By Peggie Arvidson
Doing Hard Things
“You can do hard things.”
This phrase first came up as I was talking with a friend who hiked from rim to rim in the Grand Canyon — in one hike — it took more than 12 hours but she did it. And in the retelling, she told me the biggest takeaway was that she can do hard things.
I’ve been thinking about this in terms of life. I’ve been thinking about all the things we tell ourselves we just can’t do — “have more than enough money” “find and live with a true love” or “have a career that’s satisfying”.
The thing is – you can. I can.
However, all the mindset talk in the world won’t change your situation if you don’t go a little deeper.
You’ve got to get beyond wanting the thing and repeating to yourself that you can have the thing — you have to move into the doing of the thing.
For instance, with money, people always say they want more money (who doesn’t?) but when you start to outline all the things to do to earn and receive that money they shake their hands, scrunch up their lips and say “EWWW”. They don’t want to work that hard. They want money and they want it easily. So they repeat the mantra.
(And trust me…I’ve done that…sometimes years on end…just ask all my creditors how well that worked!)
Then we get an outcome in our head and don’t want to “settle” for less. Let’s say you’re a person who only has a dollar at the end of the month and you want more money in the bank each month. You set your sights on $10,000 for next month – because, you know, everyone tells you can do it.
(And you absolutely can do it – BECAUSE YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!)
However, if you balk at changing what you’ve been doing to bring in the cash (that’s netting you a dollar at the end of the month) because whatever you need to do to increase your month-end cash to $100 or $10,000 is too uncomfortable, you just won’t do it.
It’s not because you can’t, it’s because in your hierarchy of priorities you don’t want to (or maybe your life at the moment just won’t let you do the hard things – but either way – the change is hard. Inertia is a powerful thing)
Here’s a simple example: I have wanted to entertain in my home for a while but my house is pretty messy for various reasons. Bottom line — I just didn’t feel like making time in my day to clean the house.
I really wanted to entertain, so much so that I proceeded to give invitations to my neighbors for a happy hour. My house was still in need of a deep cleaning and all my mantras about having a clean house and mopped floors weren’t doing jack.
You see, for me, mopping the floor is a HARD THING. I’ll gladly cut down a tree and bundle it all into piles for re-use before I’ll get out a mop bucket and do the floors.
Still. I wanted clean floors. I knew what I had to do to have clean floors. I knew I wasn’t going to like doing it. (It was hard for me – not physically, just mentally I guess). I went out and bought myself a new mop (because I thought part of what I hated was the old mop — it wasn’t) and I filled up the bucket. And I mopped the dang floors. I swore the whole time that I would never again have tile like the tile we currently have.
As I was finishing the last square, my dear friend who has gone through the hell of medical emergencies for the past 3 and half months called to talk. She is a soul sister of the deepest meaning. She has had medical procedures and diagnoses that I can’t imagine enduring and she is still funny, deep, spiritual and amazing. As we talked about her current situation we concluded that she can do some seriously hard stuff.
I told her about the mopping and that I was thinking it’s all the same – (but not at all) – wrapping our heads around doing the hard stuff. We agreed that the key to doing hard stuff is to choose to do it, not to wait for it to change.
Because without that choice – to do one thing differently – no matter how hard it is to take action – we stay where we are.
So I want to remind you-you can do hard stuff. But you don’t have to do all the hard stuff.
If you want 10 grand in your bank account – and you know WHY you do and what it will do for you and your life – then by all means – do the hard stuff.
If, however, you decide you really want an extra $150 each month to feel whole and complete – don’t sweat the 10 grand hard stuff and only do the hard stuff for that extra 150.
You see, doing the hard stuff requires you to decide which hard stuff is of greatest value to you and to be okay with your choice. Let yourself off the hook for the stuff you don’t REALLY want and focus on doing the hard stuff for your true purpose and self.