Conflict is essential to progress

“Conflict is essential to progress. No matter how much the engine revs, without friction the wheels cannot move forward.”

—Rob Reinalda, Executive Editor at Lawrence Ragan Communications

Image from Unsplash by Simon English

Here in Michigan, especially around the Detroit area, the Car/SUV/Truck is still king of the road. Toward the end of January, we had a bit of foul, frigid weather, including one particular morning in which my driveway was a sheet of black ice.

Without the expected traction from the driveway, I struggled to make it to my car and barely avoided falling, which was probably a comical sight to neighbors who may have been watching!

EXERCISE:

Where are you experiencing a lack of traction, or feel you are spinning your wheels?

Where do you notice conflict or areas of friction related to an important relationship or project?

How might this gritty or challenging situation actually be the source of friction that helps you move things forward?

“Let no one keep you from your journey.”

“Let no one keep you from your journey.”

—Mark Nepo, American poet and spiritual adviser

Image from Unsplash by Clemens van Lay

Where are you headed today, this week, this year?

What are your short and long term goals and objectives, personally and professionally?

Toward the start of each year, questions like these are asked so frequently that we often drown them out much like the safety instructions before a flight.

What if we now answered these questions on a far deeper level than at any other time in our lives?

What are your answers? If they don’t ignite a spark or engulf you in flames of passion and excitement, you’ve got more work to do and could perhaps use the support of a coach, mentor, close colleague, or family member.

EXERCISE:

What could possibly stop you from pursuing and fully realizing what you deeply desire?

How will you prevent anyone – including yourself – from keeping you from your journey?

Consider looking up Mark Nepo and exploring his work more fully.

“There are no ‘pretty good’ alligator wrestlers.”

“There are no ‘pretty good’ alligator wrestlers.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Matthew Essman

It’s unlikely that there is a Junior Alligator Wrestling League in your community or school system.

What parent would send their child off to such an activity, hoping they would rise in the ranks, and bring home the Champion Trophy – not to mention all their appendages?

Our world is hyper-competitive and sports include a significant risk of injury. Still, many families with an interest in fitness and athletic activities participate, knowing full well that their children are unlikely to make it to the Olympics or turn pro at some point.

Meanwhile, in the working world more and more people are finding that being only “pretty good” puts them at risk of being eaten by the alligators swimming in their vocational waters.

EXERCISE:

What efforts can and will you include in your “pretty great” developmental journey in the year ahead?

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

—Louisa May Alcott, 19th Century American author of Little Women

Image from Unsplash by Bobby Burch

If you enjoy good stories with wonderful characters, please go see the movie Little Women, or by all means, read the book.

In our daily lives we can all be coached by the times we see others face and overcome their challenges and obstacles. Doing so can instill the belief that we, too, can do the same.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you facing considerably rough waters?

In what ways can and will you face these challenges boldly and courageously to chart your course toward a brighter future?

“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”

“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”

—Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul

Image from Unsplash by yns_pit

Have you ever tried rock climbing or one of the climbing walls at your local gym?

If you have, you may have noticed that the wall faces with far more foot and hand holds make the journey upward easier and faster.

Consider how life can be like that. By looking at the rough patches and bumps in the road as teachable moments, you have many more foot holds to push off from in your upward and onward climb.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you be more appreciative of the rough patches of life, knowing they have helped you achieve far more than times of smooth sailing?

Consider taking a look at your current personal and professional rough patches to shift your view of things a bit.

“All beginnings are difficult.”

“All beginnings are difficult.”

—Rabbinic maxim

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.

Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?

In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”

Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?

“What is the cost of getting it wrong? What are the payoffs of getting it right?”

“What is the cost of getting it wrong? What are the payoffs of getting it right?”

—Author Unknown

Image from commons.wikimedia.org

Are you a fan of Bill Gates? If you are—and even if you aren’t—please consider watching the new Netflix docu-series Inside Bill’s Brain. Among the many twists and turns in his personal and professional life is a unifying fact. Bill is a highly intelligent, life-long learner who wants to continue to make a positive difference with his life and the foundation he runs with his wife Melinda.

Highlighted in this series are his initiatives to eradicate polio, improve sewage conditions in developing countries, and the development of a cleaner, safer form of nuclear power.

Despite many challenges and setbacks faced on such monumental projects, he is clearly focused on the global payoffs of getting it right.

EXERCISE:

What is one significant project you have yet to start due to the fear of getting it wrong? What would be the payoff of getting it right?

“Does refusing to go to the gym count as resistance training?”

“Does refusing to go to the gym count as resistance training?”

—Author Unknown

Image of a guy in bed early morning

Image from Unsplash by Julie Johnson

How much sleep do you get on a typical night during the week? What about the weekends? For most people I know, the numbers vary considerably.

Yesterday morning, my body woke at the normal time, but given it was the weekend and I was extra tired, I passed up my morning workout and went back to bed for two more hours of needed rest.

My resistance to going to the gym was completely appropriate given that I needed more time to refresh and recharge after a full work week, which had already included numerous visits to the gym.

EXERCISE:

Where do you push, stretch, and challenge yourself to grow and expand your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual potential?

Where might stepping back and saying, “NO” to some of these growth opportunities be the best choice, needed to progress optimally through your life?

Friday Review of Posts on Challenges

Friday Review: Challenges

How do you perceive and react to challenges in your life? Here are a few challenge-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the messages.

 

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”

 

 

 

 

“The tests of life are not meant to break you, but to make you.”

 

 

 

 

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

 

 

 

Obstacles in your path

“There are plenty of obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a locked fence

Image from Unsplash by Jason Blackeye

The TV show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, comes to mind when I think about today’s quote.

In this show, famed adventurist and survivalist Bear Grylls takes top stars from the entertainment and sports worlds into the most remote and pristine locations in the world for a 48-hour journey of a lifetime.

Cast members face their deepest fears and tackle everything from wild animals to rock rappelling through some of the world’s most unforgiving wilderness.

We all face a wide variety of daily external obstacles that fall short of these life-threatening challenges. We also create many internal challenges that stop us in our tracks, as abruptly as if our lives were on the line.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently your own worst enemy, or putting up your own internal barriers? What one courageous action can you take today to create a breakthrough in this area?