In my last post, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!, I critiqued leadership. “A great leader is someone who uses their knowledge, experience and wisdom to increase another’s capacity to produce better results. A leader is someone who sees something bigger and inspires others to do better than they believe they can and by inspiring someone else to be better we actually make ourselves better,” (Denise Cooper).
To be fair, we often forget that in addition to leading people, leaders are responsible for successfully running a country, a company, a committee, whatever their charge. Rare is the sympathy for them as we hear, “Hey! That’s why they get paid the big bucks!”
But it’s a tough world out there with a lot of moving parts. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is the best book on leadership and running a business next to Matsushita Leadership (John P. Kotter) that I have read. Both books are must reads for leaders, CEO’s and business owners. While Horowitz focuses on entrepreneurship, his advice is applicable to all who lead. He is quite candid about what he calls the Struggle.
The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.
The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.
The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right.
The Struggle is when food loses its taste.
The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred.
The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness.
The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.
The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.
The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood.
Most people are not strong enough…..you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is the Struggle.
The Struggle is where greatness comes from.
Every mortal on Earth can identify with the Struggle. Each of us is a Party of One, leading our own life, making our own decisions. Struggle begins at birth. It’s what separates the men and women from the boys and girls. It is what distinguishes true leadership.
Horowitz provides this final advice: “On my grandfather’s tombstone, you will find his favorite (Karl) Marx quote: “Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson: …. Embrace the struggle….. Embrace your weirdness, your background, your instinct……hard things will continue to be hard things. So, in closing, I just say peace to all those engaged in the struggle to fulfill their dreams.”
Once you’ve fulfilled your dreams, you’ll know it was well worth THE STRUGGLE!
~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~
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