Robert Baumgartner lives his life like a blazing headlamp in the middle of the dark woods. By his personal example, this teacher and coach has helped students overcome challenges in life. After back-to-back bouts with cancer, Robert has learned the secret of facing down fear in the middle of great difficulties. He now uses his life experiences to help his students and athletes face their fears.
During my recent Unbeatable Podcast interview, Robert described how he found the faith to trust the outcome of his health problems, despite living through medical diagnoses that were out of his control.
He describes walking through the challenges of facing multiple life-threatening cancer diagnoses, like traveling through dark woods on an unknown path. Because Roberts has successfully navigated through these uncertain medical diagnoses more than once, he’s learned a few transferable principles about facing hardships. Robert’s courage in the face of adversity is a headlamp for all of us to follow when walking through the dark woods.
It’s darkest in the center
The middle of a problem can be incredibly dark and difficult to navigate. Often, when we’re right in the middle of a challenge, we realize just how big it is. But even though the woods ahead can seem long and hard, it’s important to remember that the light is at the end of the tunnel.
The middle of a challenge is a strategic point where you must decide to keep going forward or turn backward. The key is to keep pushing forward, even when it feels like the hardest thing in the world. And if you can hold on to the hope that the future will be brighter than the past, you’ll be able to make it through even the most challenging times.
Every challenge brings a choice
Every challenge in life is also an opportunity to grow. The greater the challenge, the greater the growth if faced well. However, challenges can destroy your confidence and hold you back in the future. The difference between personal growth and crushing your confidence boils down to one trait: perseverance. Your ability to hang on during hardships often determines how difficulties shape your life.
Enduring challenges helps you grow and prepare you for future opportunities. Standing firm during tough times builds resilience and leads to greater success, while avoiding problems hinders your long-term growth.
Don’t make the fatal mistake of turning around or giving up when you might be a few steps away from seeing the light at the end of the dark woods.
½ way through the woods
Perspective is everything when facing difficulties. How you view your challenge will largely determine the outcome. It’s fascinating how different the outlook can be while two people are standing at the same spot in the middle of the dark woods. The pessimists can only see how much dark wood is still before them.
The optimists, however, see how much of the dark woods they have already successfully navigated. Robert learned that the best views are waiting at the end of the bumpy roads in life.
To successfully navigate the scary challenges in life, it’s essential to have hope that’s stronger than your difficulties. Your vision for the future can help you overcome obstacles. You don’t need perfect eyesight, but you must have persistence to face the challenging path that leads you there.
The view is worth the effort!
I have seen some of the most extraordinary nature scenes from the strenuous climb up steep mountains or treacherous trails.