I did a hard thing this week. I declined a job offer. It was something I wanted, something I had been working toward, but when it came down to it, I decided that it wouldn’t make sense in the long run of my career to take a job that I probably would have been burnt out at sooner rather than later.
So I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
I did it, and didn’t really think much of it, but the fact that I now again have to work hard to achieve that change in my life hit me and sort of discouraged me. As I went to push send on the decline email, I said to myself inside my head, “I can do hard things.” That gave me the courage to push send and move on.
I can do hard things. This is something I have been trying to teach myself so I can act when I am in moments of discomfort or moments of hardship. I can do hard things, because I can. Be it ride a scary roller coaster, go to a job interview, start working on a work project, making a decision.
Really anything that I have to do, but don’t really want to, I think, “I can do hard things,” and then I do the thing.
I’m not sure how this started, but I know it started small. I was probably going to do something I perceived as scary, and I wanted to give myself a little confidence boost.
I have used this, as mentioned before, when I have ridden scary roller coasters, when I stepped up to the softball plate, when I went down a water slide, when I walked into a job interview, when I played my violin in church a few months ago. The list goes on and on.
This little mantra isn’t really just to give me confidence, it is also to give me the courage or the comfort to do something I am a little wary of. Because, I know I can do most things, if I put my mind to it, but in the moment, it is more difficult to convince myself of that. It’s more than just a moment of courage. It’s also a reminder of the hard things I have done in the past. When I rode that water slide, I said quietly to myself, “I can do hard things,” but in my head, I thought, “I can because I have before and I will again.” This is just a step to those bigger, more hard things that I can and will do.
I can do hard things because they help me grow as a person. I don’t want to be stagnant, and I’ve often been told that if you aren’t progressing, you are regressing. I don’t want to go where I’ve already been with regards to my growth as an adult. That just seems backwards. If inevitably doing something difficult or uncomfortable will help me take a step forward, as opposed to a step back, then so be it. I don’t mind a moment of discomfort. Oh I totally will still be uncomfortable, but I will still do hard things not for the sake of doing them (at least, not all the time), but also for the sake of my own progression.
So the next time you see me do something brave, be it big or small, or even if it isn’t something brave, but something I might be uncomfortable with, you will know that in my head, or maybe whispered to myself, I have said, “I can do hard things.”
Because I can, and I will. Just watch.