Doing the Hard Thing

What is the hardest thing for you right now? What do you want in your life but do not know how to create? What – repetitively- comes up in significant relationships in your life, and you think, this again. The hard thing is really our inner teacher calling on us to learn and grow. It wants us to step outside our comfort zone and act in a new ways. In some respects, this message from our inner teacher is so simple, so easy. This is the method of how humans grow, becoming more fully capable and evolved beings. The metaphor of children growing is so perfect. We are children growing, always.

Even as adults, we are "children" growing. Often this is a difficult concept to live in. When we become of age, our adult ego, unless kept in line, thinks it’s finished with learning. Thinks it knows it all. We all know people who seem to be “know it all’s”. It isn’t pretty. Mostly it is irritating to be in the company of folks who know it all. This is our shadow seeing itself in the "other". We all have places where we think we know it all. Or in a less empowered way, we don’t believe we can grow beyond, or into, what is happening right now (the hard thing).

What does this all mean? Our shadow sometimes presents itself as helpless. The "know it all" looks like, “I can’t do this or I can’t change, it’s too late for me.” All those are helpless statements from the shadow self. Saying I can’t is still a "know it all" posture, just in helpless form. I know I can’t grow and change. Yes, you can. You may not be choosing to because it is the hard thing to do.

Doing the hard thing is humbling. It's admitting, right now, I don’t know what to do. It’s admitting, I am afraid of trying and not succeeding. It’s admitting, I don’t want to feel like a failure again if this doesn’t go well. It’s admitting, I have no idea what I need to know right now to make this work out well. It’s admitting, I need to learn and grow and open my heart to life in a way that I have not yet experienced.

Doing the hard thing is enlightening. When we have done the hard thing enough times, we know this as a universal truth. When we have done the hard thing and built our emotional muscles, we feel strong and capable even when we emotionally feel weak or vulnerable in the moment. When we have done the hard thing and come out the other side, a more evolved and equipped version of “me”, we welcome the hard thing as the wise teacher it is. When we do this over and over again, we are enlightened to the truth that doing the hard thing is often just what we need - on a soul level.

When faced with the hard thing, our fear can take over. We become immobilized or thrown into reactive, usually unproductive, patterns. My pearl of wisdom, gained from living the hard thing, tells me that in order to work with the fear, we move inward beyond the fear. Within each of us, beyond the fear, is a wise and peaceful place that offers an idea about how to proceed. It may only give one tiny step at a time. We must take the step and then listen quietly for the next pearl of wisdom. All we need is one little idea at a time, because life is an experiment. Finding out what works is the dance of life, as we engage with the world around us. We must not get stuck in ourselves, in the mind that wants to control. Moving deeply into our being, out of the controlling and grasping mind, we connect with meaningful and creative ways to approach the hard thing.

Doing the hard thing takes practice. We grow confidence and excitement about facing life's challenges when we understand what the hard thing is all about. Each hard thing is a calling from within to grow - to learn - to claim more of who you already are.