Doing the Difficult

My dog is scared of skateboarders. So much so that as soon as the school year started, we had to re-route our morning walk to avoid the one skateboarder that we would undoubtedly see each day. But, here’s the thing…my dog is also scared of trashcans, boxes with vacuum cleaners pictured on the outside and the stationary crosswalk sign that appears in several places of our neighborhood. 

I can’t avoid all of these things each morning, so my sweet dog has had to face some pretty big fears. The first time she walked by the stationary crosswalk sign without incident, she looked back at me as if to say, “Did you see that? Did you see how brave I was?” And, for the rest of our walk—actually, for the rest of our day--she had a confident strut.

It’s easy for me to look at the fears of my dog and brush them aside. After all, I never heard of anyone being attacked or injured by a vacuum cleaner box. But, for my dog, these fears are real, and her response to them affects how she goes about her day.

We do the same thing, don’t we? We all have big fears we face every single day, but they may not always seem so big to others. And because they don’t seem big to others, we start to downplay them in our heads. We beat ourselves up with whispers of “You should be able to do this” and “What’s wrong with you?” instead of giving ourselves a little grace and realizing that we each have our own definitions of what is hard. And when we do those things we think are difficult, we should celebrate our accomplishments--and walk around with a confident strut. 

So this week, we are going to celebrate all the fears we face—big and small. We are going to celebrate those who are waking up earlier, those who say “yes” to leading a workshop, and those who finally get around to setting up their Instagram page. We are celebrating all those who are learning new things about a diagnosis, those who are asking questions during a meeting, and those who are making a pitch to investors. 

Regardless of the outcome of those big, scary things, we are going to celebrate just doing them, celebrating the fact that we didn’t re-route to avoid the skateboarder, but we faced our fears and did hard things. “It is by doing hard things that we become “harder” ourselves—more resilient, resourceful, and creative,” writes Anthony Moore. 

What hard things are you going to do this week?