Nobody likes a story without a problem. It's boring. We prefer triumph over adversity. It's in our nature. That's why when we avoid hardship we short-change ourselves.
There's "doing the hard stuff" and there's going through the flames of hell.
Doing the hard stuff will take us far. It's having the best customer experience. It's investing in the long game. It's making a culture out of going the extra mile.
Going through hell is something else entirely. It hurts, but it makes us something more. It's standing for something. It's making a dent in our industry. It's saying no to opportunities that pay well but don't scream our name. It's about being more than making money.
The thing is, no amount of money is worth it to walk through hell. If you take someone motivated by money and offer him a trillion dollars to walk through hell, he'll say "No way!"
On the other hand, some people walk through hell only because their set of values require them too. Sometimes it doesn't even make sense. We ask "Dan, why on earth are you not taking this opportunity to make more money without your clients knowing?" Dan, in his infinite wisdom, responds "because that's not what we're about." Dan doesn't measure success by sheer dollars. He knows that there's more to it than that.
Dan might have to eat dog food for a week because he chose to stick to his value and walk through the flames. But I guarantee he'll come out on top. People are going to know that he's a straight shooter sooner or later. He'll be known for years to come as "Dan the man" from his clients.
Life isn't measured in success. It's measured by how well we walk through the flames.
The kicker: we were made to walk through flames well. We're equipped for it. Every one of us is stronger than we think.