Claire Bradford on immersive challenges

AST week, I had lunch with writer and comedian Viv Groskop, and it made me decide to use this week’s column to throw down a challenge. Viv had been a successful freelance writer for 20 years.

But, as she approached 40, she realised that she had always wanted to be a comedian and she wanted to give it a real go before it was too late.

She had flirted with comedy a few years before, by doing course and a handful of gigs, but the advice that had stuck in her mind was: ‘You need to do 100 gigs before you even know whether you want to be a stand-up’.

At the rate she was going, it would take years before she had reached 100 gigs. Undaunted (well, quite daunted, but pressing on anyway), Viv decided to do her 100 gigs in 100 days, juggling her three young children, bemused husband, day job and complicated travel arrangements along the way. Her in turns painful and hilarious account of those few months is documented in her book, I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took on Stand-up and (almost) Ruined Her Life. This too was the subject of our lunch on Thursday, and it was inspiring to hear about the highs and the lows of her 100 days, and what they taught her.

So, what does this have to do with business, and what challenge am I throwing down?

Well, it occurred to me that Viv’s philosophy of immersing herself in the world of comedy in order to see if it really worked for her could be appropriate in the business world, too.

No matter what stage you are at, an immersion challenge will give you an exhilarating kick up the bum. How about some of these ideas?

Treat/coach/whatever it is you do 50 separate people in a month.

Write 100 blog posts/make 100 handmade items in 100 days.

Write a book on your area of expertise in three months.

Connect (properly – offline and face to face) with 20 leaders in your industry before February.

Pitch your revolutionary idea to 30 people in 30 days.

You get the idea. What’s yours? Come and share it at, tweet me @coachbythecoast, or email me at I can’t wait to hear them!