There is always some struggle. There is always some difficulty. There is always challenge. Something is always kicking your ass. It might be something at work, a project or a superior. It might be something at home: your kids or a routine. Something’s going to be after you, gnawing on you, causing you headaches. You can try to run, and that seems to work for awhile. The problem is, it is still there when you return. You can run to the other side of the country and the problem will still be here when you come back.
When do we finally deal with it? How long will we wait? How long will we wait to ask for help? How long will we wait to confront our demons? How long?! I ask this not only for you but for me as well. We all have our ’stuff’ to confront, to deal with. What have you faced lately that was difficult? What had you been putting off because it is hard? The difficult conversation with the kid? Or, the spouse? The confrontation with loved ones is always hard, but it can be so necessary for growth and relief. It is how you get better. Note the relief part: if you’ve been holding something in for seemingly forever and haven’t taken any opportunity to let it out, you’re in for major relief once it finally comes out. Think about something you’ve been let bottle inside for months — for months. Something’s been bothering you for that long and you haven’t spoken to anyone about it? You haven’t spoken with anyone about due to embarrassment, due to fear of looking bad in the eyes of others, due to pride, due to reputation. Only these things fester in our minds and mix with our emotions and become terrible inner head trash for us. We need relief! We need to let it out! We need to let it go! We need to exorcise it! That’s what it is: it’s like a demon that needs exorcising. Festering thoughts and difficult emotions need an outlet. They need to be let go. You need to let them out.
Legendary business coach Jim Rohn said that we need to clean up our neglect. Usually, it is neglect that is what’s festering in our lives. Somethings we’ve decided to not deal with, to let alone, when what they really needed was our intervention. Only we chose not to deal with them because it was too hard, too much of a pain in the ass at the time. It was way easier to do nothing, let it sit, to be nonconfrontational, which is what most all of us are. But confrontation is a good thing when it comes to active problem-solving, especially in our personal lives. There has to be a confrontation if there is going to be positive change. Look at most good parenting: highly confrontational. Look at most good coaching: confrontational. The more we keep ourselves in check, disciplined and on-plan, the less neglect there is in our lives. We’re not allowing things to slip through like sand through our fingers. We’re on top of things. We know our numbers. We know where we stand at all times. We’re both keen and savvy. We’ve got this. This discipline sets us free, just like Jocko promised. We must get involved in our own positive change. We must stay and fight.
No one’s going to do it for you. People will help you, even do it with you, but no one’s doing to do it for you. You cannot outsource the gym. You cannot outsource raising good kids. You cannot outsource everything in your career. You cannot outsource positive change in your life. You’ve got to take control of the reins and make it happen. Just like leadership and parenting are contact sports, so is affecting positive change. It starts with discipline and structure, daily habits that work to steer the ship in the right direction.
Just because no one’s going to do it for you doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there ready to help. But we’ve got to be ready to receive the help. Often, ego gets in the way of us receiving the help. While we certainly are stronger than we think, we may not see it for ourselves until others point it out to us. We’re too close to the problem to think clearly. There are people out there, ready to help. There are people out there who have solved your problem. Don’t let ego and pride get in the way of clear thinking. And never be too proud to ask for help when you need it.
Think about how great life will be once the problem is solved and behind you. You’ll be that much stronger for having overcome it. You’ll be able to help others in similar tough spots. You will have finally won the tough battle, and you’ll be ready to fight another one. Think about what you’ll do to make your difference for others once you’ve won the battle. How would you advise someone who is now in the spot you were in? What would you say to them? How would you encourage them? What could you make happen for them? How could you point them in a positive direction?
Get some perspective. One of the unfortunate realities of life is when we’re going through the torrential storm, it is all we see. We cannot see through. We don’t realize how temporary it can be. We don’t see solutions. We certainly don’t see sunny skies. Yet terrible storms, even the ones in our minds, are temporary. Tough life situations are temporary. Current conditions do not at all reflect future conditions when you are working to create something compelling, something extraordinary. Remember: you have overcome similar, difficult situations in the past. This is another one of those. Gain the perspective. While things may be tough now, they are temporary. Conditions improve. You will get better.