July 26, 2012

Glory in the Struggle

Building a business takes time.  And effort.  And pain.  Lots of pain.

“Oh sh*t, one of my top stars just quit.”
“Oh frack, the employee we fired for stealing is threatening legal action.”
“Oh cripes, the sales team made the same mistake again?!”

There are days when just going to work feels like a grueling crawl through the mud.  We’ve all been there.

I can deal with this just fine if I’m making visible progress.  The worst is when I’m NOT making visible progress.  I don’t know if I’m even crawling in the right direction.  This is when the doubt and demotivating thoughts creep in.

A few years ago I wanted to begin building a unique culture in the company.  I decided to begin reading and discussing books with my management team.  Our first book was “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.  I explained to everyone how the book had changed my life, and my faith that it would also change theirs.  Everyone grumbled about a reading assignment each week on top of their regular jobs.  For the six weeks no one did the reading.  They rolled their eyes and faked the discussions.  They thought I was wasting their time.

I was discouraged.  My faith was shaken.  Was this a big waste of time?  I felt like I was wandering pointlessly in the wilderness.  But I persisted and kept us marching in the same direction.

One Monday Joe, a management team member, came to our meeting bursting with positive energy.

“Chris, I read the whole book last week.  I’ve applied a few lessons with my wife over the weekend.  It works!  Thanks for book.  This can change my life!”

Joe’s enthusiasm was infectious.  The other team members took notice.  “Hey, maybe there’s something to this book after all,” they thought.  Two weeks later everyone was participating enthusiastically.  They even started reading groups with their own teams.

It was then that I realized “There is glory in the struggle.”

The struggle is where things happen.  It’s where you move the business forward.  There can be no victory without struggle.  Struggle is glory.

This realization has given me strength.  Whenever I feel discouraged by difficulty, pain and doubt I remember “There is glory in the struggle.”  It’s like tapping an endless source of energy.

There is glory in your struggle too.  Forward!