Once upon a time a seven-year old boy and his family were forced off their farm. At the age of nine, his mother died. When he was 22, he lost his job. At 24 his business failed and his possessions were seized to pay the debt. At 25, he ran for state legislature and won. At 26 he was engaged but his fiance died before the wedding. Afterwards, he plunged into depression and suffered a nervous breakdown. At 34 he ran for Congress and was defeated. He ran again the next year and won. At 45 he ran for a Senate seat and lost. Two years later he was a vice-presidential candidate and lost. Then at the age of 51, after enduring a lifetime of failure, obstacles, and opposition he was elected president of the United States. We are of course, talking about Abraham Lincoln who happens to be my personal favorite president.
Imagine you’re at the gym working out. How do you develop your strength? You add resistance, right? You will not become any stronger by doing the same exercises and lifts at the same weight over and over again. Strength comes from resistance. The more you add to the bar, the stronger you become. And the same thing is true for sports, business, and life. Abraham Lincoln developed into the brilliant leader he was as president only after going through a lifetime of obstacles and opposition.Without the setbacks, he wouldn’t have reached his potential.
The more obstacles we face in life, the better we become. This doesn’t mean we should search every day for an obstacle or a mess. It means we should prepare our minds and bodies for the inevitable obstacles and oppositions which show up all the time..
Recently I listened to Tim Storey on a podcast and he offered the following advice: “We need to turn our mess into our greatest message.” This means we must embrace and appreciate the struggles and opposition. We need challenges to bring out the greatness that lies within us. This is where we learn to separate ourselves from the pack. Our failures, obstacles, and opposition are our greatest teachers. It’s not a matter if we have a mess of situation in our life, it’s a matter of when. However, the greats learn how to take these difficult times and make themselves better. Then they take what they’ve learned from the experience and share it with others. Turn your mess into your message.
The more comfortable we become, the less growth we see. If things are easy, growth does not occur, and we begin to head in the wrong direction. In order to get to the next level we have to be willing to take risks. We have to risk failure in order to achieve greatness. Staying with the same weight and always playing it safe might feel comfortable, but we must leave our comfort zone to grow.
“We are only as good and as strong as our adversity makes us.” ~Lewis Howes
Proverbs 27:17 says: “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In order to become the best version of ourselves we need to surround ourselves with others who challenge us. As the old saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s time to find a different room.” It’s natural to want to be the top dog, but it will lead to complacency. And soon you won’t be on top anymore. If we truly want to be great, we must surround ourselves with people who will bring out the best in us; people who uplift, motivate, challenge, and inspire us.
Iron sharpens iron.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, and organization. Message him for details.