The Struggle is Real
To be completely honest, I have been in a funk lately. Not a deep funk, where despair sets in and paralyzes you, but more of that slow burn funk. The one that sticks in the back of your head, telling you: What’s the point? Why do I even care, things are never going to change… all that negative crap we tell ourselves, so it will allow us to fall into victimhood and inaction.
Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art calls this phenomenon resistance. In his book Mr. Pressfield says that anything that gets in the way of the work you are doing to accomplish something great is resistance. It is the rabbit hole you dive head first in and then find yourself watching videos of cats playing piano on YouTube. It’s your friends that do not understand why you are even trying to this in the first place. it’s your car that breaks down, right when you only have money to pay the rent. Resistance.
The thing is though that a lot of this is in or minds. Because we are human, and our natural instinct is to keep us alive, our brains trick us to believe that impending doom is coming and that we should not pursue, what we know is our calling. And, when you are in the middle of it, it is almost impossible to appreciate what you are learning from the struggle.
When I first became a people leader, I had a horrible time. HORRIBLE. I thought I was ready (I wasn’t), I inherited a challenging team with multiple strong personalities that all wanted to get promoted at the same time and all were skeptical of this new leader (with good reason). I freaking hated it. I was stressed, I gained weight, my marriage suffered. All I could think of were the questions I started this blog with: What’s the Point, Why do I even care, things are never going to change. I struggled. Hard.
But time passed. Things changed. I changed. I look back now and see how vital those struggling years were for my formation into a good leader. I use this as an example of how I struggled in trainings I do. The story resonates.
We all go through times of struggle, but the key is to understand that the struggle is temporary. It will pass. You might have to get focused and do some things differently, but it will pass. That Is Stephen Pressfield’s advice. Do the work. It doesn’t matter if it is shit, if it won’t be seen by anyone else, but do the work. Doing the work will allow for inspiration to find you, and it will change your situation. I can’t forget how powerful that can be.
I try to say it over and over. This is temporary. A quick look at our past and it is easy to see that there were many challenges that we thought we would never get through, but we did. A client that was irate and wanted a $250k credit (true story), a boss you thought you would never be able to work with, a period where you were out of work. In the moment, they all seem insurmountable, never ending. However, eventually, they too shall pass. You will survive. As long as you do the work.
We all need our struggles. It is what allows us to grow, it is what informs us of what not to do the next time around, it is what will shape us for the future. In time we will appreciate out struggles and they will become reminders of how we can persevere, how we can achieve more than what we thought was possible. We will then look back and appreciate our struggle. Appreciate the chance to figure it out, to do the work. So in times of struggle, let’s not fall into despair, into victimhood. Instead let’s focus, do our work, and appreciate our chance to work things out.
If you don’t believe me, take Spiderman’s word for it:
**Thank you Stan Lee. For countless times you inspired me and my kids.
Andre Mello is a Business Coach and is done wallowing in his funk. He is ready to do some work. Andre has been in Marketing and Leadership for over 17 years. If you would like to connect with him, please visit www.wysecoaching.com.