The Hard Stuff

Recently I read a wonderfully succinct article  which struck me in between the eyes. It was both empowering and hard hitting……and very appropriate as we begin month #2 in 2014.

I have tried to consolidate the key points below. In a nutshell, the concept is all about ‘doing the hard things’ – the things we dread, the things which are scary, the things which are daunting. Frankly, my parents reared my sister and I to not skirt from those things which we didn’t want to do. Yet, as we grow older those ‘things’ are bigger than ‘eating all our green peas’ or ‘keeping our annual dentist appointment’. These things may include making the hard call to let an employee go that was not delivering against expectation. It may be facing a cancer diagnosis with optimistic resiliency. It may be supporting a friend as they navigate an unbelievable betrayal of another friend.

The list below, from Dan Waldschmidt’s article is both blatantly honest and vulnerable – two of my favorite qualities in people and in writing. It was thought provoking to me and also quite energizing.

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

Net: we have to do the hard things. These are indeed the things that define us – and make us stronger. It is very easy to rationalize NOT doing these things, and pretend that everyone but us needs to do these. Yet, these are the things that define our character. These are the things that create our destinies and our legacies. As we continue our journeys in ‘earth school’, we have the unique opportunity in our careers, our work, our volunteer efforts, and in our lives to make the hard calls and swim that last heroic mile.  The choice is ours – each day, each moment. What will we choose?


12 responses to “The Hard Stuff

  1. Graet post Kristin and very true. Most times, we fail to slay the dragons that caus efear in us, mainly because we fail to venture out to its den and challenge it. A very timely post for me

  2. True and Contrarian to my nature. That “road less traveled” is traveled less for a reason. Nevertheless, to the degree that I DO the difficult things…I change and change the lives of others. Thanks for the smack between the eyes.

  3. Wow! Does this ever resonate with me on so many different levels….professionally, family, sports…it is all encompassing. I thank you for sharing as this will be distributed widely.

  4. Kristen
    I will be the challenger this morning in the text – his “have to” dispels the possible absolute self enjoyment and realization once when one actually makes a fool out of oneself. So life is full of “have-to” and life is also hopefully full of “just because I want to” – and I would suggest the goal is some or all of both! Enjoying your good work and thanks for sharing!

  5. First of all, I loved the Earth School reference…recognizing we all have human experiences along the way, the difficulties go with the territory so to speak. The one that really struck me on a professional level was – “You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.”

    There is so much truth in that, and daring to lead without knowing the outcome takes tremendous courage and willingness to risk, yet can lead to the most rewarding outcomes.

  6. Wow! This reads like an embarrassing autobiography in some ways. No matter how strong we feel we are, there are always insecurities and doubts to deal with both professionally and personally. Some we overcome better or more easily than others. Thanks for the insightful comments. Sounds like another book!?

  7. Kristin,
    Great article. I am going through a lot of them right now. As I told you some time ago, I am a dual-caregiver to both my mom in a nursing home (out of state) and my husband in a nursing home in Richmond. I’ve had to recently place my husband on medicaid and now I’m trying to sell our home. My saving grace is my singing career (I perform at restaurants, country clubs and nursing homes).
    When challenges surround you, you realize just how much you can handle. When people mean a lot to you, you forget about yourself and can do wonders.
    Your article will keep a lot of folks in check. If anyone ever complains about anything, send them my way. Remember—Life is a valuable tool–we can learn a lot about ourselves and even in the midst of problems, give back to others.

  8. Kristin, your posts are always on target, true and motivating, but this one really strikes home. When we are finding our new normal, whatever the reason for rebuilding, these are the rules to guide us. I printed them, they are now on the fridge, and I will live by them! Thank you.

  9. So glad you enjoyed this article. I wrote it to myself in the middle of the night as a challenge to do what I was afraid to do. Millions of views later that post seems to be a challenge that many of us need (it seems).

    Love you: DAN

  10. Dan – you have influenced SO many individuals…..and I am touched and empowered, personally, by your vulnerable yet hard hitting article! Thank you!! It was my honor to reference it and give you more visibility!!

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