I graduated about 500th out of 25 kids in high school, and that’s not 25 from the top. They made the decision to let me graduate the day of graduation itself. I was convinced if there were 524 jobs and 525 kids, that I would be the one left standing without a job.
I was told growing up, “You must be the dumbest kid alive.”, so I made that come true. Too often, we raise ourselves to people’s lowest expectations of us, don’t we? I was also ADHD or ADD or something – left handed, right brained. Today I would have been “diagnosed”. I’m glad I wasn’t – it would have just been one more excuse and one more way to play the victim.
I went into the army because I knew they wouldn’t reject me. Being in the army for six years gave me a lot of confidence, and while still in I began to explore my entrepreneurial side. Neither confidence nor success came overnight, it was through years of working at the right mindset and doing the right things that the new muscles of confidence and expertise were built.
During those years, too often I resorted back to the old mental muscles of “victim”, and other unhelpful stories in my head. But gradually, with patience and discipline, the muscles of persistence, speed of execution, confidence and expertise became my defaults.
Three decades later I’ve started nine companies in seven industries and two of them are on four continents, I’ve written two best sellers, including Business Book of the Year in 2010, and speak 100+ times a year now worldwide to audiences up to 12,000 people. It’s a great privilege to serve business owners and leaders in this way, and I can only do it because I struggled.
Are you struggling? You should. It’s the right thing for you. But struggle well. Don’t focus on struggling against the negative – there’s too much of that and it will overwhelm you. Struggle to grasp the few things that will make you who you need to become. Don’t look back – it’s a waste of time. Struggle forward, not backward. But know that you were made FOR the struggle. We all are, because the joy is not in the destination, but in the journey.
Take your journey by the scruff, figure out with Utter Clarity where you want to end up, and embrace the forward struggle. A weight lifter gets there by sweating. So will you. Be the bull dog. Keep going. Never give up. Struggle forward!