Monday, October 18, 2010

How Winning is Done

Some of my favorite movies are those in the Rocky series. When I get discouraged or have a major setback, I will put in one of the Rocky movies to get a boost of energy and drive to keep pressing on toward my goals. I recently re-watched the last movie in the series which was released in 2006 titled Rocky Balboa. Below is a quote from the movie that struck me:

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

In October 2009 a 70-year-old church leader declared in a sermon, “We . . . understand that families have had to tighten their belts and are concerned about enduring these challenging times. . . I have seen enough ups and downs through my life to know that winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of a new spring. I am optimistic about the future.”

The economy has been very challenging over the past few years. I started a company in the spring of 2008 similar to a business I began in the spring of 2001 and sold in 2006. My first marketing efforts in 2001 and 2002 produced over $1 million in revenue and we grew to over $1 million a month by 2006. The company I started in 2008 has been much more challenging and revenues are 65% less from similar efforts. While the bottom line profit has been dismal in the short term, I believe that in the long term, the challenging economic environment we have faced the first two years of business has made us a much stronger and better run company. The challenging economic environment has forced us to improve and perfect our marketing and operational systems to be able to survive. As the economy improves, we will emerge with the systems and relationships in place to thrive in the coming spring and summer economy which will follow the long winter.

Life is filled with ups and downs and the economy has a repeating history of up and down cycles. Life is like a cardiograph of a healthy heart which produces a repeating pattern of ups and downs. Dealing with the ups and downs of life is challenging and hard but it is essential and normal. Like a healthy heart beat, if you are alive, you will experience many ups and downs. It is only a heart or life that has stopped that produces a straight line on the cardiograph.

When you face challenges, trials, and obstacles remember that it is from challenges that we learn and grow. The Bible declares, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2, New International Version) “Pain is inevitable, misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain in our lives, but we do have control over how we respond to that pain.” (Hyrum W. Smith, Pain Is Inevitable, Misery Is Optional (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 8) Courage is developing the ability to respond, endure, and, in some cases, overcome the pain, suffering, and hardships life can bring. It is not the ability to eliminate our fears but to act despite our fears. “Don’t let the sensation of fear convince you that you’re too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.” (John McCain, Why Courage Matters (New York: Random House, 2004), 206)

We are not left to deal with the challenges of life alone. We can call upon God, and He will assist us. The goal is not to eliminate challenges and pain from life but to properly respond to the challenges. The Bible declares, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (2 Chronicles 32:7, New International Version) The beautiful light of morning always follows the darkness of night.

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