Talking with a friend over dinner recently, we reminisced about the days when we were fireballs.Â We were fearless and felt invincible. Hard things didn’t scare us.
In my 20s if someone dared me to do something I did it mostly because they dared me. Not because Iâ€™d thought through all the possible repercussions. Iâ€™ve also done things under the heading of â€œItâ€™ll be a great story to tell the grandkids.â€ Sometimes you know there will be â€œhell to payâ€ for some choices you make. Other times, we make choices that should be innocuous only to find them in the â€œyou gotta be kiddingâ€ file when the repercussions hit. When they hit, you might be faced with hard choices.
When Tracy G and I were in our twenties, we sat on cheap folding chairs around a card table in my apartment, talking about being in a band. The guy with us played guitar. We mightâ€™ve sung one song that night, but thatâ€™s a sketchy memory. Anyone who knows me knows Iâ€™m not one to stand in the spotlight, thatâ€™s just not my comfort zone.
Tracy and I waited tables. Talking about being in a band was a dream. And, mostly it was just talk from two girls who wanted to make a lot more money. She liked singing and the only instrument I played was the radio.
One day my boss calls saying she doesnâ€™t need to come back to work. When I ask what thatâ€™s about, she said, â€œI hear your band is going on tour. I need someone who can stay and do the job.â€
She didnâ€™t really want to hear that I wasnâ€™t in a band, didnâ€™t own an instrument and had never played a single solitary gig. She didnâ€™t amend her decision and I wasnâ€™t about to take it lying down. I filed a complaint against her with workmanâ€™s comp and won. She paid my unemployment for about 6 months while I looked for another job.
What I learned
Itâ€™s not easy to go against an established business and beat them at their own game. But I did. Doing the hard things in this life are worth the time and effort they take. Why? Because most people wonâ€™t do them.
Many people want to take the path of least resistance.
Successful people do whatâ€™s hard because they know that without the refining fires of challenge, you never really know what you are capable of. You never reach the best version of you. You never become all that you could have been. Successful people learn from the hard things.
Otherwise, you’re settling.
Certainly at least once (and maybe more than that) youâ€™ve gotten to the end of something and thought, â€œIf I had known how hard that was going to be at the beginning, I wouldnâ€™t have started.â€
I have. But the next thought is, well, I did it! And the next time, it isnâ€™t hard. That doesnâ€™t always mean doing things the hard way. Doing hard things isnâ€™t a guarantee that you will succeed at all of them. But when you succeed, itâ€™s sweet victory! It spurs you on to another challenge. Even if you fail youâ€™ve learned what doesnâ€™t work.
One friend of mine in a violent relationship was told she wouldnâ€™t ever leave her abuser. But you know what? It took planning and a lot of help, but she did. And it changed her life.
Another friend was told she could never write a book. They implied she wasnâ€™t smart enough. But she accomplished it and itâ€™s on bookshelves at a bookstore in my city right now. And it increased her visibility in her field.
What does this mean for you?
Maybe youâ€™ve been told you canâ€™t change jobs, you canâ€™t start your own business, you canâ€™t lose weight. You donâ€™t have to accept that as the final answer. If youâ€™re willing to invest time in your goal, it doesnâ€™t matter how long it takes if thatâ€™s what you want. Reaching goal is the important thing, not the time it takes.
We canâ€™t listen to the people who donâ€™t walk in our shoes. They donâ€™t know what youâ€™re made of. And sometimes we donâ€™t know ourselves until we give a difficult challenge our all.
Maybe youâ€™re facing something right now that looks impossible. Maybe others are saying you canâ€™t do it. What do you want? How can you break it down into manageable chunks and work at it a little at a time?
Please let me hear from you about your challenge. I will spur you on!