The business press often romanticizes failure as an inevitable part of building a successful business. However, they don’t often discuss the struggles that entrepreneurs face along the way.
In our personal lives, we constantly talk about the challenges we encounter. We complain about the difficulties of accomplishing certain tasks or affording certain things. We lament the lack of time to pursue our desires. However, we rarely mention failure. Instead, we simply endure the hardships in our personal lives.
Struggles bring forth exhaustion, disappointment, and a sense of disillusionment. It feels like insurmountable forces are against us. When it comes to our personal lives, we believe we have no choice but to endure.
In business, we may generate a list of our choices, but we often fear making them. Similarly, in our personal lives, we fear change because it means making different choices that will alter our lives. In both cases, we easily tire from the stress and uncertainty about the future.
Surprisingly, I believe there is something beautiful and magical
about being in the midst of struggle.
The key to overcoming struggle lies in thoughtful disruption, rather than mindless destruction. When something isn’t right, doesn’t connect properly, or seems to be missing, we need to disrupt our usual patterns and thinking. Our fear revolves around how different our future might become.
In addition, we struggle to answer the question of whether we will be okay in the end.
Things will definitely be different, but will we be ok?
It’s a question, when unanswered freezes us from doing anything at the moment.
What we don’t realize is that as long as the disruption is not mindless, irrational, or immensely destructive, most of the time we certainly will end up different in some way but ultimately okay. This requires a “leap of faith” to get us past what we now face.
In business, when we have no money and no sales, we feel an urgent need to think differently, letting go of wants and dreams to focus solely on what is necessary. It took me more than three years of intense struggle to realize how much I learned from that experience. Making different choices led to a breakthrough.
What I learned is that time doesn’t change the intensity of the struggle.
In a business setting, time increases the pressure to take action before someone else forces us to reach “the end.” In personal struggles, time only serves to amplify our feeling of giving up and enduring. Apathy or surrender becomes the easy way out, creating a prison around us if we allow it.
The struggle will strengthen and sharpen your instincts, like a blacksmith tempering metal in a crucible with extreme heat. For this to happen though, you must go through it. Struggle strips away what is unnecessary, revealing only what is truly essential. It weakens our empty words and promises, leaving us to face what is truly needed.
We have a choice in our lives: either ignore the clear messages sent to us through struggle and resist change, or embrace the hidden message behind our sense of futility and exhaustion. By understanding that with effort, new directions, and different choices, we can possibly break through.
I view struggle as the ultimate test of our self-belief.
To overcome, to persevere, to continue to grow, succeed, and be ok.
And to believe that we are capable of doing so.
I believe that we endure personal struggles because we fail to realize that only different choices can weaken or end their effects. Our persistent prayers and hopes for change are futile when our choices remain the same.
None of us like the frustrating feelings that struggle creates within us. As we mature, we must come to understand that these messages are a beacon to reveal to us the urgency to change and make different choices to alleviate the pain.