Persevere Through Life’s Valleys And Success Will Be Yours!
I was exhilarated. The day had arrived. I boarded my flight in Jacksonville, FL, and took off on a non-stop trip to Newark, NJ, to attend the “10for10” invitation only training event to mastermind with some of the top million dollar earners in the industry. To say that I was feeling alive and well is one of the biggest understatements of my life! Most of my peers never make this level of leadership with Carbon Copy Pro. Actually, most that do make it take longer to reach it than I did too (and I was 6 months behind my personal schedule! LOL!). But, here I was, about to launch my business into the stratosphere!
Nothing will stop me now! I made it – what could go wrong?
The first day of the event proved to be quite challenging and enlightening. The things we focused on were the main things that my business was missing – “the missing link.” I thought, “Wow, now I know exactly what I need to do! I can hardly wait until tomorrow – what more could I learn???”
After dinner, Sture, my colleague from Sweden, and I walked back to our hotel with the “help” of the GPS App on my Droid phone. We both felt that the day was very impressive, and that we had new tools we could use to build our respective businesses. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins; I felt strong and equipped for the task ahead in the coming months. Tomorrow would be even better I was sure. I could hardly wait.
This mountaintop event was going to change my life!
Once back in my hotel room, I took care of a couple of tasks, and turned in early. It took a while to get to sleep because of my anticipation for what would come in the morning.
Around 2:00 am, I woke up with a strange feeling. This feeling was not the result of anticipation, or excitement. This feeling was something quite different. As I lay there with the ominous feeling that I was going to be nauseous, I looked at my watch to see how many hours I would have to recover before the day’s events began. “I’ll be OK,” I thought to myself. “I just ate something that disagreed with me. I’ll get it out of my system, and I’ll be good to go. I have plenty of time to recover.”
I crawled back into bed, after experiencing the most violent “hurling” (I am having a hard time relating this without grossing you out!), that I could remember, and I thought, “Well, I am glad that’s over. Now I will get some rest and awake refreshed and renewed.”
Then the unthinkable happened. An hour later, I awoke again :-(.
It was a sprint to the bathroom this time, and the results were exactly as before. Oddly enough, my mind told me the same thing as before – “OK, now I can get some sleep and recover in time for the training.” I just kept focusing on everything being fine, and coming out of this unscathed enough to participate the events of the day. Sometimes focus isn’t enough. Sometimes circumstances are beyond our control (actually, that is most of the time).
This was one of those times.
For the next 8 hours or so, I had a violent brawl with an opponent that I couldn’t defeat. Every hour I was “kneeling” from another knock out blow that I was unable to evade. By 12noon, I was completely spent. Thankfully, though, the fight was over. I lay there completely defeated physically, and emotionally, and I broke into tears.
This was no mountaintop experience!
I missed half of what I thought was going to be the event that changed my life. After almost a year of anticipation – the “kick-start” to my business – the opportunity of my internet marketing career – camaraderie of being with the others who had achieved the same goal, and the chance to network with them – the growth experience that would change me as an entrepreneur – all that was literally “flushed” down the drain.
I just couldn’t believe it. I plummeted fast from the mountaintop down into the valley.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, right? When you can look back on an event, it is much easier to see than it is when you are in the midst of it. So, that’s what I did. As I reflect back, I can see that there is a life lesson here.
When do we really grow as individuals? As entrepreneurs? Does it really happen during the mountaintop experiences? When times are easiest, and best, do we change the most? Or, is it when we are in the valley; when times are hard and we are in difficult circumstances?
James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
We don’t grow on the mountaintop. We might enjoy the time spent there. It might be a place to go to recover from the “valley experiences.” But, make no mistake about it. We do not grow personally or professionally on the top of the mountain.
We grow. We become better. We become accomplished individuals in the valley.
Think about the most recent NFL Super Bowl champion team, the Green Bay Packers. To be able to win the Super Bowl is an achievement that most teams will never experience. But, the Pack didn’t just show up and become the champs. They didn’t actually become champions in that one game. They became champions throughout the many years each player worked on their skills as individuals.
The Packers as a team won the Super Bowl in the same “valley” throughout the long year of practices, disappointments, struggles, injuries, studying strategy and game film, and learning new skills no matter how difficult. They persevered, no matter the cost, and that is how they achieved their dream.
They became champions – not on the mountaintop of the Super Bowl stage – they became champions in the valley of their struggles.
That is where we become champions too – in the valley of persevering through our struggles. Life is lived in the valley. Growth comes while we are there, but only if we persevere through the struggle.
Too many times, when life hands us challenges or throws us a knock out punch, we just give up. We say things like, “Well it just wasn’t meant to be.” We justify not moving forward by telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, talented enough, or that we don’t have the same advantages others have. And we just give up trying to move through the difficult situation we find ourselves in.
So, here is the take away. Don’t let the “valley moments” keep you down. Don’t give up. Don’t ever quit. Life is lived in the valley. In the passage above, James didn’t say “if” you face trials of many kinds; he said “when” you face them. They are inevitable. And if you are trying to make changes to better your life, trials will be frequent.
Change isn’t easy, so expect difficulties along the way, and when they come struggle through them. I promise that when you do, you will be better, stronger, tougher, and more accomplished on the other side.
When we face our struggles, and persevere through them, success will be ours for the taking! When you are in the valley, keep climbing upwards, persevere through the rough terrain, keep your eyes on the goal and you will reach that mountaintop!
Romans 5:3-4 – “…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”