“Draw strength from others.”

“Draw strength from others.”

—Cheryl Strayed, Author of Tiny Beautiful Things

Image from Unsplash by Neil Thomas

To what degree do you consider yourself the rock in your family or community?

How often are you the one to come to the rescue or lend that helping hand in your personal and professional worlds?

About 20 years ago, I overextended myself through a rigorous workout, resulting in a significant case of sciatica. It caused severe back and leg pain, and I missed many days of work.

Beyond the physical pain, I took a very unfamiliar emotional ride, which included frustration, anger, and even a sense of worthlessness. My normal optimistic view on life was flipped, and I did a fair job of playing the “Why Me” victim card.

Surprisingly, letting others serve and support me through it was very difficult. Frequent thoughts of “That’s my job,” or “I’m supposed to do that,” ran through my head.

Eventually, someone must have turned on my gratitude switch, allowing me to more fully accept and embrace many acts of kindness and generosity from family and friends.

EXERCISE:

When in the past, or recently, have you been reluctant to seek the support of others?

How and in what ways may you more fully seek and draw on the strengths of others in your personal and professional communities?

“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”

“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”

—Euripides, classic Greek tragedian

Image from Unsplash by Vicky Sim

It is so sad that in order to see man at his best we often need a crisis to occur.

When lives are on the line, new levels of extraordinary courage and strength are found and mobilized.

Almost every newscast ends on positive notes of heroism, acknowledging this capacity in select individuals, hopefully to engender this quality within us all. In this way, our own strength and inner heroes are aroused to come to the rescue of those in our personal and professional communities who are in need.

What will happen when the dust settles on the pandemic and we get back to whatever “normal” may look like mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and economically?

How might we maintain our individual and collective strength when things are a bit less dire?

EXERCISE:

What new or greater capacities have you discovered in yourself and within your communities?

How can and will you expand and build on these to proactively better your individual and our collective world in the good and not so good times ahead?

“Sometimes it’s not strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.”

“Sometimes it’s not strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.”

—Richard Paul Evans, contemporary American author

Barry and Wendy with Weston

As a relatively new grandpa, I find it fascinating to watch my daughter, son-in-law, and wife interact with little Weston.

Although he is a very good-natured, happy little boy, he does get cranky, fussy, and a bit difficult to manage from time to time.

On most occasions, the trick that works is gently singing one or more of his favorite songs. Within seconds he calms down and begins to smile.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom in your personal or professional life would a bit more gentleness crack some hard shells? What specific steps can and will you take to open others up to your influence?

A Strong Foe

“A strong foe is better than a weak friend.”

—Edward Dahlberg, 20th Century American Novelist

Image of The Joker from Batman

Image from tomztoyz.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard the idea that we are a product of the five people with which we associate the most.

If these individuals happen to be weak friends, we may wish to make a few adjustments.

Unfortunately, weakness in those around us often causes us to become complacent and even a bit lazy, given that the bar of success is relatively low.

Strong foes and even adversaries challenge us to rise to compete with ourselves, if not them, to become a far better version of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

How can you use the example of your most challenging foe to thrive and grow, professionally and personally? How can and will you surround yourself with a much stronger set of friends to support your efforts?

Our antagonist is our helper

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”

Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish Statesman

Image of wrestling competition

Image from Flickr by Christopher Paquette

My dad was a physical education teacher and coach for multiple sports, one of which was wrestling. Young men of equal weight would compete in one of the most challenging and physically exhausting sports I’ve ever experienced.

In a matter of minutes, while engaged with your adversary, you would likely find yourself gasping for air and having already worked up quite a sweat.

Not surprisingly, wrestlers are some of the most fit athletes because of the struggles they face in competing at a high level.

EXERCISE:

Who are the antagonists/adversaries that strengthen your nerve and build your personal or professional skills? How can you appreciate and perhaps seek even greater challenges to further your personal excellence journey?

sources of strength

“Migrating birds return to where they hatched. Familiar places are sources of strength to which you can return home.”

-Laurent Carrel, author of Messages from Melanie

Image from www.hotel-r.net

Image from www.hotel-r.net

My family and I will be heading to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania soon, for our annual vacation. I’ve gone there almost every summer of my life. My dad was the Director of two summer camps, I got to spend all summer long there from my infancy until I was twelve.
The camps eventually closed, but my wife and I bought a time share in the Poconos when I was 24 years old. The familiar sight of the tree-covered mountains, the music of the crickets at night, and even the smell of the rain-washed air always makes me feel at home.

EXERCISE:

Feel free to reply to this post regarding those special places in your world that give you strength and make you feel at home.

When are you planning to return?

Friday Review Strength

FRIDAY REVIEW:  STRENGTH

Leadership requires inner strength. Here are a few strength-related posts you may have missed. Click on the Quote to read the full message:

QC #1045a

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

 

 

 

QC #1045b

 

“People are like tea bags. You find out how strong they are when you put them in hot water.”

 

 

 

QC #1045c

 

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

 

 

 

A Strong Person

“A strong person looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.”

-Adapted from Gina Carey, musical artist

Image from shopwood.com

Image from shopwood.com

If you are a fan of old John Wayne movies, you may have seen the 1969 film, True Grit. The word “grit” is used a good deal these days, to point out the value and need for greater courage, bravery, determination, and personal fortitude in a world many believe is getting soft.

Far too many people want to take an elevator to the top rather than climbing the stairs to reach their most cherished and valued goals.

EXERCISE:

Where  is it appropriate—or better yet, necessary—to demonstrate your personal strength and grit, by winking at the challenges you face?

“Be strong enough to stand alone…”

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by stollerdos

Photo from Flickr by stollerdos

Most people would acknowledge that strength, intelligence and bravery are all admirable qualities. The beauty of today’s quote is in the delicate balance between the three, based on the situations and circumstances we face.

Knowing the right amount of each is critical to optimal success. Too much of one or the other can sometimes backfire.

EXERCISE:

Examine some of your highest priority commitments and projects to see whether success is dependent on your strength to stand your ground or the wisdom and bravery to invite others along to achieve a collective victory. Perhaps some blending of all three in various amounts would be even more optimal.

“To strengthen the muscle of your heart the best exercise is lifting someone else’s spirit when you can.”

“To strengthen the muscle of your heart the best exercise is lifting someone else’s spirit when you can.”

– Author unknown

Photo from Flickr by tiff_ku1

Photo from Flickr by tiff_ku1

Did you know that your heart beats over 100,000 times in one day, and over 35 million times in a year? If you live an average lifetime, your heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

Each beat of your heart has about the same force as giving a tennis ball a hard squeeze. This force circulates approximately 5.9 quarts of blood through your body, three times every minute.

Through this constant effort the heart pumps the equivalent of about one million barrels of blood during an average lifetime, which is enough to fill more than three super tankers.

EXERCISE:

How can you exercise your heart today by being a coach, mentor, or friend to others, and lift their spirits higher?