Grandma and Grandpa used to tell us “anything worth having is worth working for” but now watch five minutes of TV or log in to your email and all you see is “90 days to a perfect body” and “quick and easy fixes to aging.”
These are messages designed to catch your attention. Subsequently, your mind begins to believe that maybe, just maybe, THIS is the formula to “EASY”.
Easy isn’t the answer you’re looking for and it never will be. BUT, that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard.
Here are 5 EASY ways to stop thinking EASY is the answer:
1. Define your goal.
Define the value of your goal in real terms. Chances are you’re reaching for more than just a $2.99 bag of donuts when your health is on the line. That being the case, the value of your goal is FAR more substantial than the dollar figure associated with it.
The goal might be: “To make a six-figure income.” The value is: “Freedom to enjoy my family vacations. Freedom from worrying about bills.”
When you hold onto and focus on the value of that goal, you’ll understand why each and every step you need to take to achieve it is also valuable. And, most importantly, you’ll be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to take those steps.
2. Have a realistic timeline.
Do your research and discover how long it took others to achieve the pinnacle you’re looking to achieve. You’ll likely find it took them longer than you expected to get where you think you want to go. Hope it’ll happen faster, but plan for it to take longer.
Realistic expectations can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal since you’ll be prepared to sustain your workload. Unrealistic expectations will go a long way in frustrating your efforts and diminishing your patience for success. So stay realistic.
3. Realize “hard” is good.
Consider a diamond. It cuts glass. Consider cheese. It adds to your mid-section. Hard is good. Hard means value. Hard means worth. Hard means staying power.
I don’t know when “hard” got such a bad name, but let’s change that. Let’s make “hard” mean durable, industrious and powerful! Because it does mean that and making the decision to work hard for your future is incredibly powerful.
4. Realize the “easy” way almost always means settling.
I’ll never forget the time I got my first job. I was called into the boss’s office. The program director said he wanted ME to be the co-host of a prime-time sports talk radio show in Southern California. Wow! What an opportunity! This was more than a decade ago, before women were in sports talk radio on a regular basis and there was someone offering me a chance at being the side-kick. Great, right?
The host of the show, a 26-year television veteran, was a misogynistic alcoholic who sexually harassed me the first time we met. Sitting next to him daily sounded like a terrible idea to me. Sure, it would have been “easy” to accept the job, however menial it was, and hope for the best. It was tough to say what I wanted to say, “I won’t be his side-kick, but if you give me my own show, I’ll take it.” But I said it.
And I got it.
I became the first woman in California broadcasting history to host prime-time sports talk radio. Even now, very, very few women across the nation fly solo in sports talk radio. I earned that shot because I was more interested in achieving my goal with integrity than settling.
5. Realize patience REALLY is a virtue.
Once I understood patience would be required, I began to enjoy the process and the journey. I began to think less of the “are we there yet” mentality. I appreciate learning from my co-workers, colleagues and mentors and I’ve thoroughly benefited from previously underutilized resources that I didn’t have “time” to pursue learning from. So appreciate patience and use it to your advantage.
As I pursue my dream of achieving some of my loftiest goals, there have been many, many days that have been very challenging and some months and years that have been very hard.
And that’s okay. I figured that would be the case.
Where people fail is in deceiving themselves that the road to their dreams is easy or quick.
Once a roadblock pops up, they figure it’s a dead end rather than conceiving a way around it. Worst of all, they give up. But just like losing weight takes intent, dedication and a distinct willingness to alter previous habits and create healthy ones, achieving your goals requires the same.
I’ll never forget the time that I finished an article for the first newspaper I’d worked for at the San Diego Union-Tribune. I was immensely proud of it. The story required tremendous legwork, some tough phone calls, 3 weeks of persistent follow-up for a 2-minute interview and what I thought was some of my finest writing.
THEN my editor unceremoniously hacked the crap out of the thing to make it fit the available space. I was beside myself. Vehemently upset, I went to a veteran journalist complaining, “Doesn’t he (my editor) know how hard it was to get that?” Without looking up from his work, the vet responded,
“Just because it wasn’t easy, doesn’t mean it was hard.”
Huh. Talk about deflating. I was only concerned with the extra phone calls, detailed emails and hundreds of miles I drove. But those are all elements of the job. The profession I chose. It’s not like carrying 75 pounds up rugged mountain terrain to extinguish a fire. Or running into enemy territory to save your platoon commander. It’s not sitting at a bedside with a dying patient, trying to ease their pain.
I was just writing a story and I’d continue on to write countless more. Just because something isn’t “easy” doesn’t mean it’s “hard.” Remember THAT.
We live in a world full of convenience and opportunity. Focus on your opportunity. Want a Stanford Business School education? Check them out on Twitter. Want to find out how Sarah Blake made BILLIONS? Read about her at Forbes.com. Curious about turning your empty file boxes into something spectacular? Pinterest.
There are no boundaries or limitations on you. NONE. You just need to do what you need to do.
- 5 Easy Steps to Stop Thinking “Easy” Is the Answer - March 6, 2016