One of the most influential moments in my own life occured a few years ago. I met a small child who had been a victim of assault for most of his life. He had endured unspeakable hardship – stuff so brutal that I still struggle to comprehend and process it all. His burden seemed immense and unbearable. He was orphaned, kidnaped and held prisoner in a war zone, all before the age of eight. And against all odds, he had survived. Meeting with this child radically changed my own perspective on strength.
In my own life, I faced years of being bullied. When I was 12, I found my best friend after he committed suicide. I changed schools nearly every year. I failed to achieve my goals as an athlete, and then I failed to achieve most of the other goals I set for myself. When my own perspective was radically altered, I realized that dwelling on my past was senseless. I learned that regardless of my own hardship, there was someone somewhere that would trade their problems for my own in a heartbeat.
So far, I’ve learned that overcoming anything is hard work. It requires perseverance, discipline and humility. It means letting go of feeling ashamed, helpless, vulnerable, weak, angry and scared. It is a daily decision to fight for strength, power and control.
My perspective on strength is this:
If I feel weak – GOOD. This is the place I need to create strength.
I lost all my money – GOOD. I’ll prioritize and execute a plan to make sure it never happens again. And I’ll live within my means now, no matter what that looks like.
I didn’t get promoted – GOOD. Now I know I have to do better at work.
I’m overweight – GOOD. Time to stop eating junk and crush those goals in the gym.
In every painful experience lies an opportunity for good. Take time for some serious self-reflection. Own your weaknesses. Make a plan for change and write it down. Then do it. Be disciplined and consistent. Start with a perspective of strength.