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I recently heard this statement in a podcast by Stephen Mansfield. Though I’ve heard variations of it in other places, the way he said it made me stop mowing the lawn and pay closer attention.

It’s a simple statement, yet it’s packed with reality. The point of it is that life can be a struggle, success hinges on how you face up to those struggles.

We teach our kids from their earliest moments this lesson. When a baby is first learning to walk and keeps falling, we encourage them with “come on, get up, you can do it!” We tell our middle schoolers that “you can be anything you want if you’re willing to work for it” in order to build their confidence in school.

Look on the wall of many offices and buildings around you and you will find motivational posters. A guy hanging by his fingertips on the side of a cliff tells you to never let go (duh, really?). A ring of skydivers reminds you to conquer your fears (I fear snakes so this one doesn’t do much for me). And all the ones with sunrises or sunsets that tell you to believe, to dream, to achieve (all I ever seem to achieve on the beach is sand all over the floor of the car afterward).

Phrases such as “no pain no gain” or “come on push yourselves” screamed by dictatorial coaches or tyrannical Spinning class instructors. All part of the idea that to achieve what you desire in life you will face hardship.

We see this in the academy with our cadets. We drill them over and over on skills that could save their lives or ours. We push them physically and mentally to test their mettle and to let them know that this job isn’t for the faint of heart. Or take the person who puts in long hours with the books studying for a promotional exam. They give up time with family and friends, make sacrifices of short-term enjoyment for long-term satisfaction from a promotion. These are all examples of the statement that hardship is the price of success.

To those dealing with hardships in your life right now, please know that there is truth in this statement. We are not promised a life of ease, there is no guarantee that we will get everything we want. But we have to remember that sometimes success is not measured in appointments, promotions, or salary. Often times success is evident by character, relationships, or fond memories. The road is often hard, but in the end, the price will be worth it. There are people around you willing and able to help you through your difficulty. As you rely on your buddy during a search, rely on someone to help you pay the price of success.

To those of you who’ve been through hardships and who’ve paid a price how are you helping those around you with their burden? When was the last time you sent an encouraging text to someone on your crew? Did you talk to the rookie on his last shift about career advancement options or just throw out the tired old phrase of “rookies should show up and shut up?” On your last call, did you take time to list the various options for post fire clean up services to the citizen?

In sharing the burden and price of hardship with others, we ourselves become more successful. It lightens our own load when we know that we are caring for others and are not just self-centered. With emergency personnel taking their lives at an alarming rate, how can we use the word Brother/Sisterhood if we’re not willing to help them before it’s too late?

Hardship is the price of success; but I would contend, that when everyone chips in and works together, that price is less costly and more satisfying. The end result will be a success no matter what form success might take.

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