Students of Struggle-
If we’re lucky, we’ll meet great people in our life who help us live up to our potential. Dr. Joe is one of those people for me. He’s also Chapter 7 in my book, The Gift of Struggle.
I believe we often simply need an encouraging source of wisdom to accelerate our journey and realize our potential. Dr. Joe is helping me give you some of his wisdom to help you do just that.
Enjoy his perspective on the Power of Reframing your Struggles to find the Gifts.
Hail the Underdogs!
I have invested a significant part of my career focusing on Leadership Development for improved performance in business and, by extension, in personal relationships. What I’ve learned is that Leadership is not about operations and productivity; although important, these are the outcome, not the goal of dynamic leadership. While the role and responsibility are grounded in performance, and strong working relationships, leadership is primarily focused on the Authentic Self.
Why Should I Decide that Struggle Is a Good Thing?
Leaders need to build psychological contracts based on both truth and trust, the foundations of all relationships. This requires varying degrees of openness, emotional clarity and vulnerability so you develop a clear, coherent life and career narrative. Otherwise, in the absence of information, the people you lead will make up stories in their minds, in turn lowering trust and increasing the risk of burning vs. building interpersonal bridges.
Performance experts, from the executive boardroom to competitive sports, emphasize the importance of having a secure, consistent base from which people can strive to accomplish their ambitious goals. These specialists also quickly point out that these aspirations will remain out of reach if we do not venture outside of our comfort zones.
All of this sounds very good, except for one problem: It has been my experience as both a Psychologist, as well as, a fellow life-traveler that most individuals run the risk of being victimized by self-defeating life marker events, events that change and define our life’s path. Often the way people process their greatest challenges or failures is grounded in shame, blame, and ego-diminishing threats.
Therefore, an important step in connecting the dots as a leader is to understand how we interpret our most important life marker events – most of which are our Struggles. How you perceive them, (uplifting, painful, burdensome, etc.) will shape your core values and beliefs, which in turn will determine the choices you make as a spouse, parent, peer, manager, competitor, etc.
What Happens When I Choose to See the Gifts?
On rare occasions, over fifty years of professional experiences, I’ve met men and women who have shared a unique reflection of their life-stories. These people not only survive but prosper in the face of insurmountable odds. I admire their courage and have grown from the lessons learned from both the joy of winning and the pain of facing disappointment and adversity. A few have taken a bold step as teachers. Bobby calls these special people Students of Struggle.
Bobby share his perspective as one of these unique students. I met him in the early stages of his career, first in operations, later as a manager/leader. I saw him make mistakes. What I appreciated most was how he refused to accept second-best and rookie errors. He is one of those individuals who has blessed and inspired me and so many others by his ability to reframe his struggles to share his wisdom and courage with others on their leadership journeys.
Bobby captures this critical leadership dynamic in The Gift of Struggle by showing us in detail that events in and of themselves do not directly cause people to behave in one way or another. We are in control of our responses to challenges large and small. The book is a guidebook to power leadership, with specific stories and examples. He shatters a long list of “Alpha Myths” such as: “Powerful men and women never cry, never let others see them sweat, and always operate with a zero-error tolerance for self and others!”
You Have More Potential than You Realize
When leaders choose not to hide their vulnerability and instead can operate in relation to the lessons learned from both best effort, victories and defeats, they can change the concept of “defeat” to “developmental opportunities.”
The Gift of Struggle is a compass for emerging and experienced leaders! It is a must read!
Dr. Joe Currier
Psychologist, Executive Coach, and Author
Dr. Currier is a psychologist specializing in leadership, development, executive coaching, and much more. He frequently serves as a personal coach and consultant to senior business executives, world-class athletes and professional team managers. He has also authored five books on leadership. Learn more about Dr. Currier here.