Work is like riding a bicycle. When you’re learning how it’s exciting, challenging. The first few rides are exhilarating and give you a sense of accomplishment, pride, and freedom. After a while it becomes too easy just riding up and down the driveway or the street in the neighborhood. You’re ready for a challenge – a hill! There are ups and downs. Climbing is a challenge but when you reach the top you are once again rewarded with a sense of achievement plus the added bonus of coasting down the other side. There is no reward if there is no challenge. You can’t coast forever; eventually you must pedal again or you will fall over, ending the ride.

It is so important to find ways to challenge yourself, to find a good balance between pedaling and coasting, to always make the ride interesting and be proud of your accomplishments. If you work as hard as you can, you will be compensated according to your actions. Show that you are part of the team. Demonstrate your willingness to work hard for the success of your company, whether it’s your own or you work for someone else. Get excited about new projects and submit your creative ideas to make the company better. At the very least just show up and work. Stop coasting and start pedaling.

If it’s worth showing up, isn’t it worth putting in the effort? Why go unhappily through the motions each day? Why bother at all if you don’t put your heart into your work? You likely spend as much time working as you do with family – make it count. Get in gear or get out of the way, before you are moved out of the way unexpectedly.

Not everyone loves everything about their job but if you can find an aspect of your job you enjoy or appreciate, perhaps you can stoke your passion for it. Find a way to change your perspective about what you do or how you make a difference in your world.

Challenge Yourself
Do you get irritated when someone asks you to do something that is out of the ordinary, something new that you’re unsure of how to accomplish? Get over your apprehension and rise to the challenge. Start pedaling. Extending ourselves beyond our comfort zones is how we learn and grow. This eHow article by Ryan Mooney is full of great ideas of how to challenge yourself in the workplace.

Create Opportunities
Seek out opportunities for challenge and growth in your workplace. If there are none then perhaps you should create an opportunity for yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking it upon yourself to go outside the box. Create a competition within your department to see who can be most productive. Challenge yourself to write an article for your company newsletter. Approach the boss about an idea you have to grow the company or about a special project you are interested in. Assemble a group of coworkers to participate in work for a charity you care about.

Take Responsibility
Take responsibility for your work. Learn from your successes and failures in order to take a more educated approach in the future. Success is so much sweeter when you’ve truly had a hand in creating it and others will be more apt to want to work with you in the future. Mark Buchan at The Skills Portal analyzes the value of responsibility and the role it plays in improving performance. Responsibility distributed unequally among peers in the workplace can result in blame, resentment, and frustration. The first step is to take responsibility for your part in projects which you are involved. Lead by example. Be sure that you are proud of the work you produce by taking responsibility for the outcome.

Enjoy the ride!
You must ask yourself, “Am I coasting? If I don’t start pedaling soon am I going to fall?” If you choose not to pedal, you may find a lot of competition going up your next hill. Challenge yourself, create opportunities that are interesting to you, and take responsibility for the work you take part in. You may find that the uphill challenge can be as exhilarating as the rest of the ride.