I’ve heard this from clients, friends, and family so many times. Surprisingly, I’ve found that entrepreneurs and business leaders share this most often, but it applies to all of us. In each conversation, the person sharing thought they were the only one struggling with _____ . Fill in that blank however you like. You know you’ve got something that fits in there…
- “I’m struggling with fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”
- “I’m struggling to lead well.”
- “I’m struggling in my relationship.”
- “I’m struggling to get my health in the right place.”
- “I’m struggling with anxiety.”
- “I’m struggling financially.”
- “I’m struggling to keep myself motivated.”
- “I’m struggling to be the parent I want to be.”
Here’s the good news. We all struggle. Every single one of us has our thing. So if you’re struggling with something right now, you’re not unique or special. You’re normal.
The bad news is this. We rarely talk about our struggles, so we all think we’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together. Since no one else is talking about their struggles, we don’t bring up ours. The last thing any of us wants is to be the one person in our circle who is battling something.
We want to be winners. We want to live Instagram-worthy lives that let our friends (and even people we don’t really like) know that we’ve made it. We want to be the example of success to those around us, and struggles taint that picture we’re working so hard to paint. So to maintain our picture-perfect lives, we carefully hide all our cracks and present ourselves as living life struggle-free.
When we all do that, we all end up feeling like we’re the only one. Unfortunately, though, when we hide the struggles they don’t go away. They’re still there, and even if no one else sees them, we experience them every day.
The worst part? Because no one knows we’re struggling, no one can help us. The people who care about us most and want to help us can’t. They don’t even know we need the help because we’ve done such a “good” job of covering it all up. So, we struggle on, alone.
That all changes when we open up. At that moment, when we share what we’re struggling with, and someone else tells us they’ve been there too, everything changes. We shift from “I thought I was the only one…” to “Thank God I’m normal.”
That’s when we unleash the power.
Feeling normal in our struggles reminds us that we’re not alone. And, if someone else has struggled with the same thing we do, we’re normal. Just that feeling of normalcy can be what helps us begin managing our challenges and moving through them rather than sitting in them.
That list of struggles I shared in the beginning – those are all of my struggles. I’ve battled fear, uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety. I’ve found myself grappling to stay motivated from time to time and lead at the level I want to. I’ve had relationships crash and burn, and I’ve fought hard to show up as the parent and spouse I need to be. My finances haven’t always been where I want them to be, and my fitness hasn’t been strong. Rarely, if ever, have I had a time in my life that was struggle-free.
You probably won’t either.
Again, here’s the good news. You’re not the only one.
Life’s hard and it’s filled with challenges for all of us. The more comfortable I’ve gotten being transparent, authentic, and sharing my own struggles, the more I’ve realized that we have the power to help one another. When we open up to the people in our circle that we trust, we create moments where others can say, “I’ve been there too. Here’s what I did to get loose from that.”
That’s where the breakthroughs begin.
Struggling in an area of your life? Congrats! You’re normal. Soak that in first, and then allow yourself some space with people you trust to get a little vulnerable. Open up and make room to create those “I’m not the only one…” conversations. The simple act of sharing what you struggle with is the first step to cracking the door open to transforming your life. Hide it, and you’ll be stuck with it alone. Share it, and you can work on it together.
I am so grateful to everyone in the Depth Not Width community… we’re all in this together, including our struggles! To join this community and receive weekly insights like this one, follow me here.
If podcasts are your thing, you can also follow me on the my Grit Meets Growth podcast, available here or on your favorite podcast platforms.
Make it an amazing day! – John