a deep level of listening that made it acceptable to issue a "challenge"?

A "challenge" can been seen as a judgement of another's life and way of being. The terminology that we use in our working lives will naturally spill over into our everyday lives, this in turn can affect our daily interactions, both positively and negatively. The word "challenge" means  "a call take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel" it is an "invitation to engage in contest" it means to "dispute the truth or validity of". In fact to "challenge" someone is a powerful statement and should only be used with extreme consciousness.

We challenge each other on a daily basis in a variety of ways. In my experience the most successful challenges are issued without ever using the word "challenge". Life is not a battle,where we throw down the gauntlet to one another, it is a journey of discovering and accepting yourself, growing to meet the life you create and learning to accept those around you and their truths, which may well be different from your own.