I just came back from a mind-opening and insightful workshop. There were eleven people in this intimate workshop whom I can now call my friends. They come from different countries and cultural background with life stories that were powerful and moving.  For some, English is not their first language, yet I understand their stories because they shared them using the language of the heart and soul.  One common thing I noticed from this workshop is that each of us has experienced some challenges in life; some were worse and more painful than the others.  Interestingly, the ones with the worse experience were the ones who turned around and created the biggest success. What do you think my biggest takeaway is from such a workshop?

Valuable revelation! I now have a different take on challenges.

One of the stories was about someone who came to a dead end.  He was so dissatisfied and felt he had enough of it all. He worked long hours, was making money, yet feeling unfulfilled as a parent and a husband.  During that trying time, his company asked him to attend a seminar in a different city. At this seminar, he sat next to a gentleman who gave him a book he had written.  That book changed his life, and for the last 18 months, this gentleman has become his mentor. Another story was from a lady who had experienced a traumatic episode, she was abused.  For years she endured awful moments, and at one point she felt that killing herself was her only way out. Then one night she was awakened by her own dream, she felt she was saved by a power she couldn’t explain.  She ran away from the abuse, started new on her own, and finally became a coach for abused women.  She recently celebrated her 50th year of freedom from that awful episode.

Ten year ago, my husband and I had to take a painful route of letting go of a business we had built after I moved to the US. We poured hard work, energy, and time into this business. At the end, it almost drained us of all of our resources. In hindsight, I could see that many people were in the same boat during the economic downturn. But I couldn’t help feeling lost and such a failure.  Up to that time, my life here had been channeled toward building that business. Now I felt like a loser, I had failed. It was definitely the lowest point I had experienced in life.  Yet, that was also the turning point that finally brought me to where I am now, doing what I passionately enjoy and love, feeling fulfilled being of service to the community, and ready to expand even more.

A wise man once said, challenges are the pre-cursor to breakthroughs and successes, if only we allow ourselves to learn from them and surrender to the journey. From the 11 stories I heard just this weekend, they all have the elements of surrender and learning.  Yet, challenges are uncomfortable, frustrating, and disheartening experiences we go through. The more we fight it, the deeper we go into the abyss of our own being.  Imagine seeing a non-swimmer falls off a boat into the water, the more panic he is, the deeper he sinks. If only he surrenders and stops struggling, he’ll stay afloat. Yet, his mind is so full of fear that he couldn’t let go and trust the process.

Our mind is so powerful that it can either inspire or kill us. This weekend workshop has helped me embrace challenges and look at them from a different point of view.  In life, we will always be faced by challenges; big and small.  Consider them as powerful energy that will turn your life around for the better. Be grateful you’re given a chance to experience it, life will become more fulfilling on the other side. You’ll be richer, deeper, and humbler as a human being.

#learningfromchallenges #learnandsurrender #breakthroughs #livingyourinspiredlife #ingemaskun