Are you a strong person? What do you think it means to be strong? Do you equate that word with physical strength? Mental strength? Emotional strength? All of them?
I believe that strength comes in many forms. I also believe that we don’t discover our strength on the easy days. We find strength in ourselves on the hard days–on the days in which we push ourselves beyond what we thought we could do.
On the physical level it might be adding five pounds to the weights we are lifting or adding an additional set of reps we do. We may not think we can do it, but then we make the decision to give it a try and we discover that we can do it. What a great feeling!
I feel my physical strength when I am out hiking. On most hikes there is a point in the trail where I pause. I look at the trail ahead of me and wonder, “How the heck am I supposed to get up (or down) that?” Somehow, someway, I have always done what I thought I couldn’t.
Mental strength is our determination, our self-belief, our unrelenting commitment to that in which we believe. It keeps us going when the odds are stacked against us. It allows us to stay calm in the most chaotic of circumstances. It is something we can strengthen by facing the obstacles life throws at us with a plan and a positive outlook.
Recently at work a big mistake was made. This mistake meant we had to stop producing one of our products. It meant that we had to remake the material that had been ruined. It meant we might be late meeting one of our customer’s order dates. I’ll be honest–I totally flipped out. I was ready to just call it a day (at 6:30 a.m.), go home and crawl back into bed. I really did not want to deal with it. What did I do? I pulled up my big girl panties and I made the changes necessary to get that material remade. I determined which other products would need to be pushed back to accomplish this. I worked to solve the problem and move forward with production rather than doing what I wanted to do–let someone else figure it out.
Emotional strength is our ability to deal with the daily stressors of life. It allows us to move beyond the moments in life to continue growing as individuals. It is not letting events define us and keep us frozen in a moment in time.
In 2011, my 21-year-old son died. One thing I heard from many people was this, “I couldn’t handle it if my child died.” I didn’t think I could either. Before Sean passed, I would never have imagined I could handle that loss. When he died, I found out. I could handle that loss. I deal with that loss every day. It never goes away. My life settled into a new normal. I have a good life. That loss didn’t define me.
Each of us has different levels of these three types of strength: physical, mental, and emotional. When challenges are put in your path, face those challenges. Rant, rage, cuss, cry in the moment. Being strong doesn’t mean you can’t feel those emotions of the moment. Just let yourself move beyond those emotions. Take a deep breath. Ask for help, make a plan, and make an attempt to move beyond the obstacle.
Kenneth Blanchard said, “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t do.”
Be strong today!