Has someone ever given you what they considered a compliment, but you didn’t take it as such?


This happened to me recently when my wife and I were out to dinner with another couple. We were all talking about the difficulties of raising children with dual working parents, while trying to find time to be a good spouse, and somehow still take care of yourself.


The discussion went towards the pressure of working moms, mom guilt, and the prevalence of anti-anxiety medicines for a little help coping with everything. Then came the “compliment” I was given…


“Derek, you’re always so calm and don’t hardly ever seem to get ruffled. It must be nice.”


I almost spit my drink across the table. 


I guess they thought I was genetically predispositioned  to not get stressed out…what they don’t know is that I’ve spent my entire adult life with near maniacal introspection figuring out what makes me tick and why—understanding my triggers and how to avoid them; fine-tuning my mental, emotional, and physical recovery strategies along the way…all during several extremely high stakes, high-stress years that have given me a healthy sense of perspective. 


“It must be nice to have such good metabolism”…not knowing I eat super clean and am exercising at 5am almost every day.  


“It must be nice to have a successful business”…not knowing it took more than a decade of grinding every day to become another overnight success. 


The lesson I have taken away is the easier someone makes it look, the harder they’ve worked at their craft…despite social media doing its best at making the opposite look true with everyone posting the highlight reels of their endless accomplishments, perfect families, and best lives ever. 


This is why I use this platform to tell my unvarnished truth of both the successes, the struggles, and the approach. It’s important for others that are in the middle of the grind to know it’s a part of the process, to keep pushing and persevering.


To create the life for me and my family that we choose, that we want, I must be willing to live my life with intentional focus and purpose; to consistently do the things that others only consistently talk about not having the time, energy, opportunities, and other excuses of why they can’t or won’t.


We need more leaders taking the hard road of positive transformation. The real road to sustainable improvement and success…and hopefully a little less stress. 


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