Every great story, every hero, every inspiring moment is born out of adversity and perseverance.
Conflict and battles are the stuff of myth and legend, and we love these stories because, well, we can relate. Our lives are filled with mini-versions of this type of drama: Pushing through. Overcoming obstacles.
I am not talking about fighting in a vicious, mean way, but rather in a way that says, "I am responsible for my future. No one else is going to do this for me."
Think of your life as an epic battle.
There are those who will roll up their sleeves and take it on. Others find themselves caught in the middle with no choice but to stand up for themselves. Then there are those who observe life happening all around them, choosing to shrink back in fear, always remaining a spectator.
Every time I faced a transition in life, some sort of struggle invariably ensued. At certain points, I became uneasy, unsettled, like the bottom was going to fall out and my life was about to roll out in scattered pieces onto the floor. During these times, a part of me always wanted to run to the comfort and familiarity of negative thinking—convincing myself of the worst possible scenarios as they played out in my head.
It's okay to indulge in the downward spiral—for a time. For a spell. Perhaps that part is necessary for survival, as if it were the pre-phase of fighting through; a strict requirement necessary for coming to grips with the reality of the situation. But once you've sufficiently wallowed in the mire, it's time to get a grip, and get going.
Here is where you must be prepared to fight.
Some good Christians may not set well with the idea of a good fight. However, anything worthwhile, anything good and true, whether for yourself or for the greater world around you, is going to involve a slugfest of sorts. Growth and progress do not happen by chance or by accident, whether it is your career, your health, your marriage, or your mission. Even when you have a plan—a good plan!—it will take a great deal of determination and unpleasant effort to move it forward.
You will run into resistance.
You will have multiple setbacks.
There will be strong, intimidating forces whose shadows loom large over you.
The voices in your head will make you crazy.
But know this: Every great leader grows through adversity and persistence. Stephen Snyder, author of Leadership and the Art of Struggle, says this:
"A leader with a growth mindset is consciously aware that ability is not innate and unchangeable but instead a malleable quality that can continuously be augmented through practice and persistence. … You seek out new learning opportunities by pursuing challenging assignments instead of taking safer and easier routes."