Climbing the Mountain

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If there is no Struggle, there is no progress.

-Frederick Douglass

I call it “the clench”. It’s that moment when I internally grip all my muscles, purse my lips, and withdraw like a snail into its shell. It happens when I experience something uncomfortable—physical pain, emotional upset, or situational frustrations. It happens when I’m faced with Struggle. But, if I’m honest with myself, the moments when I have faced my Struggles with an un-clenched jaw and un-gripped fist have been the moments of the greatest insight, growth, and progress.

Everyday we face Struggle. There are external Struggles—challenges in the workplace, with loved ones, in the world at large, and internal Struggles—facing our demons and grappling with unconscious thoughts and feelings. We struggle not because we are physically weak or spiritually lazy, but because we are alive! I encourage you to see Struggle as your friend, and the next time you feel your own version of “the clench”, maybe you can face that feeling and say—thank you Struggle, what have you come here to teach me? If we open to this internal conversation, we can meet our Struggles, go to the places we are challenged, crawl out of our shells, and climb that mountain.

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