Perhaps the title of this email got your attention because of all the recent concerns about ID theft, data compromise and forgery, and the billions of pieces of information floating in cyber space and on the dark web that can be used by criminals to steal someone’s identity and wealth. That’s not what I’m referring to. As I’m writing this, my mind is going back to times when I’ve been inside factories watching large pieces of metal being heated until they are red hot and then being smashed repeatedly to reshape them into something far more useful.
Face it, leadership is not always easy or fun. Owning your own business can be downright challenging at times. That’s when you become like that piece of metal going through the forging process. The hammering causes sparks of impurities to fly off, leaving behind metal that is tempered, stronger and far more useful. During the times of repeated heating, hammering and quenching, however, it is tempting to give up.
Think back to times of uncomfortable “heat” you have gone through in some of your business endeavors or in your personal life. The purpose of refinement is to expose impurities so they can be removed. Those circumstances opened up your vulnerabilities to improvement and correction. When those times come, you must adopt a refuse-to-quit attitude. It helps if you have a long-term perspective when looking at difficult situations instead of just looking at that moment, or that day, or that week, or even those months of unpleasantness and pain.
Good character, like gold, can go through the fire and remain pure and untarnished. The experience you gain from going through the fire is what gives you the character, skill and wisdom to be able to assist others when they enter their uncomfortable situations.