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Change is hard. Transformation is hard. Hard is not relative. Hard is hard.
Chemotherapy is hard.
Getting laid off is hard.
Bankruptcy is hard.
An out-of-control teenager is hard.
The end of a relationship is hard.
Fill in your own blank ________
There are many of us who will tell you to watch your mouth; to speak consciously and be aware of the words (and energy) you put out there. I am one of the people who remind you to use positive, psychologically powerful words, and to avoid ones that could extend or escalate the very feelings you don’t want to have.
Ordinarily, I would suggest replacing “I’m going through a hard time,” with “I’m feeling challenged right now.” After all, the words we say now create tomorrow’s experience.
Why the exception now? Because I want you to know that hard is hard, and re-framing it as ‘challenging’ or an AFGO (another fucking growth opportunity) can seem dismissive of your feelings about it; it can seem disingenuous. Sometimes lemons are lemons and no one, especially YOU at the time, wants to make lemonade.
All hard ‘knocks’ have a few things in common:
- Hard might have been expected, but ‘this hard’ wasn’t.
- Hard is disappointing.
- Hard dashes our hopes.
- Hard produces self-doubt.
- Hard makes us feel out of control.
- Hard vaporizes our courage.
- Hard hurts our feelings.
- Hard takes too long, no matter how long it takes.
- Hard can make us forget we’re powerful.
- Hard can turn us into victims.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
You are NOT alone. EVERY person goes through hard times.
The only person who doesn’t is the one they make up in the movies.
The GREAT NEWS:
- It doesn’t matter whether we are responsible for this change, or it was outside our control, it’s still hard.
- Most of the time we will wish that the hard situation ended yesterday.
- We will learn more from the hard experiences in our life than from anything ‘good’ or ‘easy’ that occurs.
- While good things will naturally fade into the landscape of our lives, the hard times will stay with us for many years, thereby reminding us of the lessons and gifts they brought (and making it easier for the next hard time).
- Once you have gone through a very hard time, you’ll quickly recognize someone else who is going through a hard time. Consider helping them, which often means ‘just’ listening.
- Hard experiences show us what we’re made of; They spotlight our character as well as our flaws. We get to choose which we focus on.
- Hard experiences help us to be more authentic, more true to ourselves, and less judgmental of others. YAY on all counts!
- With life’s difficulties comes greater humility and humanity; both qualities are essential to life’s success.
- There will always be another ‘hard time’ in our life.
- We will forget all of this while we’re going through a hard time.
Consider making a plan for the next time a hard experience knocks you on your tush.
- Keep a journal of the ‘good’ times, so you’ll have a reservoir from which to draw when you’re on empty.
- Record your hard time, in writing. Take good notes. Describe each situation, how you felt, and how you handled it. This will provide you with a template, a personal transition formula for the next time (and there WILL be a next time).
- Assign a special ‘pet’ name to your difficulty; when things look up, you’ll see the humor in the situation that once had you on your knees. (Someday I’ll tell you about me and George).
- Simply having made a plan, in advance, will give you a boost during that hard time.
- Look for the gifts, before they show up. It’s relatively easy to discover the gift or lesson once we’re back on solid ground. However, it’s quite different to discover the gift when you’re in the midst of it all. BUT– you are intuitive! You can do this!
I’d love to hear how you handled a hard time in your life. How did you feel? What did you do? How did it get resolved? What did you learn?
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Known as The Impact Expert, she is the main stage speaker, expert trainer, and veteran coach who helps leaders solve key issues related to leadership development, employee engagement, and advancing women. She is the author of the acclaimed book: Impact! What Every Woman Needs to Know to Go from Invisible to Invincible and is currently working on her next book.