“Your deepest struggle can, if you’re willing and open, produce your greatest strength.”
~Oprah Winfrey

There are many quotes and sayings that echo this sentiment, and they can sometimes be annoying to read, especially if you’re going through a struggle.

“What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” they say. “I’m strong enough,” you think.” “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” they say. “It’s dark enough. I don’t need any more darkness,” you think. “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow,” they say. “Shut up,” you think.

Maybe there are all these sayings to simply help us get through the tough times. And maybe there are all these sayings because they’re simply true.

I’ve found, and I’ve witnessed with clients, friends, colleagues, and family, that we often are stronger after our struggle. We often do learn something, and it’s often something we’re better off – much better off – knowing. It’s often something that we may have been oblivious to, or resistant to, or ignorant of.

For instance, my clients who just can’t let go of work. They “have no one to delegate to” and “can’t let anything go until tomorrow.” And while that may be true, when things hit the fan, and they simply can’t get everything done, somehow there seems to be someone else to pick it up. Or somehow it seems to often still be okay. My clients learn, sometimes kicking and screaming all the way, that they can let some things go. And this ability to let go becomes one of their leadership strengths.

Or, my own need to overdo and overachieve. A habit I’m working hard to stop but can, often, pick back up without knowing it. When I’ve faced my worst struggles, I’ve had to step back. And I’ve had to let go. And I’ve had to rely on others. And I’ve had to ask for help. All things that were difficult for me. All things that I needed to learn to do. All things that I can now count as my strengths.

Struggling sucks, and yet struggling exists. And it is often true that struggling can, and does, provide the greatest learning and produce the greatest strengths.

When have you struggled, and then grown strong? What have you learned?
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For support in struggling well and struggling for growth, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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