It’s human nature to dislike things that aren’t fun. Duh.
But what if these challenging things were interpreted less as obstacles and blockades and more so as guides, path shapers, and fulcrums to embrace, pivot from, and grow beyond?
This is the idea of stoicism. If you don’t know about that term, check it out. Every leader can benefit from this healthy and mind-shaping approach to tackling adversity in a constructive way.
The last few weeks, I hit my stretching point. I normally have a very large threshold for stress and duress and hitting this point doesn’t happen often. I can handle a lot through working really hard but also working really smart. However, recently, the opportunity to delegate the great amount of tasks on my plate was compromised and I was forced to individually contribute much of this myself (hitting the top priorities and letting smaller things go for later). To make this challenge even more daunting, my life outside of work and leadership roles hit a really big rough patch.
I could feel the cortisol in my brain reaching new limits. Fun, right?
But here’s what’s cool. Even though emotionally I wasn’t happy about what was happening, I intellectually understood the stoic principles on growth and I knew that these challenges would manifest eventually as opportunities to grow my ability to handle more, be more in tune with my surroundings, better learn to govern stressful emotions, and overall to become a better and stronger person and leader for my team.
As I come out of this stormy period, I’m now able to see the bigger picture. I am now better equipped to help another person through a similar period in their life. I am much more prepared to prioritize on the fly and to select when something should be delegated, completed by myself, or simply allowed to slip for the time being. I know that I am being prepared for future opportunities, either in my current role and location or for another role that may come along- and I am a step closer to being able to execute in higher impact, more stressful situations.
My obstacles have become path shapers and I am stronger because of them.