It Is (Still) Supposed to Be Hard

man on mountain top

Why am I surprised when I get injured at the gym?  As I write these words, I have a shoulder injury, tightness in my quadriceps, and I feel run down.  The Evernote file I use to track my lifts tells me that I have made progress the last thirty days, yet progress has come with pain.

It is hard to grow.

I come to work.  Why am I surprised that things are (still) hard here? Implementing IQMS while running near capacity was anything but easy.  People issues still pop up.  A family member gets sick, so an early retirement comes.  Do we have a “bench” that can fill that personnel need?  Or, perhaps the retirement was coming for two years.  Did we build the successor up, and were they ready when their time began?

All the while the customer knocks.  They have their issues, and to do this right, those issues had better be ours.  We’d better anticipate them.  We’d better address them.  And most of all, we’d better help them win.

None of this is easy.

Like my shoulder, it can often hurt.

Leadership happens while all this other stuff is happening.

It is one thing to command people to go in a certain direction (I call this management), and another to grab the trekking pole and start climbing the mountain with others following (true leading).  When things get messy on the hike, and they most assuredly will if the ascent is worthwhile, all you – the leader –can control is you.  You can’t control those following you.  If they complain, if they grumble, if they threaten to quit, commanding them to keep on only works for so long.  Rather, the leader has to control their own attitude and effort.  When things become awful, they must set the example that others can see when they look forward.

Things will get awful.

Things will go wrong.

It will remain hard.

We should stop being surprised by this reality.