Mr. Teague (far right) changed my life with one act of kindness.
I was 17 and he made me feel seen–he made me reframe my struggle.
I published my book The Gift of Struggle for one reason: to help people. I didn’t want to do a big fancy book tour, I didn’t want to do much media (aside from some guest appearances on some awesome podcasts, which I can do in my barn!). I wanted to share my story because I hoped it might help someone. That was it! Despite what some may think because of my job title, I really don’t like the spotlight. I’ve always shied away from big networking events, big celebrations, loud awards–no judgement against them, it’s just not my thing.
So after the book hit the shelves in June, I was excited, I was proud, and I was humbled. But mostly, I just kept it moving–I’m a busy working dad after all! What happened next stopped me in my tracks on more mornings than I can count.
I’m an early riser, and after I make breakfast for the kiddos and get them off to school, I often sit down in my barn and check my email. One morning in July, a heartfelt, vulnerable, thoughtful email from a complete stranger hit my inbox. I read the note and it brought me near tears. The writer had randomly picked up my book in an airport (check your local Hudson 😉) and read it on their flight home. They reached out and shared how the book resonated with them, then shared some of their own stories of struggle. I was moved and inspired. Reading my book inspired them to view and reframe their struggles differently. It was the exact thing I hoped for. Then another wave hit me! My mantra throughout this book-writing process has been:
Behind every struggle is a lesson. That’s the gift.
Leaders share their gift with others.
And this person was DOING the very thing I center my whole leadership philosophy on–SHARING their gift. I was thrilled!
Then another email like that one came in. And then another. And before I knew it, dozens of people I had never met (and some I had!) reached out to share how the book impacted them; they shared their stories of their own struggles and the amazing lessons they learned through the process.
As time has gone on, the stories continue to come in. They’re incredible. And in the spirit of my mantra, I am honored and compelled to pay it forward, and share these amazing stories too (with the author’s permission of course).
With that, I would like to announce the launch of my new leadership series: Everybody Struggles. Each month, I will be giving the proverbial mic to the amazing people reaching out and sharing their stories of struggle by featuring them on my blog. These are all unique, authentic stories of struggle, and so are the lessons–the gifts–each one ultimately brought. To me, this is more than a series, it’s a movement. It’s a way to connect with others, to learn about the universality of struggle in its many forms, and to read the life-changing, healing messages from others in this amazing community of leaders. We’ve already started by sharing Andrew Harrell’s post during the week of Veterans Day to honor those who have served!
Make sure to subscribe to the blog so the latest posts always go straight to your inbox. And if you’d like to share your own story of struggle (just with me or for the blog) all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (note: I will always reach out for permission before ever sharing anything externally).