What’s The Worst 4 Letter Word?
I love me an F bomb!
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a healthy love for the four letter words. Personally, I like a well placed F bomb. Done right, it can take a story to a new level, in my humble opinion and much to the chagrin of my late mother and the women in my Bible study.
The four letter word for today.
The four letter word that I want to talk about today, however, is the word “hard”.
Like old shrinking party balloons sinking to the floor, that clearly announce that the fun is over and it’s time to deal with the unfriendly smack reality the truest words are spoken “this is going to be hard!” My client has just come face to face with reality.
Yes, my friend, it is going to be hard. Transformation is hard. Transitions, life changes, making dreams come true, failure, rebirth, parenting, dating, being single, being married, getting divorced, being a pet owner, being alive-it’s hard!
I just rolled my eyes.
I have a friend who won’t use the word hard, she says “new”. This will be a “new” experience. Okay, I’ll admit, I just rolled my eyes when I wrote that. I understand what she is doing. By choosing a different word she is trying to give the experience a different meaning. But here’s the thing, it is the newness that makes something hard.
But what’s wrong with hard?
Hard simply means you are working toward something and it’s difficult. Is that really a bad thing? It’s when the word hard gets conflated with the feelings of pain, suffering and struggle, that we want to give it a more friendly name. There just may be pain, suffering and struggle when you do the hard stuff. Of course, no sane person wants more struggle, but I would argue that you are creating more pain and suffering in your life by avoiding something because you fear it may be hard.
Choose Your Hard.
Starting a new business, leaving a career,
leaving a relationship, making choices that reflect who you are at your core- all hard. What’s harder? Not doing them. Trust me, the longer you avoid making changes in your life because you are afraid of how hard it may be, or how it may make you feel, the harder your life will actually become.
Choose your hard. You can choose the hard conversation that will propel you toward your new life, a life of your choosing. Or you can stay right where you are, drifting in your current situation.
Choose to leave the job where you feel unfulfilled and under appreciated or stay and grow resentful. Choose to end a toxic relationship that makes you feel unloved or stay and continue to question your value and worth. Choose to reach out to that person you admire and really want in your network, or fill your mind reasons why you shouldn’t. Choose to avoid writing an email because it feels too uncomfortable, or write it and live with a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Choose to do what you’ve always secretly wanted to do for years, or avoid it because you don’t know how it will work out.
You can choose the version of hard that is leading you into the new and unknown, toward your dreams and your potential. Or, you can choose the familiar version of hard, the one that requires little change and no growth on your part.
There is hard that will push you, shape you and give your life meaning. And, there is hard that is so familiar you may not recognize it any longer. There is a version of hard that is calling you into the best version of yourself or a version of hard that is begging you to stay right where you are, right as you are.
The unknown is what’s hard.
It’s the challenge of uncertainty that gives life it’s rich pleasures like the exhilaration of accomplishment, discovery, creation, surprise and faith. There is so much power in committing to something when you honestly don’t know how it will turn out. It’s pushing into the unknown that brings out our greatness.
First, you trek into the unknown and then it becomes known. And then, into the next unknown, and so it goes. You will push the boundaries of your known territory further and further into the hard,
badlands of the unknown.
Uncertainty and the unknown are the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunities for humankind.
Say it with conviction.
While the word hard won’t spice up a story the way some of my other favorite four letter friends might, it’s word I will use with conviction and meaning.
It comes from the heart.
When I say I am doing the hard work, I say it with my heart. When my clients declare that their next move will be hard, I know their hearts are in it, too. Conviction, heart and hard, to me, are powerful when used together.
You are already doing hard.
My hope is that you realize, you are already doing hard, even if you believe you have found a way to avoid it. By choosing to continue on in something familiar or painful or unfulfilling because venturing into the unknown seems hard…well, you have chosen your version of hard. Below, you will have an opportunity to do the work and explore the concept of hard more deeply.
Do the work:
Get your journal and get ready to reflect and write.
I would urge you to explore further what hard means to you and why you may be avoiding the hard stuff. I can’t think of one proud accomplishment in my life that didn’t come through hard work.
- Make a list of all the things that you want to do but don’t because you tell yourself it will be too hard.
- Now, imagine it is five years from today and you are looking at the list of all the things you did not do because it was too hard. What do you deeply regret not doing? Why?
- Now, imagine it’s five years from now and you did the things on your list, even though they were hard.
- Write down how doing the hard things changed your life.
- How is avoiding doing the hard things impacting your life right now?
- If you could pick one hard thing to work on right now, what would it be?
- What is one small step you could take toward doing that hard thing? For example: if you want to run a marathon but don’t run much, you could join a running club that has other beginners in it.
Choose your hard. How do you want to invest your time ( a limited and unredeemable asset)? Will you hold onto your current situation where you aren’t happy or thriving or worse, it’s actually soul sucking? Or, will you pursue a future that brings your dreams and desires to life? You will have to push beyond your boundaries of known into the hard of the unknown. But you will find yourself, your purpose and meaning there.