Tough times never last, but strong people always do. A strong person looks at the problem, challenge or difficulty and thinks how can I deal with this? What are my options? How can I turn this mess into an incredible success? Hard conditions are just opportunities for you to become a hero! These stretch you and help you grow. Once you are stretched you stay stretched. So when you are in a tight spot, be grateful and ask, what can I learn from this?
Great leaders emerge from turbulent times.
If you plant a tree, the best way is to dig a very deep hole and place the seed into it. When the seed is put in, it feels cold, isolated and everything is pitch black. But with time, water and sunshine the little seeds grows stronger and stronger it develops deep roots that make it impossible for a grown man to pull out with his bare hands. One day this little seed will grow into a magnificent specimen of a tree that will last for 100’s of years. On the other hand if you just move the soil a little above the surface and put the seed in. It will not develop the deep roots and it will be very weak. If a strong wind comes it will either blow away or it will up rooted, or if it does manage somehow to grow it will bend and break. Either way the second will be a poor specimen and require lots of help or it will die. Which do you choose to be the first or second tree?
Realize that life is unpredictable there are no guarantees for anything. How do you know that you will live to see tomorrow? Especially in business these are very uncertain times. I hear people talking about plans for three months from now, we are going to ….. Really? Can you 100% promise that will happen? Of course you can’t. No one can. So don’t fall into the trap of living in the future. Now is all we have! the past is gone and the future is an illusion. Your power is in the moment.
What is going on now in the business world is incredible! Everything is so chaotic. Everything is being turned upside down and changing. What was right is now wrong and what was supposed to be wrong is now right. Confused? Welcome to the club. Competion is more fierce now than in any time in history. Customers a more fickle and less loyal. For those companies that don’t man up and start raising their staff to lead and to take responsibility and to know that he / she has the support of the company behind them, will be left in the dirt. It is a frightening, stressful and confusing time. However for the brave at heart the opportunities are limitless. You need to face the fear, uncertainty and the unknown and do what you have to do. Move into it instead of playing it safe and pulling back. Go into the change, let it come over you like a wave, stand your ground and see what happens. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.! You will toughen up and become a force to be reckoned with. If you resist that thing will persist, but if you befriend it , then this thing that is frightening you will lose all its power, and you will transcend it. Be like water, adapt to the situation. New conditions require different techniques.
A leader is not someone who knows the way and never makes a mistake. He / she is the person who is prepared to take a step without knowing but learns from every experience. You could not tie your shoes when you came out of your mother’s womb could you? But with time, practice and messing up a lot, now you can do it even if you were blind folded. Can’t you?
The brave stand. They deal with the fear before it overcomes them. When you are uncomfortable, unsure, nervous, you are outside your comfort zone. Most people stop, freeze, and look for the escape hatch. I say run into the confusion, the difficult circumstances are scary but also exhilarating. A real leader knows that the best time to lead is in hard times. The more extreme the conditions the more excited he becomes because he can see what he is made of, and he gets to step into his greater self. The rewards will soon follow such bravery. Even if the relative success is slow in materializing it does not matter, because he / she knows that he had the courage to do what others were to afraid to try. When you live and work like this, the things that filled you with discomfort become less and less. Eventually you face fear and go into it without hesitating just like you were going into a shower. Get the clothes of, get in there, and cleanse yourself. This is what dealing with fear in this way does, it cleanses, purifies and makes you strong.
Learn to become comfortable with discomfort. World class leaders do things everyday to stretch themselves and that causes them to confront their limitations. You can only grow, develop and progress when, you have nervousness in the pit of your stomach and discomfort in the core of your body. The majority of people in society teach us that feeling uncomfortable is a bad thing. It should be avoided. This results in us playing it safe and staying small, ignorant and unfulfilled.We stay within our routines and daily tasks, this makes us feel safe and at home. The problem with living like this is that because we cling to the safety of the harbor of the world we know, there is no chance for us to experience adventure. We fail to conquer new lands, and never summit to our peak. A tragic way to live is resisting opportunities that change brings, and it is also the saddest way to die. To have been born but never to have lived is what quitters will have to deal with at the end of their lives. It is not that things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult!
Anytime you try something new, it is going to feel strange, weird, different. Going into growth and change is bound to feel strange, but this is a very good sign. You are wiring in new patterns of thinking and acting. New forms of knowledge are being installed. You are pioneering new areas and expanding your personal frontiers. How great is that? Until next time I wish you peace, love and success!
Martin Acton sensei