Struggling is hard...and it's not usually a whole lot of fun. Whether you are struggling emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, or in any other way; it's tough. As a teacher, trainer, coach, and instructor, there's one phrase that I love to hear...and that's when someone through trembling lips or a weary body says, "I can't do this much longer." To those people, I say you miss the point of the struggle. The point isn't to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Rather, in those moments where you're giving everything you've got, be mindful of that. Be proud, that in that moment, when your circumstances are beating you down, you're still able (and more importantly willing) to give it everything you've got. It's a blessing to be able to do that. It's a gift...one that you can train and improve in yourself.
I've been a teacher for 16 years now. The gift of struggling is something that is being kept from so many young people. I can't tell parents how to do their job, because the Lord knows, I'm nowhere close to the expert on parenting. I can encourage though. Please, let your kids struggle. Let your students struggle. Let your clients struggle. Struggling is so important because it's in and through those times that we grow the most. We are like the iron used to make a sword. While the fire and hammering seem like cruel processes, they are crucial in transforming iron into a strong, sharp blade. By avoiding struggle, by avoiding the first and hammering, you are avoiding the only way of forging your body, mind, and spirit into a weapon. Don't rob yourself of that process. Embrace it. Don't keep someone away from the forge for how you think they will handle the struggle. Teach them to embrace it.
Whatever you do...keep struggling. Keep fighting to forge the greatest version of yourself!
This photo is from the Phoenix 50 that I completed (successfully thank God) in July 2016. You'd think that having to battle through fifty consecutive fights would leave my memory a little blurry, but man I remember exactly when this picture would have been taken.
For those who aren't in the martial arts world, getting kicked in the leg doesn't feel as great as you'd think. I distinctly recall stalking Sempai Mike (above) around the ring, attacking his left leg. I was looking for something. I was looking for the exact moment captured in the photo. You see, even though we were in a fight, I'd prefer not to hurt or injure anyone. What I wanted Sempai to do was to just pick up that lead left leg, so that I could sweep the right one out from under him. I worked, and worked, and worked for that one opportunity. If I missed the sweep, I wouldn't get another chance. He would have caught on to the plan, changed the way he was fighting me, and then who knows what would have happened.
You've got to be ready. You've got to be ready to jump on opportunities when they present themselves. Those of us north of 30 years old know that some opportunities only come about once. Not once a week or a year...once in a lifetime. If you're not ready, you will literally miss the chance of your life.
So here's a challenge for you. One day this week put your phone down on your kitchen table, and go for a walk Look for an opportunity to bless someone else and post how your experience in the comments below.