Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. It is hard to see the light when we are amid complete darkness. It is hard to see the beautiful destination when the road is leading you into the ditch. Life can dish out its challenges and can so often feel unfair. This feeling becomes exponentially increased when you look on social media and see the wonderful life that everyone else around you appear to be living. Are they really living this wonderful life you are seeing? Possibly. Or are they masking their pain in brightness to give the world a different perception? Or are they choosing to enjoy the journey amidst the challenges?
What I can share with you, is that everyone experiences challenges. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their life. And what is interesting is that challenge and pain are based on perspective. A friend of mine shared a story with me a few years ago of a young lady who worked under her leadership and had come into her office to talk. She had missed some time at work, she was struggling, and she knew she was not doing well. The young lady was a single mom, was making minimum wage and trying to keep food on the table to feed her young son. She begged for wage increases but unfortunately her hands were tied due to corporate budgeting and things out of her control. She was unable to provide the wage increase. The next day, this young mom, did not show up for work. My friend called her family and was informed she had committed suicide. To this day, my friend holds the regret of what she could have done or said differently to help this young mom to see that this was a moment in time, a bump in the road and that brighter days always lie ahead.
Within weeks of this incident happening, this same friend, had another staff member come into her office in tears. It was a young man who was asking for time off. He was in tears and visibly not doing well. She asked him what was wrong. He said that he and his girlfriend had just broken up. While this seemed to be, in comparison, a sad situation, she knew this was a moment in time and that he would get through it unscathed. I mean, c’mon, it’s a breakup! It happens to the best of us! Her immediate reaction was to just say yes, take the day off. But her mind went back to the young lady realizing that challenges are based on perspective. This young man was clearly distraught and instead of simply dismissing him for his day off, she took the time to listen. She took the time to give him a hug. She took the time to realize that this was his first love, his first real breakup and that to him, it seemed like life was over. By stopping and taking the time to listen, to really hear him and to give him the support he needed, she may have given him the brighter path that he needed on his journey.
With the pandemic at play, and with so many people experiencing challenges of fear, anxiety, financial stress, and loneliness, it is important for us to realize that while the road may seem bumpy, the paved highway is around the corner. Take the time to listen, be present, and give your support to others. Realize that challenges are based on everyone’s perspective and what may seem silly to you may be the other person’s breaking point. Help others in seeing the beautiful destination that is around the corner from the difficult road they are now travelling.
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