Facing Giants: Use What You Have

Sometimes we find ourselves facing giants.  These giants —obstacles we haven’t faced before, challenges that could affect our livelihood, politics that could derail a career, financial struggles that cloud our vision — can weigh us down. It happens. It happens to the happy and successful and confident. It happens.

I have found myself at times in places where I thought I would lose my sanity. It is hard in those places where I was challenged in ways that forced me to confront who I wanted to be and what was not worth risking. It can be painful and scary. And yet here I am. Hopefully, sane.

It’s like running track. Fix your eyes on a spot ahead of you, maintain your form, and power through.  All the training, the exercises that hurt and then built, the diet, the stretching and practice was preparing you for this.

And then I think of David. He is my favorite. He is my companion when I am troubled, when I am down, when I am under extreme pressure, when I can’t quite figure out my next steps. I love David. I relate to David. He reminds me.

He knew he had successfully killed a bear and a lion.

They tried to put the heavy armor of a King, a King who had won many battles, on him.  But the King was much larger than David was and so he declined the armor that fit horribly. They tried to put a sword in his hand but it was too heavy for him. So he didn’t use it. He had no military experience they said, none of the requisite skills. But he knew he was good with a slingshot. He knew he had successfully killed a bear and a lion. And so he faced a giant, with righteous indignation, anger at the circumstances, a slingshot and the confidence of his past victories against other beasts (you may call them giants). He faced a giant without armor and without a sword, perhaps the only one on the battlefield without the appropriate battle gear. And he felled the giant with one shot.

Don’t get sucked into the narrative of how things should be — the armor may just weigh you down

You have to know what you’re good at. Be comfortable with your strengths, be objective about your weaknesses. Don’t get sucked into the narrative of how things should be — the armor may just weigh you down. At times we must break the rules -- going into battle without the proper armor and ammunition. Don’t use a sword you can’t carry. Assess where you need to be for your shot and use the slingshot you are the master of. Turn that disadvantage upside down.

Face some giants. And take some stones and your slingshot with you. Mine are in my pocket.

*This blog was first published in January 2015 as part of Seth Godin's It's Your Turn Challenge on Tumblr.