The popular business press speaks often about failing. It has become almost a romantic end in itself when trying to build a viable business. What is not spoken about are the struggles faced along the way.
In our personal lives, we speak continually of struggle. It’s hard to do this or pay for that. There is no time to do what we want. But we never speak of failure. We simply endure in our personal lives.
Struggle. There is exhaustion, disappointment, and disillusionment when present. Insurmountable forces against us that resemble the latest enemy in a science fiction movie.
When it involves our lives, we have no choice but to endure — so we think.
In our business, we may see choices but are scared to make them. In our personal lives we are scared to change because we then must make different choices making our lives different. In both cases, we tire easily from the stress and the uncertainty of our future.
You will be surprised to hear that I believe that there is something both beautiful and magical when in the middle of struggle.
The necessary solution to struggle is thoughtful disruption (not mindless destruction). Something isn’t right. Something doesn’t connect properly. Something may be missing.
Our fears revolve around how different our future might become. We have trouble answering the question of “whether or not we will be ok in the end”? (As long as the disruption is not “mindless, irrational or immensely destructive” most times you will end up different in some way but ok.)
On the business side, when you have no money and no sales there becomes an urgency in thinking that strips away the wants or dreams and focuses you on what only is needed. It took me better than three years of some intense struggle to realize just how much I learned through the experience. Different choices led to a breakthrough.
What I learned was that time never changes struggle’s intensity. In a business setting, time intensifies the need to do something before someone else forces you to “the end”. Time’s only influence during personal struggle is to increase (over time) our feeling to simply give up and endure. Apathy or surrender is the easy way out that becomes our prison if we allow it.
Struggle should temper and harden your instincts as if you were in a crucible where extreme heat is applied specifically for this purpose (think blacksmith). Struggle strips away the unnecessary revealing only the necessary. Struggle weakens our empty words and promises leaving us only to face what is needed.
We again have a choice in our lives to either ignore the clear messages sent to us by struggle and its cry for us to change something. Or we can embrace its message that hides behind our sense of futility and exhaustion understanding that with some effort in new directions (and different choices) we quite possibly could break through.
I view struggle as the ultimate test in our belief in ourselves.
None of us like the messages that result in frustration sent to us through struggle. As we mature we must come to understand that its truth reveals the urgency needed to somehow change and make different choices to lessen its pain. If we are lucky (and/or skilled) we can work to eliminate the current struggle before a new one appears (they always do).
My belief is that we endure struggle in our personal lives because we fail to understand that only different choices can weaken or end the effects caused by it.
We innocently hope that with time it will simply pass. While time passes quickly our memories remain short. Our persistent, frequent, & intense prayers and hope for change are sterile when our choices always remain the same.
We never quite know what to do when struggle embraces us personally or in a business (otherwise we probably would not have gotten here in the first place). Our hopes and prayers should be directed towards a strong belief that our searching, our new learning and many efforts will eventually lead to a breakthrough. One step at a time. It never happens “all at once”.
Make different choices to confront your struggle “head on”. There is no better way to engage life than during these intense times of need and change. Thoughtful disruption can be powerful in your life when you step slowly, think broadly, and believe deeply that you can and will make better, different choices going forward.
Before you can change the world you must work hard at first learning how to change yourself. Find good and positive ways that will focus your energies away from struggle and on things that will benefit both you, your family and/or your employees beginning today.
I’ve begun to both learn and practice this in my life. I have found this very helpful.
You can do it too. I know you can.