Are You Tired Of The Struggle?
If you are alive, you will struggle. No one gets a free pass of ease through life. Life is a struggle. Life can be simple but it is not easy. As I have learned, that struggle can become very tiring. The key is to not struggle any more than is necessary.
Any of you guys will likely know, whether you have been near a gym or not, that the only way to grow stronger is to put your body and your muscles through the paces. To get bigger and stronger means you have to push your limits. When I was a competitive swimmer the coaches always seemed to have me swim one more set more than I thought could handle. My personal trainer would set a weight that I could just manage 10 reps on and then he would ask me to go for 11. My coach and trainer knew, even when I was drained, I had it in me to go that little bit extra. Time and time again they repeated that process. I would start struggling at 9 and would collapse at 11. My body would be screaming. But…through the pain and the struggle I got stronger, faster and fitter. They just increased the demand each time. Sure you might take some rest, but life goes on and so does the struggle.
Whether at work, rest or play, there will always be a time of struggle. Struggle comes and goes. Sometimes you get a break. Sometimes you have to take a break. You will know what’s best. However, always expect it. As best you can, be prepared for it.
Question. What are you struggling with right now?
Addictions? Marriage? Unemployment? Decreased business? Health? Weight? Debt? Failure? Exams? Career? Welcome to the club. I want to reassure you right now…you’re not alone. I’ve faced all those and then some as I’m sure some of you have too. Struggling is not fun. In the moment, it tires and it hurts. No matter how long you must endure though, it shall pass.
Do you ever feel like quitting and going for an easier option? Consider the economic environment we find ourselves in today. Some men are unemployed out of choice. They’ve given up and chosen to take the path of least resistance. They have bought into the Borg. Resistance is futile. The other group of men continue to fight. As my Dad often quoted, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” In my life I’ve chosen to resist the Borg. If we do not resist we will never realize of what we are capable and the full joy of our Journey of Success.
The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success. If there were nothing to struggle for there would be nothing to be achieved.
Perhaps you are like I used to be? I used to believe that I was addicted to struggle. Everything I chose to do never came easy. I always seemed to have to work at it harder than most. Bizarrely, I think I enjoyed it. I used to sit there in high school doing science or math homework and get stuck often. I used to get so frustrated. I used to get angry. It wasn’t until the teacher showed me a smarter way, the right way, that I finally could solve the problem. What I learned was that there was always someone who had been where I was who could help me through the struggle and help me grow in the process.
Your struggle leads to success. Some of the “hills” around here in Scotland are a struggle to climb – be that on foot or on a bike. However, when I start to get tired on the ascent I have learned to press on. The reward is at the top. The benefit is gained along the way.
Life is a test. As when we were in school, a test is a measure of how prepared you are; whether have what it takes. As in school, so it is in life. Once you complete one test, you have to learn and prepare for the next one.
It wasn’t until very recently, however, that I really got it. For most of my life I had struggled and struggled against the struggle. Then I finally realized… Struggle is okay. For me to be all that I am meant to be, struggle is inevitable. Without struggle there is no progress.
As leaders we are meant to struggle:
- We struggle as parents to raise our kids. Who hasn’t had challenges when you son or daughter resists your directions and advice?
- We struggle in business to bring something new to the world. Just ask Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
- We struggle in our marriages. What do you expect when you bring two imperfect people together?
- We struggle with our own growth and development. It takes time and effort to discover and develop our skills, talents and abilities for which we are created.
The strongest wood is that which endures the full exposure to the elements. In times gone by here in Scotland, some farmers planted oak trees in isolation along the edge of fields. They knew that without protection any tree that grew would be the best source of the strongest wood. Let’s be like those oak trees. What we endure strengthens us and helps us grow.
Accept struggle for what it is – a help. Don’t make your life and leadership any harder than it needs to be. Choose your struggles – the ones that will grow you and lead you to be all you can be.
Accept your struggles. Identify the benefits. Use them to grow.
Dr Richard Norris is a self-leadership master who equips and empowers aspiring men from the boardroom to the locker room to the family room to lead the life they deserve and desire. Clients find Richard’s practical, simple and easy to implement tools, tips and techniques deliver quick results and progress their Journey of Success. Richard’s own self-leadership has developed from a diverse career of experiences as a veterinarian, army officer, competitive swimmer, award-winning coach, speaker, author, husband and father.