During the Struggle
It’s easy to maintain a positive outlook, keep to your healthy eating or exercise routine and repeat your affirmations, etc. when things are going well. When business is good. When the number on the scale keeps dropping. When the people around you are supporting you, encouraging you and adding joy to your life.
But what about the rest of the time? What about the struggle? The days when everything seems to be going wrong. When your friends or family let you down. When you plateau…or worse, start going backward.
Every time there’s a recession, millionaires are made. During the good times, these future millionaires prepared for the future by being responsible, saving, and managing their business prudently. They didn’t squander their wealth during the good times. When the market takes a turn for the worse, those who thought the good times would never end find themselves short and have to sell off property to stay afloat. Those who prepared are ready to take that property off their hands at rock bottom price, planting the seeds for a future harvest. Fortunes are made not during a boom, but during a bust. You just don’t see the wealth until after the bust is over and the economy goes into recovery.
Personal struggle is very similar. We go through cycles of ups and downs. This is going to happen no matter who you are. The difference in how extreme those waves are is how we approach those down times. The times of hardship and struggle. When we are at our wits end, we just want to throw the towel in and curl up in a corner to cry.
Here is the secret: the seeds of success are sown in the struggle.
How you react to the hardship determines the size of your rebound. What are you sowing during the pain? Recovery? Or more pain? Can we push our way through the resistance, even when we have no idea when it will end but knowing full well that it will, like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon? Or do we let it overwhelm us and wallow around, lost in the darkness?
The struggle is when our daily habits, affirmations and commitments are most important. Picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other can be the most important thing you do all day.
Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate a good cry. In fact, crying can sometimes be the best thing you can do. When we cry our body releases endorphins. That’s why crying actually makes us feel better when we’re done. There’s a physiological reason for it – that’s why we do it! There is also value in physically expressing our frustration (in a way that is not harmful to ourselves or others, of course!) That may mean punching a pillow, but taking a walk or run or hitting the gym is a more productive method. But, if all you have is a pillow…go for it.
The problem comes when we stay in that space. Those methods are designed for short term relief, not a long term residence. Like trying to run all four wheels on spare tires, you’re not going to get far before you have a blowout and can’t go any farther. You’re stuck.
That’s why it’s important, in the midst of the storm, to find the calm eye. That place where you can retreat, recoup, and regenerate. Your peaceful place may be prayer. It may be meditation. It may be some intellectual pursuit. Whatever it is for you, hold onto it. This is where you will find the strength to keep repeating an affirmation that seems far away. Where you gather up the last bits of energy to make one more business call or to say no to activities or relationships that are not helping you.
While the struggle rages around you, get into the place of peace and understand one thing: this storm is what makes you the person worthy of your future success. We all have to go through it. Whether or not we go through it again and again depends on how well we weather the storm and prepare for the next one.
Your booms are made during the busts. Plant well.