When The Going Gets Tough

Overcoming life hurdles

Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you work for something things seem to never run smoothly? You do everything “right,” everything you’re suppose to do, but all you get is a bunch of road blocks.

You experience car problems when you can’t be late for work anymore, an unexpected bill comes in the mail when things are tight, or you’ve missed an important assignment for class. We’ve all been there. We’ve all said “Why me, God?” at least once in our lifetime.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked that question. I guess when things get difficult it provokes a natural response to point blame at someone. Who better than the creator of all things? Including our problems?

Just recently I had the biggest interview of my life. I mean, this is my dream job; one I had spent years trying to get. I prepared for months to take the exam and I got the call that I passed and moved on to the next phase of the hiring process. This was a huge step for me so it was extremely important to get to the interview on time.

I had a 4pm appointment and getting out of work at 3:30pm should’ve given me an ample amount of time to get there — especially since the office was literally 1.1 miles away from my job.

I was dressed to the 9's and everybody who knows me knows I look sharp in a suit (boasting just a little). I hopped in my car and I was ready to nail my interview. Those 30 minutes it took for a 5 minute drive down the street was probably the most stressful experience I’ve had in a very long time.

I had reached the end of the parking lot and contemplated which direction to take. Should I go left or should I go right? Let’s go left, that makes more sense. Boy, I couldn’t have been furthest from the truth! As soon as I turned down Lockwood I was immediately stopped by a school bus that seemed to be caring every elementary school child in all of Stamford! At least at the time that’s what it felt like.

The kids just kept pouring out of the bus one by one, by one, by one. It seemed never ending. I had spent 5 minutes in a stand still and it felt like it was all 30 minutes. This is going to be awful to say, but I have to be honest with you guys. I have never wanted to yell at a crossing guard as bad as I did that day, but surely you guys would understand.

The kids are finally off the bus and off the streets and traffic starts to move. I now have 15 minutes to get there.

To make matters worse that same bus was leading traffic so at this point I’m just praying he doesn’t make any more stops. How can he? There’s no way more kids were on that bus. Now I just hope to be there right on time, but it’s a stretch the way things are going.

Every light is turning red, almost like they know. They’re heckling me. This is my destiny. This just isn’t meant to be. (What I’m telling myself to make sense of it all.) No. I’m not going down without a fight.

I finally make it to my destination and as luck would have it the parking lot is full. Do I park illegally? Do I find a spot on the street? I see one right outside the gate and park.

4 minutes left…

I grab my folder and sprint so fast Usain Bolt would have had trouble keeping up. It was raining so every puddle was a hurdle being leaped and if you were standing in my way you were probably getting ran over. 2 minutes to spare and I walk into the holding room trying to mask all 100 emotions I had gone through in the last half hour.

It was an intense battle with time and although the odds didn’t seem to be in my favor, I had to do whatever it took.

Does any of this sound familiar? You have somewhere to be, an important meeting or interview, and you do everything on your end. Wake up early, get dressed, leave on time and then boom. Road block. You face a random accident on a normally quiet street, every light seems to turn red, or you get stuck behind the little old lady who’s driving 10mph slower than the speed limit.

Preston Smiles, author of Love Louder, talked about these automatic responses known as Reticular Activating System. It’s our brain’s innate ability to channel everything that is relevant from our conscious to subconscious mind so what we think is what inevitably happens — and it’s true. At least most of the times. If we think positive, good things will happen. And if you’re thinking negatively chances are life’s response will be negative.

I was worried about being late for my interview and it seemed like everything was working against me. Every possible thing that could go wrong went wrong, but looking back it now I’ve taken that road before, I’ve ran into that school bus and those lights have always turned red when I got to it. You just never notice when you’re not rushing. That quiet street isn’t as quiet as you think and you’ve driven behind that same little old lady before.

Hurdles are put in place not to stop you from achieving your goals, but rather to test how badly you want them. They’re there to test your will and to see just what you’re willing to do to get them. My drill sergeant called it “intestinal fortitude.” Digging deep inside when you have nothing left, but you keep moving forward.

We never question anything when it comes easy and often times we are crippled when things get difficult, but times of stress are times for growth and perseverance. Without these little bumps in the road, or even big ones, we’d never really know how bad we wanted something or how hard we’d be willing to work it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many of my roadblocks were there to either redirect me or to test me. Every single one has served a purpose and understanding that has allowed me to analyze situations like this and say “he’s making it harder for me to see how bad I want it” rather than asking “why me, God?”

Nothing we truly want ever comes at the snap of a finger and if you’re willing to do the work things will happen at they’re meant to. I may not get the job, but I’m ok with that because in the end I know I did everything I could to get it and it just wasn’t meant for me.

Whether it be because of timing or I’m being redirected towards another path everything really does happen for a reason. Even when we create the hurdles ourselves i.e. hitting the snooze button one too many times ultimately making you late for work.

We meet people at certain times in our lives, go through certain things, experience defeat, celebrate success, face daily hurdles, but we go through these moments for a reason. We may never know or find out why, but understand it’s for a greater purpose; to put us right where we are meant to be.

In my fourth title bout this past December I suffered a loss, but what’s worse is I took one of the hardest shots I’ve ever taken. I finished the fight stronger than I started, but the reason I lost wasn’t because I wasn’t prepared or I wasn’t conditioned. I lost because I was suppose to lose. That was to be my outcome to gain something much greater than what winning a fourth title would have; knowing that when the tough gets going I have the strength and the willpower to overcome any hurdle.

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