The Gift of Struggle: And Other Lessons about Leading

By Bobby Herrera
Book Description: Every leader has stories about the challenges they have faced and struggles they have overcome. In the moment, those situations require strength, patience, perseverance and courage. With time, those struggles provide us lessons for how to be better leaders. Bobby Herrera learned to see those struggles as gifts. As the co-founder and CEO of Populus Group, Bobby never imagined the challenges of building a $500 million organization that serves tens of thousands of people. Throughout his life, he experienced the divergence between the intentional leader he wanted to be, and the less engaged version of him that showed up at the office every day. One day at a company meeting, he decided to share a story about one of his first struggles as a young adult. That story, a pivotal experience that had transformed Bobby's life, inspired his employees with its radical transparency, humility and the idealism of Bobby's dreams for the company. In The Gift of Struggle, Bobby shares twelve of those stories from his leadership journey. Each chapter shares the details of the story, the broader lesson any leader can apply, a set of questions to reflect on, and an afterword for how the story later unfolded in Bobby's life. Building on Bobby's efforts, this book inspires readers to find their own stories, share their gifts of struggle with others, and become the leader they imagine they can be. From Chapter 1: When I was 17, my brother Ed and I played on the same high school basketball team. Returning from an away-game one night on the team bus we all talked excitedly, re-living the highlights of the game we had just won. Along the way, the bus stopped at a restaurant so the team could unload and eat dinner. Everyone filed out--except for Ed and me. My brother and I couldn't afford to buy a meal. Instead, our mom would send us off on road trips with her legendary burritos so we could participate in sports with the other kids. Eating on the bus was routine for us. Any embarrassment we had ever felt was long past. Minutes after the team had gone we were about to dig into our dinner. Unexpectedly, Mr. Teague, the father of a teammate, re-boarded the bus. He didn't say much at first--just teased me a bit because my younger brother had outscored me in the game. But what he said next, I'll never forget. "Bobby, he said, "it would make me very happy if you would allow me to buy you boys dinner so you can join the rest of the team. No one else has to know. To thank me, you just have to do the same thing in the future for another great kid, just like you." That small gesture had a profound impact on me. It's a moment that changed the course of my life. Up to that point I couldn't imagine that I would live a life different from the one I had. I knew I was resilient, and sensed I had potential, but even as a pretty good kid I already understood that life wasn't fair, and it was anything but equal. I plainly saw how much other families had in comparison to ours. I had already accepted--if grudgingly--that my life circumstances were not going to change anytime soon. As a family of migrant workers, I had felt from a very young age that we were socially invisible. Everyone relied on our work to have readily available food, but no one acknowledged what we did. Even though we were gone for 6 months of the year, traveling to work in the fields, it was as though no one noticed we were gone or cared when we returned to our small community to pick up our lives. That day on the bus I felt seen for the first time. Someone had not only noticed me, they had offered a great kindness and given me a purpose--to offer this same generosity to someone like myself in the future. Mr. Teague's simple statement implied that I could someday help someone else a lot like me. Didn't that imply success? Someone who could offer and make things happen for other people? It changed the way I looked at my life and what I wanted to achieve. I'll never forget the gratitude I felt as Ed and I joined the team for dinner that night.


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ISBN: 9781885167873

About the Hardcover

Publisher Bard Press
Publish date 06/03/2019
Pages 176
ISBN-13 9781885167873
ISBN-10 1885167873
Language English

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