“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.” ~Rikki Rogers
A friend recently asked me: Andi, where does your strength come from?
It took me a while before I had a good enough answer for her. I sat contemplating the many roads I’ve traveled, through my own transformational journey and the inspirational journeys of all my clients who demonstrate incredible strength for me.
I moved to a different country, alone, at eighteen years old and have changed careers, battled a complex pain diagnosis with my child, and lost loved ones. I am now living through a global pandemic, like all of us, and most recently, I am recovering from a traumatic, unexpected surgery. Life has many surprises for us, indeed.
So where does strength really come from?
I wish I knew the precise answer to this question so that I could share the secret sauce with you right now, and you could have full access to all the strength you’ll ever need to achieve whatever it is that you really want. (Even the deeply challenging stuff and the tremendously scary stuff. All of it.)
I do know this:
Strength is a personal measurement for a truly unique, subjective experience. It’s entirely up to you to decide what strong means for you.
And I also know this…
Strength comes from doing hard things. It comes from showing up despite the pain or fear and going through the struggle, the endurance, and then building on that, to keep going forward and upward.
Strength comes from taking the time to notice and acknowledge what you have managed to do and accomplish until now. So much of the time we go through things without realizing what massive effort something took, and we minimize the entire experience because we only focus on the end result and not the process.
Strength comes from paying close attention to the small but significant steps and wins and incremental gains along the way. Strength comes from tracking progress and celebrating it one tiny bit at a time.
Strength comes from within—from moments of activating your highest faith and belief. Knowing why you do what you do, even when it’s not easy.
Strength comes from aligning with your core values and living with integrity even when no one is watching, and you aren’t in the mood. When we connect to what truly matters to us, we are stronger. When we believe there is a bigger plan and are hopeful about an outcome, we feel stronger. Even if we don’t know why.
Strength comes from without—by surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up and see our worth, even when we sometimes forget. It comes from choosing to envelop yourself with kindness, inspiration, motivation, and gratitude. It comes from selecting role models and learning from them. It comes from seeing ourselves through others’ eyes—especially those who see our greatness and light when all we see is our flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings.
Strength comes from grabbing lessons and blessings, often dressed up as awful mistakes and painful failures.
Strength comes from collecting moments you are genuinely proud of and taking the time to truly recognize these events for what they are and what they enabled you to accomplish. Don’t overlook them. You get to use these strengths in countless ways and in other areas of your life as much as you want to.
Strength comes from knowing yourself. As you begin to discover and unmask more of you, you get to make choices that honor more of you, and you get to live your purpose and be more of who you really are. When we know better, we do better.
The strongest people I know have had insurmountable trials. They know what to say yes to and how to say no. They know how to be proud of themselves with humility and honesty. They know how to pick their circles wisely and accept help, compliments, and advice.
The strongest people I know cry a lot and feel everything.
The strongest people I know are the kindest.
The strongest people I know have wells of inner resources that are invisible to the naked eye.
The strongest people I know can say sorry and forgive others.
The strongest people I know can forgive themselves.
The strongest people I know fall down hard, and slowly, with every ounce of courage, bravery, and might, find a way to get back up again, battered, bruised, and aching.
The strongest people I know have incredible hearts that expand wider with each hurdle.
The strongest people I know have endured so much and yet still find their smile to light up the world for others.
The strongest people I know teach me every single day how to try and be just a little bit stronger myself.