If we are not doing the hard stuff then we are not moving towards our own freedom.
Or to put it another way, if we are not moving through our resistance, then we will be forever stuck.
Many years ago I signed up for every personal development program on offer. The Forum, Anthony Robbins, Money and You, Insight….I did them all. What was I seeking? A magic key? Freedom? Power? All of these and more.
I love learning. I am interested in mastery. Of ever finer distinctions and refinement. It is one of the reasons I can swim 3.8 k’s three times a week for plus 18 years…and not be bored. Because in swimming you are constantly seeking refinement and mastery.
Back in the days of being a personal growth seminar junkie we were often pushed to do things that were hard. Really hard. Things like being stripped of all forms of identity and typical mediums of exchange (money, wallet, phone, jewellery etc) and going out on the street in a strange city with the task of eating a fine meal legally. (After being starved of food all day) I remember hyperventilating in the toilet before that exercise. And yet I did the exercise very well. Which was a triumph.
Then one day in Chicago while attending a program I was asked to do something and I said no. I am not going to do that. I am not going to push myself through my resistance. There was a part of me that was fatigued with all the hard. But also another part of me that was finding my own authority and the ability to say no.
Fast forward to now….and there are a bunch of things I need to do that make my palms sweat. The business I am crafting requires me to step up. Either that or retreat back to a very unfulfilling aspect of self that I know I will regret until the day I die.
Here is what I know. Hopefully this might help you move through to complete the hard stuff.
1. The hard stuff does not go away. NO amount of denial, procrastination or avoidance will work. It will inhabit your dreams and be there in the morning. Knowing this, the longer you don’t do the hard stuff the more pain you will be in. This is just true. A day, a decade…people try not doing the hard stuff and it can cost them the better part of their lives.
2. There are aspects of self that know how to do the hard stuff, or at the least have some of the requisite strengths to do the hard stuff. Call on those….so if you are absent courage but you have the ability to speak with clarity, call on the ability to speak with clarity.
3. The parts of self that are terrified, confused, numb, resistant, argumentative….cannot be denied either. Pay attention to what they are conveying. The terror is because of what? Is that real? Confusion? Are you really confused or is this a tactic to delay or avoid? Often we need some reassurance. But first we need to be present. To be heard by all of our voices competing for attention. For example there is a part of me that feels very childlike and incompetent. I think we all have this. And then there is also the part of me that is really scared of giving up control/power. If either of these aspects of myself get to rule the day or days then I will not do the hard stuff. Denying these parts of ourselves won’t work either. We need to work with them. Sometimes we do need to be firm with them, other times very loving and compassionate.
4. Clearly identify the hard stuff. Name it. Create a time line. Date it. Call on an friend to hold you to account and support you. Repeat. Again. Make notes. Learn.
5. Everyone’s hard stuff is different, personal. Thank goodness. What is hard for you is easy for someone else. Ask that someone who finds it easy to be on your team to help you to learn how to do what you find hard. But you still need to do it yourself. Passing the buck is a fools game.
When we get good at doing the hard stuff then life gets easier. It’s the only way it does. And that is the beautiful paradox.