Paul helps you find that strength to get through the struggle of tough times.
Look back on those struggles in your life and reflect on how you made it through.
Think about how far you’ve come since your last really tough time. Do you feel a sense of pride for your resilience, your growth? You should!
Successful people often boast more of the struggles they battled through than boast of their current success.
Struggle def: 1. (noun) A very difficult task. 2. (verb) Striving to achieve something in the face of difficulty. Which definition resonates with you?
Struggle is a bellwether of bounty. It is the leading indicator of success.
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Is there strength in the struggle?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Well, on today’s episode we’re going to talk about struggle. Struggle is something we all face from time to time. And recently after a keynote presentation, I had a couple individuals come up and they shared with me that they really needed to hear this message. And it’s the tough-time message based on my new book, Selling Through Tough Times. And, in the book, I emphasize several times that tough times are good. They don’t feel good, but they are good because of the positive change generated—the outcome that we eventually experience from those tough times. So, on today’s episode, we’re going to talk about finding strength through the struggle as we struggle through any tough time we may be experiencing.
And we know in sales, there are plenty of tough times, right? You’re facing tough times if you are new to sales and you’re struggling, if you’re an experienced veteran and you’re struggling to hit your number, or to find the energy and motivation to go out there and compete. And if you’re struggling to find that motivation, hey, you’re facing tough times as well. So on today’s episode, we’re going to talk about finding strength through the struggle.
Before we get into the episode, just a reminder to pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal. They surveyed a couple different economists, and they put the likelihood of a recession in 2024 at 48%. Forty-eight percent, so it’s not 50/50. There’s a better chance of not having one than having one, which is great, but now is the time to prepare for what could be a tough 2024.
So, let’s get right back to it. You know, the word struggle is chock full of emotion. When we—. Even when we hear that word, we begin reflecting on previous struggles that transport us to a time of suffering. And, once again, that pain becomes real. You truly can feel it. And it’s interesting, when we look back on those tough moments in our life, whether it’s personally, whether it’s professionally, we often ask ourselves, “Man, how did I make it through?” And we ask that question, as we reflect on those tough times, in brighter days. When things are good, we actually get a chance to think about it. And it’s just hard to imagine like, “Gosh, where did I find the strength back then? How did I make it through?”
Now what’s interesting is you experience tough times, you are strengthened by them. And when you reflect on previous tough times, you also may feel a sense of pride. And the reason why is because, yes, that struggle was painful, but it also represents a period of tremendous growth in your life. In that time, you were able to demonstrate resilience to push through. And at that point you may sit back and acknowledge it and say, “Wow, look at where I was and look at where I am now, how far I’ve come. It’s amazing.” So yes, we experience different emotions as we reflect on tough times.
Now, it’s interesting some of the other emotions that are displayed when we reflect on struggle. I have the privilege of getting to know several entrepreneurs over the years working with sales teams. I get to work with the owners, the men and women who started their companies. And these people are inspiring. And when I meet with these entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed something: it’s more common for them to boast about their early struggles than to glamorize any of the current success that they’re experiencing. They’d rather talk about the struggle than talk about their success. And it is inspiring to hear these leaders describe how they battled their way through the challenges and the struggle. And, that’s really where they learned and become motivated. And yes, that’s also where they fail, but they eventually find a way to succeed.
Other times we experience struggle and when we reflect on that struggle, sometimes we laugh about it. You know, the things that we thought were a big deal back then and how it was, yes, a struggle at the time, but it pales in comparison to what real struggle is. In fact, I remember reading an article one time, and the legendary Zig Ziglar even struggled early on in sales himself. And he actually highlighted his shortcomings as a door-to-door salesman by saying, “About the only things I sold during that period were my car and my furniture.” He was on the brink of bankruptcy, yet being successful now, or back then, I should say, he was able to laugh about it. So yes, again, struggle is chock full of emotions. It makes us feel pain. It reminds us of our suffering. We may feel a sense of pride. We may even get a little humor out of it. So, there are a myriad of emotions wrapped up in our unique struggles that we face.
But there is one common universal outcome, and that outcome is strength. Strength is found through the struggle. What’s interesting, when you research the word struggle, there are several different definitions. And it’s kind of interesting to compare some of the definitions. And I want you to think about this question here for a moment. I’m going to share two different examples of struggle, how it’s defined, and I want you to think about each one of them and ask yourself this question: Which describes your attitude toward struggle?
Here’s the first definition: a very difficult task.
Definition number two: striving to achieve something in the face of difficulty.
Now, reflecting on those two definitions: 1. a very difficult task or 2. striving to achieve something in the face of difficulty. Which definition resonates with you? Your response depends on whether you’re going to view struggle as a noun or as a verb.
That first definition, a very difficult task, that is a noun. The second, striving to achieve something in the face of difficulty, that is a verb. Now when you think about a noun—a noun implies a state of being. The second implies action, which is a verb. Struggle as a state of being implies fixed, stationary and static. But struggle, as a verb, implies motion, effort, energy. Now, when you think about how to strengthen yourself through struggle, you can’t wait for it to happen. The same way you can’t sit at the bench press and wait for strength. It only happens through action. That’s the only way you can exercise your muscles is by taking action. Struggle is a verb, it’s not a noun. You can’t wait your way through struggle and expect to be strengthened by it.
Another thing to consider with struggle—struggle is a bellwether of bounty. It is the leading indicator of success. So here’s another way to view that. The more you struggle, that means the closer you are to success. However, what happens when we are struggling, that pain that we experience manipulates our perception. Because of that intense pain, we believe that success is distant; it’s far from us; it’s not going to happen. Because of that pain, it obscures our view. So, with conviction, believe that struggle is here to strengthen you. And as you battle your way through whatever struggle you may be experiencing, I want to share a great quote. This quote is from Meng Tzu, the Chinese philosopher. He said,
“When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in this paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent.”
You know, at one point in my life, I was struggling. I had a really tough time. There were several just bad luck things that happened all at once. It’s amazing how that piles up. I was down in the dumps, struggling, but pushing through. And my dad shared that quote with me. What it did is it helped change my perspective. It helped me find strength, and I hope it does the same for you. And as you face whatever struggle you may be facing right now, realize that what you’re experiencing is here to prepare you, is to ready you for something far greater that is to follow. And what’s interesting, I don’t know how this happens, if it’s, if there’s any science behind it or what, but after my dad shared that quote with me and I changed my belief, there were some really great things that happened, and I hope the same is true for you.
Make it a big day.