Do­ing hard things

The hardest things you will ever do will be the great­est gifts you’ll ever re­ceive.

Good - - GOOD + CORDIS - with Paula Gos­ney

Some­times life dumps us into a place so tough and spiky, so un­pleas­ant – so stress­ful, that we wish with the force of a great hur­ri­cane that it would be over; we would never in a mil­lion years choose to feel so un­com­fort­able. I’m talk­ing about do­ing hard things, things so far out of our com­fort zone that ‘yes’ would not be an op­tion.

The truth is, most of our life we try to avoid this kind of dis­com­fort. We don’t want to feel vul­ner­a­ble, scared, fool­ish or re­jected, so we get very good at de­fend­ing the safe choices we make. The crazy thing is, the hardest things you will ever do will be the great­est gifts you ever re­ceive. The gifts of growth, wis­dom, em­pa­thy and, if you can truly em­brace it, com­pas­sion for your­self.

We can’t choose this gift of hard things though, and you won’t see the gift as you bat­tle through – not one lit­tle bit. Nor can you have a look, or give it go; that would be like pop­ping into ‘hell’ to take a peek. I’m pretty sure view­ing ‘hell’ from the stands isn’t quite the same.

The only way to re­ceive this gift is to be am­bushed by naivety, op­ti­mism, greed, mis­for­tune or a re­ally con­vinc­ing hu­man. And when you are, you’ll wail, blame, bitch and gnash your teeth as you live through the ex­pe­ri­ence.

In times gone by, these gifts, tri­als or rit­u­als were part of life; tests so ar­du­ous that they broke the child and re­turned the adult. Not so much now; we tend to pro­tect our young­sters from fail­ure and pain and in the process, strip them of that in­ner strength that shines through in those who have been tested.

When we do hard things (re­ally hard things) we dis­cover who we are, and there is no short­cut. No one can build mus­cle for you, nor de­velop the dis­ci­pline to carry on. No one can show you the depths of your strength and re­source­ful­ness. This can only be forged in the fires of life as we face the worst and say, ‘bring it on!’

Once the hard thing is done and you are worn, bat­tled and bruised, don’t dwell on the ru­ins and the what ifs, the bits that didn’t work. Peek in­side your heart and you’ll see a fire of know­ing burn­ing there; a new strength, wis­dom and em­pa­thy that can­not be taken, bor­rowed or stolen – it is yours now, to have for­ever.

Most of us mere mor­tals can’t choose hard things be­cause our de­fences are too well learned; our con­scious mind will step in and shut us down. If you want a big­ger life and to face the sneaky fear that keeps us small, say ‘yes’ when you’re not sure and if you are very, very lucky, you may find your­self stuck in the mid­dle of a very hard thing.

In as­so­ci­a­tion with Cordis Book a ta­ble at Dis­ney’s Christo­pher Robin High Tea by Cordis at The Lobby Lounge - Septem­ber to 14 Oc­to­ber. Call 09 300 2924 Paula Gos­ney is a coach, busi­ness­woman and cre­ator. Start­ing the first of her three suc­cess­ful busi­nesses at 21, she dis­cov­ered along the way a great tal­ent for help­ing oth­ers catch sight of their po­ten­tial.

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