As I was pushing myself through my last round of kettlebell swings and running out of gas, a favorite quote came to mind:
“The world is tough and so are you.”
“You are tough” I repeated to myself as I pushed through the last three minutes of my workout that felt like 10. As much as I wanted to give up and give into the pain, I had set a goal in mind and I know I had to accomplish it.
And I did.
Then it got me thinking. Life always throws hard things at you. Whether it’s pushing yourself during a workout, facing a fear or opening up about your feelings, life can be really scary and uncomfortable. But if life didn’t push us outside of our comfort zones, how would we grow?
Science tells us that the brain naturally wants to do what’s comfortable. That’s why it’s so easy to binge on Netflix instead of go for a run or munch on a package of Oreos instead of a handful of carrots.
If we want to get stronger, healthier and grow our minds, we have to push ourselves and get outside of our comfort zones. Whether that means doing one more rep at the gym or reading a book instead of watching TV, it’s good for us to do the hard things.
So I thought it was only appropriate to make a list of really tough things in life. Hard things. Scary things. Things that make us emotional and uncomfortable. But they are also necessary things we must go through if we want to grow and become the person we know in our hearts we’re meant to be.
Life is tough and so are you. You can do the hard things and you will rise above. Here’s a list of things tough things I have either faced, things I have seen friends and loved ones face, or things I know that may eventually come into life down the road.
- Unloading the dishwasher and folding laundry after a really stressful day at work.
- Waking up in the morning without hitting snooze.
- Going to work on Monday.
- Making yourself go to the gym after work.
- Going the extra mile during your workout.
- Going the extra mile at work.
- Giving your all at work.
- Standing up for yourself and being your own advocate.
- Advocating for a friend.
- Speaking up during a meeting.
- Speaking up during a meeting when you’re the youngest in the room.
- Sharing an idea when you’re the only woman in the room.
- Challenging a person’s ideas.
- Challenging your own ideas.
- Challenging your faith.
- Believing in yourself after you’ve fallen down.
- Trying not to beat yourself up after making a mistake.
- Admitting you’re wrong.
- Asking for what you want at work.
- Giving feedback to a coworker.
- Offering a friend some honest advice.
- Telling a friend how you really feel.
- Telling your significant other how you really feel.
- Being excited for your friend who landed their dream job before you did.
- Calling your parents.
- Making time for family.
- Calling a relative you haven’t spoken to in a long time.
- Asking for help.
- Following your heart.
- Accepting criticism.
- Staying true to yourself.
- Creating your own path.
- Wandering from your path and finding your way back.
- Sacrificing what you love for someone you love.
- Taking care of an ill loved one.
- Putting your dreams on hold.
- Saying no.
- Saying yes.
- Following through with commitments.
- Trying something new.
- Going to that networking event you’ve been dreading all month.
- Making small talk at a networking event.
- Asking someone you admire out for coffee.
- Publishing a blog post.
- Pitching an idea to your boss.
- Seeking feedback on a personal creative project.
- Putting your creativity in the spotlight.
- Being vulnerable on social media.
- Taking the road less traveled.
- Opening a savings account.
- Giving up Starbucks to put money in a savings account.
- Making time for a new hobby.
- Letting go of the past.
- Living in the moment.
- Loving yourself.
- Loving others.
- Quitting a job.
- Giving your all when you have nothing left to give.
- Being grateful when everything seems to go wrong.
- Having faith in the unknown.
- Moving to a new place.
- Trusting yourself.
Doing the hard things are part of life. In fact, each of us have probably done at least a handful of these hard things today. (If you did, give yourself a high five or a big hug!). While it seems like some of these things are simple or easy parts of life, for others they are really hard. They challenge us to be better people. They challenge us to be honest with ourselves and the people we love. The hard things make us step outside of our comfort zones and explore the unknown.
The best part about doing the hard things is the growth that happens during the process. When you do something big and scary – when you face your fears – that’s when life happens. It’s not always easy to do the hard things. But the hard things are necessary. Some may see the hard things as opportunities while others may see them as a continuous uphill battle. It’s all about how you choose to see challenges that come your way and how you’re going to face them.
For me, I much rather grow from the obstacles in my life than let them become roadblocks. It isn’t always easy to overcome or rise above. But when you do, it serves as a powerful reminder that anything is possible and that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Wherever you’re at in your journey, remember that you are tougher than the world. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Image credit: Unsplash
Growth has been on my mind a lot lately.
Do you ever take a second to pause and reflect on how much things have changed from where you were a year ago and how much you have grown? Do you think about all the new experiences you’ve gained and the new ways you’ve built resilience?
All the times you’ve fallen and got back up? All the times you celebrated?
People say a lot can happen in a year. And they’re right.
This year has been the first year in a long time where I have finally felt closer to being myself. Instead of fighting with myself, I’ve gotten more comfortable with who I am. And that’s one of the best feelings in the world.
Every now and again, I like to look back over the last six months, year or even two years to take stock of the experiences I gained, new things I’ve learned and different ways I’ve grown. When I look back, it reminds me of how much stronger I’ve become and the new ways I see the world.
They say that as you get older, you get wiser. Not that I feel much wiser, but I have discovered that I now have a lot more experiences to draw on when I’m faced with a big decision or a challenge. And that I can look back on times where I had to push myself outside of my comfort zone or face a fear, and how I overcame those challenges. (Like today, hitting publish on this post.)
It’s kind of that feeling when the training wheels come off, but you still need mom or dad there to run behind you in case you fall. It’s learning to believe in yourself and know that you will eventually fall, but you will get back up and have people around you that love you and support you and will continue to cheer you on. That’s what growing up has kind of felt like for me. Learning to lean on people when I need help and knowing that I can pull myself up, too.
Another thing I’ve learned about growing up is that life comes in seasons. There are those big seasons like college, your early 20s, getting married, having kids, losing a parent or loved one, starting a business or going back to college. Then there are seasons where you’re trying figure out what’s most important to you and making those things a priority in your life.
It’s accepting the weeks or months in your life where you’re going to miss the gym more than you’d like because life happens. It’s getting down and dirty in work and powering through because you know that the more focused you are, the more you can accomplish. It’s taken some time for me to recognize these seasons, but now that I know they exist, it has made it easier to get through the tough ones and to savor the special ones.
I’m currently coming out of a season where life and work is go, go, go and I’ve had to put “me” on the back burner for a couple of weeks. But that’s OK. Because I know that I’ll soon enter a season where I can go back to square one and spend more time filling my cup. Being able to recognize that there will be crazy times of your life and slow times of your life is what makes it easier to get through the moments that are messy, fast and at times, stressful.
Growing up is weird. There are days where I feel like I’m just a kid (especially when I’m in a room full of important people and I need to think on my feet) and other days I feel like I’ve got it together. I guess that’s the beauty of life is that almost everyone feels this way, regardless of if they’re 25 or 45. It’s all about gaining new experiences that shape you and mold you into the person that you are today.
Thank you for sticking with me through this rambling post. Growth is something I’m passionate about and I am thinking about incorporating more posts like this one into the blog. I welcome your questions or ideas, and would love to hear your thoughts on growth, too.
What are your thoughts on growth? Have you experienced any growth lately?
Photo credit: Unsplash