It unfortunately took me longer than was helpful for me to realise that life is not meant to be a struggle. This realisation didn't come easy because; “Life is hard”. We are told this a million times from a very tender age. By the time we are all grown up, we have perfectly internalised the notion that to be doing anything of value, we have to experience some struggle.
Just how much value can we add to colleagues, employers and clients while struggling? Come on, we are all inherently self-centred. Anyone struggling will inevitably look to relieve their struggles before showing any concern for others.
Most gadgets come with manuals that tell us how to operate them for best user-experience and optimum return on our investment. If metallic and plastic things can have preservation guidelines attached to them, surely we as humans are valuable enough to ensure that those around us enjoy the best of us by "operating" us optimally.
If however others do not know which knobs on us to turn in particular directions, at specified times, they are likely to fiddle around us breaking more than a few of our valuable aspects at every turn. Should that happen, we have no recourse but to take it ranting and raving because we failed to provide personal operating manuals. This is struggle.
As a 14-year entrepreneur, I am yet to have too many clients and yet to make too much money, whatever that looks like, but I have been known to decline taking on some clients on occasion. We must as a matter of professional conscience get to the point where we acknowledge that if a person is going to pay us any amount of money for our service, they must enjoy a good return on their investment. As consumers of professional services, we too, must in good conscience appreciate that every professional relationship has parameters within which we are required to operate for optimum results. If the relationship is left without boundaries, it inevitably degenerates into a struggle for both buyer and seller.
This cannot possibly be productive for either party. It all boils down to understanding and appreciating one’s worth.
When working with my coaching clients, I’m in my element. I learn who they are, what their mindsets are, understand their strengths and weakness. I candidly point these out as the foundation on which to base my recommendations. Effective coaching means telling people about a whole lot of the unflattering aspects of them that others would rather die than tell them. I then help them to fix those unhelpful situations one at a time. It is not an easy process for both client and coach.
It is an emotional investment in each session and yes, I get pretty tired after expending lots of energy getting people from where they are to where they want to be but it is never a struggle. This is because I have clearly laid out rules of engagement that clients commit to, as a prerequisite to receiving my service. Over the years, I have travelled the road to a place of healthy self-worth. It has freed me to comfortably place a premium on myself for providing a service that comes very easily for me and is invaluable to others.
If you find it difficult to lay down your terms of engagement, you might as well put up a sign that says; “I’m built to struggle”. This happens because there's that tiny but nagging voice of insecurity in our minds that convincingly tells us that “there must be pain for gain”.
That is simply not true. It is self-hate. We mustn’t embrace struggle as a way of life. Requisite effort, and smart work consistently done is productive in, and of its own. It does not require struggle to validate it. We must strive for what we want, not struggle. We must push beyond the limits of the ordinary to attain extraordinary success, not struggle. These are aspirational emotions that inspire our spirit to reach for our ultimate potential.
Struggle is a place that we have been conditioned to check into every so often so we can feel adequately deserving of some reward. The truth is that when we truly value ourselves, we naturally guard ourselves from struggle.
Seraphine Ruligirwa-Kamara, Executive Coach | Image Consultant
[email protected] | @SRuligirwa