The beauty of trudging

Apr 11th, 2017 | By | Category: Commentary

Jeff Hough

By Jeff Hough

There are many aspects to success and everyone’s definition is different. Marianne Williamson’s poem, “Our Deepest Fear,” expresses an often-overlooked stumbling block to success—our fear of standing out.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?”

Sometimes, the subtle fear of success holds us back. We are afraid of being singled out as an outlier, someone different. Achievement requires you to be different, to stand out from the crowd. This goes against the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality that is pervasive in our society.

The popular saying that if you do something you love you will never have to work is a lie. Doing what you love doesn’t replace the hard work necessary to be good at it. Doing what you love doesn’t always make it easy to get out of bed when the chips seem to be stacked against you.

Doing what you are passionate about does make it more enjoyable to do the work, but it doesn’t replace the work. Many people have the brains, passion and skill to be successful. What I question in most people (especially in the younger generations) is their desire to work at it.

The problem with reading success stories is you only get the good parts. The story tellers know how the story ends and spin the good parts, while we who are in the middle of our story aren’t yet sure what the good parts are. The writer may talk about the work, but they leave out the part about how the daily grind feels. Success is the culmination of thousands of minutes piled on top of each other. You earn it one drop of sweat at a time.

Therein lies the scary part about success. What are you willing to give up to put in the thousands of minutes and gallons of sweat? Many people talk and write about the need for a work/life balance, but success requires an imbalance. Success requires sacrifice, commitment and imbalance. In short, success requires all. If you aren’t willing to go all in, success will always be an elusive mistress.

I love the quote from the movie “A Knight’s Tale” when the hero encounters a naked man walking along road. When he asks the man what he is doing, the reply is very simple, “Trudging. You know, trudging? To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.”

There are some days when the path is easy and the work is fun. Then there are times when things are challenging and the skies are gray. Those are the days when one must trudge. This determined walk will get you through and help you find success. Trudging makes you different.

Overcoming the fear of standing out is challenging. One way to overcome it is to find your tribe. You must realize that you are not alone in your journey. There are many just like you, each with a story to tell. Their stories can add to yours. The trick is getting outside of yourself and participating.

In the end, the final half of the Williamson’s poem holds the key:

“…playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Jeff Hough is a business author, blogger and speaker in Pocatello.

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