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When Hardship Chooses Us

The Incomparable Values of Hardship and Leadership.

Nothing is impossible!

I wrote these lines about hardship a few years ago and today the whole world is experiencing a challenging situation due to Covid 19 pandemic, so I wanted to share some light…

Twenty years ago in Paris, I was taking a French literature course, I was really struggling to write a compelling story about two human beings. The same week, I had the chance to meet a writer who simply told me that the most beautiful stories I could ever write were solely the impossible ones. I could not stop thinking about impossibilities. I could not stop imagining these impossible stories written in blood and tears, those pages filled with forbidden and torturous lines; the stories that crush your soul and change you forever; these stories that we secretly wish to be a part of it in order to completely free ourselves from the weight of reason. These impossible stories make us feel like a flying heartbeat and deeply liberate us from the killing whisper of guilt. In these stories, time is love and suffering is its alluring mansion.

At twenty years old and with a bit of French arrogance, I thought that I was invincible. I believed that I knew everything about life and people. I kept telling myself: How can beauty lie in the impossible and the forbidden? How can such suffering provide such beauty? How can so much pain give birth to such splendor? How can the impossible be so illuminating? I had completely misunderstood the idea of impossibility.

Silly you Mama!

Indeed, silly me, as my 5 year old daughter would tell me. I had completely forgotten that in France, nothing is impossible like Napoleon would say (Impossible n’est pas français). I had completely dismissed the fact that impossible is not even in the French language. I had failed to remember that in impossible the possible should always prevail. I simply had underestimated our beautiful strength as human beings to take down the adverse impossibility and to unbelievably turn it into hopeful and endless possibilities.

Twenty years later, I can say with tons of humility and a forced maturity that I eventually learnt to feel and live the impossible. I also had the chance to meet so many wonderful human beings from various places of the world, and to witness so many beautiful stories of struggle and endeavor. I finally understood what Napoleon meant. Although, I am not fond of him, and really have no intention of re-writing French history, I believe that he probably meant: impossible cannot be part of the Human language, instead of impossible is not in the French language.

Impossible cannot be part of human nature

Indeed, all human beings have personal stories with the impossible. We all were invited one day to take a tough dance with the impossible. No matter our age, race, gender, or social status, we all suddenly can be confronted with these unconquerable situations, also known as hardship. We do not choose hardship: it randomly chooses us. For once, we all are the chosen one left alone to fight or to give up.

The truth is that hardship chooses us with no distinction whatsoever. Hardship in love, work, finance, health, in the end, it really does not matter. We all have our own share of hardship in life and it makes us all look alike. Hardship brutally exposes us and undresses us from the misleading power of control. In hardship, we are free from the superficial and the artificial that make us feel so privileged and so conceited. The idea of a perfect life can suddenly be scattered because perfection is the ultimate illusion. The way hardship happens in our life makes us feel equal when facing insurmountable situations. Hardship forces us to learn new life lessons that completely impact us. Hardship pushes us to develop ourselves in a way we never thought we will. The impact hardship can have on us and the way it transforms our life reveals our true leadership abilities that we never knew we possessed.

True leadership is rooted in inspirational adversity

We all know that leadership is naturally interlaced with difficulties and adversity. Through our experiences with hardship, we are in fact able to discover so many strengths within ourselves. These experiences of hardship drive us to develop new leadership skills and abilities to overcome unfortunate situations. Any hardship is a serious shock, because it presents itself unexpectedly in our lives. However, by going through hardship, human beings have memorable formative experiences. Hardship pushes us to accept fear, vulnerability and powerlessness, and it develops more flexibility, empathy and new life perspectives.

More importantly, hardship deeply propels us to grow into better human beings. When going through tough times, we become better leaders, because we are more able to sense what other people are going through. Hardship offers us this beautiful human awareness wrapped in pain and suffering. This is a gift for us and others in need of compassion. The nature of challenging times and misfortunes is not as relevant as the way we react to these unfortunate events. What matters the most is how we recover from these sad situations. How we lead ourselves through adversity. How we succeed to give back a new sense to our life. Finally, how we develop our survival leadership abilities.

The incomparable values of hardship

Indeed, the way we face hardship is more important than the nature of hardship itself. The leadership abilities we spontaneously develop to fight and bounce back help us face any situation of hardship. We learn to develop our resilience. We learn to develop strategies to cope with the unpredictable and the unwanted. In other words, through hardship, we all learn to take the time to face ourselves and rediscover who we truly are and what we really want in our life. These self-awarenesses and forced maturity naturally help us to become better leaders in our lives. Hardship happens and we have no control over. We should not hide from it and face it in the best way we know because the power to respond to these unfortunate situations is in our hands.

As leaders, we will write these successful life stories. We will transcribe these impossible stories with thousands of pages filled with hurt, darkness and light. The stories that crush your soul and change you forever. These tortuous and forbidden lines will describe our beautiful endeavors and we will naturally lead our way out as stronger human beings and better leaders.

We will never be the same again.

KHM.

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