We all Struggle

We went on a family adventure to the tubing hills in Washington to end our holiday break. After several adrenaline induced runs, the line of people waiting for the conveyor belt to carry them up the left side of the hill got painfully long.

To the right was a steep hill you could walk while dragging your tube. I asked my boys, “Are we walking the hill again or taking the magic carpet this time?”. They glanced towards the long line, then back at the slope we’d struggled to climb before that run.

Griffith, my scrappy six-year-old, shouted without hesitation, “The hill, Dad!” Off he went up the slope with a small handful of others crazy enough to drag their own tubes. My seven-year-old, Santino, immediately followed his brother who was tugging a tube twice his size as he yelled; “You can do it Griff!” They looked back at me, smiled, and pumped their little legs as hard as they could to make it back to the top.

The climbs up the hill continued and we took turns helping and encouraging each other. In the blink of an eye our two-hour tubing session was over.

As we were packing it in, I overheard countless people complaining about all the time they wasted waiting for the conveyor belt. But we were beat! And we couldn’t have been more satisfied with all the runs we got in that morning.


Every Struggle teaches us Something – The Gift

Do we choose the steep climb or the easier way up? Do we speak up or remain silent? Recognize or criticize? Leaders always have a choice of direction in every decision we make.

We chose the steep hill that morning. It tested us every time. We struggled. Griff was tired and wanted to quit – yet he didn’t want to wait in the long line. Choosing he steep hill gave him a gift – he did have what it takes to do it yet one more time.


Leadership is Sharing the Gifts

Leaders choose their impact, starting with the smallest choices. An hour and several runs into our session, the boys ran into some friends. They were equally frustrated with the long line at the conveyer belt. They didn’t think they had the strength and will to carry their own tubes. Until they saw Griff. When Griff motioned them to follow and showed them the way, the day was transformed for them.

After our morning, my boys and their friends were asking when we could do it again.

The choice to go right made my boys stronger. Sharing the gift did the same for their friends.

My hope for you is that you decide to choose the steep hill. The way up is harder, but the ride down is more exciting. Sharing what you learn is more fulfilling. Because we all know that anything worth doing is a steep and hard climb.


Become a Student of Struggle

This story is about choice. But our struggles are unique to us and they are not created equal.

If you’re a leader who is struggling because you chose the “crowded line versus the steep hill” in some aspect of your journey, then I would recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is something important that I’m taking the easy way out of? Why?
  2. When have I had a similar struggle I can learn from?
  3. What do I need to change?
  4. Who can help me?

Students of struggle ask themselves these types of questions to find the gift.

What questions do you ask yourself to move in the right direction? Share in the comments below! 


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