Curated Leadership for Today's World

Nobody know the troubles I’ve seen…and nobody ever will

Posted on 30 September 2010

Jesus’ half brother James states in his book to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Why? Because it produces patience, makes you complete and perfect, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4) Isn’t that the end desire for all of us? To be patient, complete and lacking nothing? That’s exactly the type of material that we fervently publish and relentlessly read. Yet so much of our time is spent sharing with others all the wrong things that were done to us.

On the outside, you would consider me a very happy and successful person. Yet you won’t know the challenges and struggles that made me that way. You only see how I have chosen to deal with these situations. If challenges are opportunities, if the path to success is through failure, then why do we wallow in self pity? It takes maturity and accountability. There were times when I recounted my “poor me” situations for years to anyone who would listen.  What a terrible waste of time and energy.

At least half of the failures and heartaches I went through were due to my own lack of strength, discipline, or willingness to follow my conscience. The other half were situations meant to teach me some vital lessons about life here on earth.  As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say, “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so that you can be all that you were intended to be.” And yes, even things that go wrong are due to my own shortcomings.

I embrace my battle scars because I know sometime in the future, I’m going to cross paths with someone going through the exact same thing and I just might be able to impart some compassion or insights to them. It’s not about me; it’s about using what I’ve been through to help others and for me to grow as an individual. No one is ever successful being a victim. But if you look at your trials as a godsend, I guarantee you sometime in the future you’ll be a positive impact to someone who desperately needs it, including yourself.

Until then, don’t broadcast your problems, don’t fire off an email to the entire company telling them how horrible they are when you quit, and don’t tell people how hard you’ve had it. Focus on what you’ve learned and how it’s positively impacted your life and you’ll be well on your way to a more patient and complete life that’s lacking nothing.

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5 comments

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tony!

    I agree with your point that as a consultant it is important to talk through the issues with the client. And we are human so although we can strive to count it all joy, let’s face it, many times we’re just not that big. However, I do maintain that listening to someone’s repetitive whining (thumb sucking my Dad called it) will do them and you more harm than good. It’s the spirit in which you recount the event. Are you looking for sympathy? Are you looking to place blame and build “your case”? If so, if you really need to talk to someone, it’s better to talk to a higher power before you open your mouth and get yourself in more trouble:-) As always Tony, I so appreciate your comments. This content is something I really struggle with.

  • mike: February 20, 2016

    Great insight Tracey. We make a decision on how we handle the adversities in our lives. You can’t write what you did without having experienced it. Blessings

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    Well written. I agree with everything you’ve written. I must add one caveat, though: I think every person, especially a leader, needs one person — just one! — to whom they can bitch and moan freely. More often than not, just the telling to another person of one’ trials and travails makes things just a little better. It also helps to put things into perspective. I’ve found that when I “bottle things up,” I can dwell on something for days, weeks, months … And then I get to a point where I confide in someone — a confidant — and while doing so come to the realization that that which I was “obsessing” was nothing. Literally nothing. Silly, even.

    As I coach and consult with people, I realized that this was (and is) one of my primary duties for my clients. Sometimes the talking helps to keep things in perspective. Other times, there is a certain catharsis in the telling. Yet other times, a series of talks like these will point to an underlying problem, which when uncovered can be solved.

    You’re right: Keep things to yourself. Allow one person, though, to hear you.

    I hope this helps!

    Talk soon.

    Have fun … Tony.

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    You’re right and I should have made clear in my response. I’m not encouraging or talking about “whine-fests” or repetitive, ongoing complaints. I’m referring to those times when a person keeps one thing bottled inside him/her. As we’ve discussed, most things — feelings, thoughts — pass; every so often, though, something sticks. It’s usually not a big thing, but sometimes — sometime! — discussing it with a trusted friend — a shoulder — can help.

    Have fun … Tony.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks for reading and your support Mike!

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