Do Your Struggles Define You?
This thought, or should I say question, crossed my mind as I was standing in the shower this morning and I spent the whole time while I was in the shower mulling over the answer. Before you proceed, what would your answer be to this question “right now”. As a plot spoiler, you may find that your thoughts change by the end of the post.
We all have struggles at times in our lives. Sometimes they’re pretty insignificant and other times it may seem like everything is a struggle. I have several struggles in my IT consulting business right now: getting as much business as I think we’re capable of handling, and getting good fees for the services we provide are two obvious ones that come to mind.
I have struggles with our house. We are in the process of having a house built and moving out of the only real home our kids have ever known. We are having struggles with communication from the builder, we don’t know when the house will be ready, we don’t know when best to sell our house (we have listed it), we don’t know if we’ll get the price that we think it’s worth. I could go on and on, each of these thoughts contribute to what might be called struggles.
I have struggles with health. While my autoimmune condition continues to improve, it’s not like I jump out of bed every morning with a bounce in my step. Each day of my healing journey is one small step in the journey.
I could list a few more struggles but that’s really not the point of this post. The point is, do I allow these struggles to define me? And I really don’t think I do. In fact, I’m very confident that I don’t.
What does define me is my passion for life and helping others along the way. I’m not hiding from my struggles, but I’m not letting them define me either. I am here to make a difference in the areas of Wellness, Prevention and Healing. It doesn’t matter that I’m not a doctor, it doesn’t matter that I don’t have credential letters behind my name. What matters is that I have a story, and I have a passion to share it. What matters is that I’m doing so.
I was recently asked to consider my participation in a “mental health round table” in my local community. I truly look forward to the opportunity to make a difference locally. I was also asked to participate in a committee around health and wellness, and creating an event in our local community. Details are still being ironed out, and I look forward to this as well.
I am also the Community Manager for a global online community (called Heal Health Care Now), working with Dr. Lissa Rankin with a vision to “put the care back in health care”. This is a work in progress, and it presents a real opportunity to make a difference on a much larger scale.
When I get up every morning, I acknowledge, and believe it or not I actually show gratitude for my struggles. I honestly believe that they are here to teach me a lesson or two. I have no idea what the road looks like on the other side of these struggles, but I know that there is a path with my name on it. So I keep going. I keep taking steps every single day.
Where will this path take me? Truth is, I don’t know. I could be on stages all over the world some day, or I may never see a stage. I could be recognized as “the man that Creates Healthy Communities”, or I may not get to be known well at all. I have no control of, and I’m not attached to, any of the outcomes that MAY happen. What I do have control of is the decision to keep moving forward, the decision to peak in at the doors of opportunity that are presented along the way, the choice to open some and to close others. Where will I end up? I don’t know, but for a moment there I lost all thought about any of my struggles.
I have a confession. I wake up every single morning hoping that one or more of my existing struggles will be behind me. I know that one day they will, and I also know that I will be presented with others along the way. After all, that’s a part of life. Do my struggles define me? I’m getting a pretty big “NOPE”. How about you? Do your struggles define you, or are they simply a part of your path, and dare I say “your path to your own personal greatness”?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Lao Tzu
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Congratulations Ken, we too just moved into a custom home and I am well aquatinted with the challenges that process can bring. I believe you are right that the ” struggle ” does not define me but perhaps my reaction to the less pleasant events in my life do.
I also paused at the point in your post where you are not clear about “being on stage or not” is that something you strive for?
The process of building a custom house certainly helps you learn more about yourself, and your family members as well.
Re the “being on stage” comment, I have had about 8 or 9 friends tell me that “they see me on stage telling my story”. If you hear something like that once or twice, it’s one thing, but if you hear it this many times it resonates a lot more. I do have visions (thoughts) of being on stage, telling my story, and using my message as encouragement for people to “find and rewrite their own story”. To answer your question, it is something that I see happening, but at this point I haven’t pursued it aggressively. I am exploring options locally to do this and have the distinct feeling that it will start happening soon.
Thanks for asking.
Life’s a package deal, right? And struggles are part of life. Our struggles do not define us or require us to live in victimhood. But I think they can, when we allow them to, serve a positive purpose in our lives despite the pain. Our struggles and our suffering are temporary states of being.
I appreciate your words about not being attached to any specific outcome, but, rather, being open to the possibilities. This, in itself, can take us to places we’d never even imagined. Our intentions, and choices, and actions are made on a moment-to-moment basis. Our paths are truly open-ended.
With such appreciation,