“Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.” ~Bryant McGill
He silently packed his bags. Brushing passed her, he walked out the door and never looked back. Stephanie fell to her knees, shaking uncontrollably as muffled sobs escaped her body. The pain was unbearable.
She had two babies- the oldest five and the youngest three. What was she going to do? She had no job, no experience and no marketable skills.
Six months passed and still he wouldn’t return her calls. The house was in foreclosure, the car was in danger of being repossessed, and she was down to the last $100 in her savings account. Thoughts of suicide incessantly lingered on the fringes of her thoughts invading them more each day, but she had those two babies.
Then one day the tears dried up. The hurt and devastation morphed into anger and determination. She would come through this. She would not just survive. She would thrive- for her two babies!
It took seven years. She lost the house and had to live with friends. She worked two full-time jobs, cleaned houses on weekends, and earned an online degree. She struggled, she suffered, she cried, but she kept going- because of her two babies.
Stephanie became the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a fortune five hundred company and makes well over six figures. She repaired her credit, bought a new home, fully funded her two babies’ college funds, and is preparing to start her own company. She is the hero to her two babies.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” ~Andy Rooney
Most of us mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of heartache and struggle. We desire a life of comfort and ease, void of difficulty. However, the truth of the matter is that happiness–true gratification– is shrouded in struggle and facing challenges gives us the traction needed to move forward and live purpose-driven lives. A few fundamental changes always accompany personal growth. There are three hard truths about personal growth and development.
1. Change is a big part of growth.
Stephanie had to change (although the change was forced upon her) to achieve what she did. The experience of being left by her husband and losing almost everything changed who she was. She had to adapt and overcome. Don’t be afraid of change and don’t run from challenges because every challenge is an opportunity for growth.
2. Pressure and struggle are the fertilizers of growth.
Consider bodybuilding as an example. The basic strategy for building muscle is to keep lifting heavier weights. The stress you put on your muscles is what helps them increase in size and strength. The opposite is also true. Avoiding struggle is the quickest way to stunt your personal growth, become stagnant, ensure that you never fully optimize your potential, and doom yourself to a life of mediocrity.
3. You learn more from failure than you do from success.
Failure is the best way to learn and grow. When you fail at something you usually analyze both the situation and your efforts to try to determine what went wrong. Failure makes you think. It makes you assess and it makes you change. Success feels good but it reinforces what you are already doing. It causes little thought, assessment, or change.
Life’s inherent challenges are what make it possible to thrive. Pain produces progress. Without challenges and the weight of your own personal load there would be nothing to overcome, nothing to achieve, nothing that could bring you happiness. You can’t appreciate the good without experiencing the sting of the bad. Bad is what makes “good” good!