Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Sometimes There’s Only the Hard Way

Sometimes there’s not a better way. Sometimes there’s only the hard way. – Mary E. Pearson

One of the qualities needed when facing the hard challenges of life is endurance. Endurance is “the act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress; the state or fact of persevering; continuing existence.”

Endurance is that quality that keeps you digging even when you don’t know how much farther you have to go. The inspiration I received when I saw the picture of the two men is, “I want to be like the guy on top!”

I believe we are faced with moving dirt in many areas of our lives. It’s important to stick with the work. To be present on the journey. But also to realize that good things come to those who endure and keep digging!

When you’re half way to where you’re going, don’t give up. Keep on digging!

Shackleton – took the hard way and had a break through

One of the stories that stokes the fire of endurance and courage for me when traveling the hard way is the story of Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

After their ship was trapped and then crushed in the ice, Shackleton led the other members of his team on a heroic journey across the ice on foot and then through perilous seas in lifeboats. Their ordeal lasted 634 days, in some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet.

Under Shackleton’s exceptional leadership, the crew maintained hope in circumstances that would have demoralized most other people. There are many lessons that can be learned from Shackleton and his crew.

One behavior that strikes a chord with me was their ability to keep their eyes off their desperate situation and focused on tangible action. When they focused their energy on activities they could do together, they kept their minds off the horrific conditions all around them.

For example, while trapped on the ice, Shackleton had his men march a little every day. Even though their progress was slow, it was better to keep moving than to sit down and “wait for the tardy northwesterly drift to take them out of this cruel waste of ice.”

When I compared my situation during my long detour to Shackleton’s predicament, I redefined what my future looked like and start moving slowly towards it. I learned how important it was to avoid sitting and waiting for the future to unfold:

“The very act of doing something concrete creates a sense of momentum, and a series of small victories will lay the foundation for eventual success.”*

Here are three decisions you can make when asked to take the hard way:

  1. Reset your destination and find a new target to focus on.
  2. Believe you can endure beyond what you thought possible.
  3. Find a way to “keep moving” so you don’t get discouraged by inaction.

Get Your Roadmap for the Hard Way

If you’re looking to increase your capacity and build endurance, you need to read Detour! It’s written as a self-help road map for anyone being asked to take the hard way. Order your copy at Detour: A Roadmap For When Life Gets Rerouted. The book is helping guide numerous people and teach the mindset and methodology of endurance.

*Source: Dennis N.T. Perkins, Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition, 2nd ed.

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

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