Do Hard Things
Okay, okay, I get it. If you’ve been following our latest series, it’s filled with a lot of advice that’s easy to say or write about, but a little tougher to live out.
“The secret sauce of being awesome is Believing.” You’ve got to have confidence, you must believe in yourself, also expect great things, and for heaven sake, get out of suckville…blah blah blah. That all sounds good, but how do you do it?
How in the world do you gain that confidence? Do you just wake up one day and say, “I got this”? Do you just walk out the front door thinking, “I am awesome”? Do you put on a cape, fly out the window and save the world through the sheer force of your belief?
Well, maybe some of you can. But for me, it takes a lot of convincing. I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem and self-doubt, and in a constant battle in my head trying to overcome my own limiting beliefs… I guess I’ve always been a mess. Something had to change.
Just recently I shared this story about my triumphant and courageous exit from a previous job that almost destroyed my soul (just being over-dramatic here). But what I didn’t share was what happened after. I was starting my career all over in a new place. I had to rebuild a network and establish credibility with people who didn’t know or care about what I had done in the past. Looking back, it was one of the most challenging times of my life. I needed a breakthrough. Bad.
In the midst of feeling sorry for myself, I was helping my brother-in-law find a new office manager for his architectural firm and I came across a resume. Something jumped out at me. Like it was screaming at me. On the Extracurricular section of her resume, she wrote: LA Marathon, Boston Marathon…and immediately I thought to myself: he needs to hire her, because…if she can run a marathon, if she can overcome the agonizing pain of 26.2 miles and if she can withstand the mental and emotional challenges of everything that requires…SHE CAN DO ANYTHING!
And Bingo. That’s just the epiphany I needed for myself. For my own breakthrough, I needed to do hard things.
I needed to run a marathon.
Mind you, I’d never run more than 3 miles before in my life. But, I printed out the training schedule and followed it everyday. I slowly worked my way up to being able to run 20 miles without stopping. Some runs were in the heat of summer, but I was determined. This was my breakthrough moment, and when the day arrived, I was ready. I couldn’t believe it.
I remember vividly, March 6, 2005, LA Marathon XX. I’ll never forget getting to mile 20 and thinking there is no possible way I could finish. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Everything hurt. But weirdly, something deep within me didn’t want to give up. So I looked down at my feet and just concentrated on putting my one foot past the other….over and over again until I eventually saw a glimpse of the finish line. Then I remember running past the finish line with both of my hands high in the air, tears streaming down my face, thinking to myself, “I did it! I did it!”
There was still something about this accomplishment that I didn’t quite understand. Yes, it was empowering. And yes, it was a physical and mental victory. And yes, it was a way of overcoming my own doubts and fears. But back to the resume that gave me the original epiphany – what I remember most about that moment was thinking to myself, “I just ran a marathon – I CAN DO ANYTHING!”
How do you gain confidence? How do you learn to believe? How do you expect great things? Do hard things. Keep doing hard things. Keep breaking your own barriers. Keep surprising yourself. For me, since then, I’ve ran (7) full marathons, (2) 200 mile relays and over 50 half marathons. I want to keep doing hard things….I want to be addicted to doing hard things.
Are you with me? Our series comes to an end next week, and we can’t just end the series without a Call to Action, right? So, I’ll be introducing an awesome challenge that we can all do together. It will help us grow. It will help us out of suckville, it will help us beam with belief and confidence…we are gonna do hard things together. Are you ready?
Can’t wait to share more next week!