I played my first senior game of professional football in August 1983. I played my second in April 1985, some 20 months later. During that time, I was not injured, my form was good, and, there was no logical reason why I would have to wait that long between senior games. It wasn’t until I played that second game and was one of the best players, which launched my professional career, that I worked it out. When I started submitting the book about my amazing mother, Dance Until it Rains, to publishers, I had no idea I would have to face over 50 rejections from publishers, and that it would take almost seven years from pen down to published book in my hands. I also had no idea that its achievement, and the impact of the book would change many lives, most profoundly my own. I really wasn’t aware, until the blessing came, that success lay on the other side of relentless struggle, opposition and discouragement.
As I reflect back, many years ago, to when I was that relentless 18-year-old striving for seemingly unattainable re-selection in the senior team, I inadvertently stumbled across a universal principle that has helped me to this day, and, I know will for the rest of my life. It is the principle which states that; everything you want is on the other side of your comfort zone, or, every success or blessing lies on the other side of the point in which giving up seems the best option.
A great friend and colleague of mine, Pastor, author and inspirational speaker, Dr Allan Meyer inspired me to write this blog when I watch a talk he did called; Endurance: A Tool for Life. He referred to one scripture in the bible from James 1:12 which, amongst other things, states; Blessed is the man who endures. Endurance is, as Dr Allan discusses, one of the most important tools we can have in our tool-kit to experience the blessings and successes that life has in store for all of us, if we endure.
Let’s quickly look at a definition of the word ‘endure,’ because it doesn’t sound fun at all. In the Cambridge Dictionary, Endurance is defined as; the ability to keep doing something difficult, unpleasant, or painful for a long time. It doesn’t sound enjoyable, does it? So, why would you or I even consider persisting with something difficult, unpleasant and painful for a long time? I’ll tell you why. Because, on the other side of the difficulty, unpleasantness and pain lies everything you want in life. The only thing I would change in this definition is the word ‘ability’. Honestly, it does not take ability to endure, it simply takes; a vision, a desire, a decision and a willingness. That is something everyone can harness and use to create abundance in their own lives.
With purpose and desire, getting across is easier…
Have you ever heard the saying that; the dog in the fight doesn’t notice the fleas? The dog is far too focussed on its purpose of winning the fight and getting the girl dog, that a few insignificant flea bites don’t even get any attention. But that same dog, lying in the sun, with nothing to do, will spend hours scratching and gnawing the fleas and their bites. It is the same for us. The things that seem painful, actually aren’t that bad when our focus is for a greater purpose, and its achievement is what we desire. We simply do what it takes, without even noticing annoying distractions.
Between August 1983, when I played my first game with St Kilda, and April 1985, when I played my second, I experienced, every week for 20 months; rejection, discouragement, pain, blood, doubting myself and feelings of wanting to give-up. So, what kept me enduring, when all logic would suggest that giving up was the best option? Well, it certainly wasn’t talent, intellect or natural ability. It was a clear vision and a strong desire to get the result. And whilst all the obstacles were annoying, they were never going to stop me because I was focussed on the other side.
Between September 2004, when I started writing Dance Until it Rains, and February 2011, when I held it in my hands, I suffered; the loss of my mother, the struggles to get over the grief, the rejections of more than 50 publishers & literary agents, the doubts in my head and the temptation to throw it in. Again, it was not talent, intellect or natural ability that got the job done, it was endurance fuelled by a burning passion to honour my mother and get her inspiring story out to the world. Every rejection was just another step in the process of finding the publisher I would eventually partner with to make it a reality.
How did Colonel Sanders endure 1009 rejections to sell his recipe for southern fried chicken that launched the KFC empire we know today? It was not talent, intellect or natural ability, but, vision, passion and desire. How did JK Rowling sustain herself and overcome more than 40 rejections from publishers to launch the Harry Potter Franchise that has become a global phenomenon today? It was not talent, intellect or natural ability, but, vision, passion and desire. How did my mother, Sue Jobling, who I wrote about in Dance Until it Rains, survive, thrive and overcome enormous difficulty, pain and uncertainty for fifteen years longer than her initial cancer diagnosis predicted? It was not talent, intellect or natural ability, instead it was her vision, passion and desire.
What do you want? What are you striving for in your life that logic and reasoning suggests is not going to be easy or even possible? How do you want to live your life? Who do you want to become? Do you want an exceptional life? Do you want to make the most of every second, and, never feel the bitter sting of regret? The chances are that, whatever is your desire, it will require endurance. The probability is that you will be faced with many obstacles that will test, deter and discourage even the strongest and most talented people. Those without a clear vision and a strong desire will fall prey to the ‘it’s all too hard’ trap.
I can tell you, from my many personal experiences, that enduring through, when giving up seems the best option, will release more joy, blessings and successes on the other side than you can possibly imagine. Make no mistake, you are designed to endure, you are meant to fight & struggle, and, you are created to conquer. However, be warned, if you let false thoughts, that you aren’t good enough, enter your mind, or, you aren’t clear on what you want, you will not make it through to the other side. You are good enough, so endure and enjoy the success that lies on the other side of adversity.