When your greatest struggle collides with your greatest gift…

Do you know any person or organization that is in the midst of their most significant struggle – ever?

Would it help you get through the struggle if you knew that it was necessary to unleash your greatest strength?

There is a pattern throughout history that fills me with so much hope that it almost makes me wish for a big struggle…

Below are three examples.

ONE: I’ve been studying the life of a dreamer…

A boy with natural leadership skills.

A teen that knew he was born to do something of great significance for others.

But his ego was bigger than both his wisdom and his compassion.

Because he was hard to tolerate, he was betrayed by family and became a victim of human trafficking.

He spent years in slavery. …Grieving the loss of freedom, friendship, family and those dreams.

In time:

  • His big ego was replaced by humility.
  • He became wiser and more compassionate.

And in spite of his captivity, his leadership, and his refined character, were evident to everyone who met him.

Through a strange series of events, a day came when this prisoner was asked to consult with a CEO about an issue that the professional consultants said they could not figure out.

When he met the CEO, he exuded a strange mix of humility and confidence.

He discerned the issue and courageously shared a mix of good news and bad news.

And then offered wise advice.

In a moment he was freed from bondage and promoted to COO.

His advice ultimately saved the country he was in, saved the family that had betrayed him, and turned the dream he had as a teenager into a reality.


 TWO: Nelson Mandela

  • Spent 27 years in prison for believing in a dream. (Years spent probably grieving the same losses of freedom, friendship, family and dreams much like the man in the story above.)
  • A man who was given a lot of time alone – not by choice.
  • A man who leveraged that painful season to learn.
  • When he was released his gift had been developed.
  • The prisoner became a President!

Study the lives of the great people who have made an impact on the world, and you will find that in virtually every case, they spent a considerable amount of time alone thinking. John Maxwell

THREE: Dave Ramsey

  • A man that was gifted uncommon financial sense.
  • A man that experienced extraordinary success at a young age -and probably had a big head to go with his success!
  • A man that lost it all and suffered humiliation, fear, grief and marriage struggles.
  • And then, in a newly humbled state, those hard-earned lessons and his significant gift collided and he began teaching others a deeper wisdom that was a combination of both his gift and his struggle.
  • Today he lives a life of purpose, teaching people a simple process to reduce their stress, give them financial freedom, help them provide for their families and their communities at a higher level, all while providing a great living for his family and employees.

If you are in the midst of a great struggle… What are you learning that is developing your natural strengths?

Don’t give up dreamer… It is the struggle that makes you stronger, softer, wiser and prepares you for your calling.

When lessons from your greatest struggle collide with and begin to grow your greatest strength… Your purpose is discovered and unleashed Lives are changed And your cells dance!

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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26 thoughts on “When your greatest struggle collides with your greatest gift…

  1. Truly wonderful post, Chery! Love how you wove all 3 together to inspire people to pursue their dreams.

    PS – Jospeh’s story is so strong and powerful of faith & dreams. A great basis to lead people for change & perseverance!

  2. Thanks again Chery. Needed to “hear” this today. We miss you at 58watt! I’ll be thinking of you there this evening.

  3. Boy, if we can just remember to be mindful as we go through our struggles to get the lesson, I think we might move them a little more quickly to the gift on the other side. Great examples of those who rose above their challenges and moved into greatness.

  4. I’m currently going through this struggle. I’m reading and learning about myself and others. While some tell me that they, and their daughters, find me inspiring, others say that I’m holier than thou and talk poorly about me behind my back. I sometimes feel that putting me down makes them feel better for not volunteering, helping others or living their dream. And I sure do feel a lot of pressure not to let down those who believe in me.

  5. Your stories are timely Chery. We have all been prisoners at one time or another. Some of us made it through while others are still hurt and bitter that they were prisoners. I can attest that solitude can be a balm to a leader’s soul. February 2014 was one such month for me. With the end of my contract coming to an end mid-March, I got time to think. And in that there was fear and panic rolled into a tight ball. I had fleeting thoughts of how foolish I was to resign from a job with steady income. Then I remembered that I was a prisoner in that job and who I had placed my faith in. Faith broke me out of my prison. I am now moving on with greater confidence knowing I not only serve a great Master, but also helping others to redeem their break-out-of-prison key and become unmistakably authentic.

    • Kimunya – Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I am so glad you are out of “prison”! …And pray that you will have the strength to continue to walk by faith and not by sight! (I see you as very authentic already!) 🙂

  6. Life often brings us “busy” and we fall into the trap of going with that busy. Isn’t it interesting that all of your examples were thrown into different types of quiet and slow. I’m a recovering work-a-holic. Since 2009 I have been in varying firms of forced quiet. One thing that I try to do in these moments is get quiet and listen. It is often my stubbornness that will keep the lesson going. By intentionally quieting my mind, I can hear what God is saying to me and really process it. Those moments in life have given me a much stronger understanding of my purpose and strength to speak my voice when I would have otherwise been quiet.

    Thanks for the stories and comparisons. I have shared and will continue to think on it some more.

    • Stephanie,

      Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing the post. I love the you caught the “thrown into quiet and slow”. My greatest learnings have come from the quiet and slow, many times after a struggle and many times not by my choice. (All giving me great reasons to find more quiet and slow!) Stubbornness or a need to be in control, a love of people and a fear that it won’t all get done if I don’t keep going are all reasons that it is so hard to just be still!

  7. Kimunya,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am glad you are “out of prison” and anxious to hear how your lessons from there and your choice to lead authentically open new doors for you! Walking by faith and not by sight has lots of rewards!