How Doing Difficult Things Fuels Growth (And Why You Can’t Outsource It)

a man in an orange vest is shoveling snow from cars.

There was a snowstorm, I had an early client. Foot of snow in the driveway plus the massive ice blocks the snowplows churned up and left as a gift.

I was down there at dawn shoveling my car out. I was prepared, determined, and dare I say enjoying the engagement of my obliques and biceps, feeling strong and powerful. I knew the snow was coming and I was ready.

It was beautiful on my block. 40 foot pines bending under the weight of the snow and I was the only one out to see it. Felt pretty great.

A truck pulled near, honked a bit and gestured me to move out of the way. I walked up to the passenger window. I was annoyed (girl was in her groove, after all) and wasn’t trying to hide it.

He motioned move over, and indicated that they’d take over the shoveling.

“I got it,” I said.

“Well,” he explained at me, “the snow is wet and very heavy. It’s really hard work. You shouldn’t do it. We’ll do it.” Needless to say this comes at a price.

I did not appreciate his man-splaination that the snow I’d been shoveling was heavy. “I know that the snow is heavy because as you can see I’ve been shoveling it as you can see. Thanks. I got this.”

And he zoomed off. The silent street and physical labor were mine again.

Now let it be known, my husband typically shovels the driveway, as that is one of the agreements we had when we bought the house. Our driveway is steep and long — the first thing people ask when they come over is how we handle the snow.

I’m almost done with Can’t Hurt Me, a memoir by Navy Seal and ultramarathoner David Goggins, and this book has moved me. He’s got me looking for hard things to do. He shares how he became the badass he is despite an incredibly difficult childhood, where he finds motivation, and explains how you can choose to do the hard work in a way that rebuilds you and ultimately helps you be more alive life.

In the third chapter he asks you to take inventory of your fears and avoidances, and encourages you to tackle them, “that-which-you-resist-persists” style.

Shoveling has been one of my pains. And instead of trying to avoid it, taking on that storm was my opportunity to grow, get stronger and bolster my attitude. No chance I was going to let those plowers take my fire from me. This was my snow, my opportunity for my mind and body strengthen.

Now let’s be clear, shoveling snow isn’t Navy Seal Hell Week. David encourages the reader to start small, and so I did.

What’s your pain? And can you find an opportunity to turn that pain into power? I would love to hear about it.

I thank you for reading and look forward to finding our next opportunity to connect, whether it’s through my newsletter, on social media, with a tune-up session or package, or just drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to. Love,

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