Leading Blog






07.23.19

The Gift of Struggle

The Gift of Struggle

BOBBY HERRERA has a message and the message is “We all struggle. Inside every struggle is a gift. Leaders share their gifts with others.”

We tend to not share our struggles or the lessons we learn from them. They are painful and very personal. But Herrera—CEO and cofounder of the HR service company Populus Group—say that’s exactly what leaders do. And that’s why he is sharing his stories and lessons in The Gift of Struggle.

One of the core principles at the Populus Group is that “everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed.” It makes sense, and it drove Herrera, but he felt like the people working with him didn’t share his passion and didn’t understand why he did what he did. But once he shared his story—his struggles—they connected, and it gave them meaning. It not only changed the employees but more importantly, it changed him. He understood them better and became a more compassionate leader.

If you don’t step up and tell the story that gives you identity and purpose, your people will be left on their own, trying to guess what matters to you and why. Without fulfilling work, they will make assumptions about your mission—or lack thereof—and leave when they find a competitor who offers what you’ve withheld. Until then, they’ll give you just enough to check the box and get through the day.

His journey to founding and building the Populus Group is full of ups and downs. But every struggle left him with a gift he used to grow and overcome. The stories he shares are relatable and illuminate the gifts that will help you become a better leader.

Here are overviews of some of the gifts you will learn:

Share What You Imagine—Build Together:
These organizations don’t allow “ROE” (“return on ego”) to compromise the integrity of the culture. Enduring cultures are never enforced by a top-down hierarchy. Everyone lives in a culture, and therefor everyone must use their voice to contribute to it.

Own Your Part:
Leadership amounts to wanting more for your people than we want from them.

Always be a Student:
If you want to be a wise leader someday, you must fiercely apply what you learn. You must also be selective when choosing who you will study.

Not Everyone Will Summit:
The guide said, “I can’t recall a climb when everyone made it to the top. It’s possible, I guess, but it seems like something always happens.”
There is no actual summit in business. There are peaks and valleys—the business cycles we endure, the victories and pain points within an organization—that we experience as highs and lows. And yet as long as our doors remain open, there is no final endpoint, only new challenges, problems, innovations, and solutions.

And applying this gift to people, I thought this was eloquently put:

It’s is important to realize we are all climbing our own mountains. Everyone you hire started their career climb before you met them, and they will continue climbing for a long time after their tenure with your company is over. All of us are working within our own set of constraints, goals, and unexpected life events that shape our journey.

We all climb for different reasons, so it’s important to honor people’s dreams. Your job as a leader is to encourage the growth of your people and to appreciate their particular contributions to the ongoing climb of the company. Regardless of when a person chooses to strike out on a different course, celebrate your time together. Life is a sequence of intersections, shared efforts, and differing goals.

Herrera says, “struggle is the currency of progress.” We need to become students of struggle. Welcome it into our lives as a tool for growth and increased meaning. Strength comes from our struggles. When you view your struggles as a gift, you will become a stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate leader.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:47 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Personal Development



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