Revisiting Hard Things

Revisiting Hard Things

At school the other morning, I arrived to a card on my desk that reminded me to “Breathe” because “we are doing hard things.”  Definitely the right words at the right time for me, and they also made me laugh because I thought, “This is what happens when your colleagues and boss follow your blog. They quote it back to you.”  (My boss had written me an email with similar sentiment a few days before I got that card.)


It was funny timing because it was the same week when I was thinking of updating my Doing Hard Things piece, which was definitely one of the most popular blog posts I wrote last year (included below).  When I wrote that in September, I was on Day 29 of the hard thing I started in August, and I was Day 64 of the first hard thing I started earlier in the summer.  A lot of people wanted to know what my hard things were when the post originally came out.  I shared with some people about the second thing, but not the first.  The first, as I mentioned then, was kind of a dumb thing (and it definitely still is dumb), but it was an important thing for me.  It was something I needed to do, and I knew it was best for me to keep doing it so I did.  (Yay me! Yay 180 days!)


The second hard thing is also something good for me but in a different way.  It’s running every day, and I recently hit Day 100 of that!  It has not been consecutive for a variety of reasons, but I am very proud of my one hundred days.  (One the day I am posting this, I am up to 111 days!) Most of the time I get up early and I jog outside before I start my day, but sometimes I end up jogging outside in the afternoon or in the evening on my treadmill.  For me, part of accomplishing this hard thing has been prioritizing time for it.


But, back to my own words being quoted back to me.  So, yeah, we’re doing hard things at school, and it’s scary, and worrisome, and stressful.  And that’s how hard things often go.  My personal hard things weren’t really stressful or worrisome, but they were, each in their own way, scary.  It’s scary to stop doing something, to leave something behind because you know that’s what’s best for you.  It’s scary to start something new.  It’s scary to keep raising the bar, to keep making it harder.  And, at school, it’s scary – even as part of a team – to be working on something big, something with a lot of unknowns, something with a lot of moving parts.  I simply have to keep remembering (and it’s nice when others around me remind me):


I am doing hard things.


We are doing hard things.



Thanks, Barn Owl Primitives, for the many positive messages they offer; this is simply one of many! And, always, thanks to my friends, the Giordanos, who radiate this idea in all that they do. It was in their home about a year ago that I first saw the sign. We now have one at school, and we’ll get a second one as soon as we finish the hard thing we’re in the middle of doing right now. 🙂  


Doing Hard Things – the original post from September 2015:


Doing Hard Things

“I can do hard things” has become a new mantra for me.  Over the summer, I did something that was hard for me for a day.  After that day was over, I did it for another day. And then another. And not too long later, I realized I had been doing it for a month.

And now I’ve been doing that same hard thing (which does not feel quite as hard as it once did) for sixty-four days.

It felt really hard for me to do. And it was.

But, I can do hard things.

The longer it went on, although it would have been so easy at any point to break my habit, the stronger, the more liberated, the more empowered I felt.

Doing this one hard thing buoyed my sense that I could do other hard things.

So, I decided to try another hard thing.

And now I’m on Day 29 of doing that hard thing.


Here’s an important truth about hard things: what’s hard for me may not be hard for someone else, and what’s hard for someone else may not be hard for me.  Hard things are personal.

The first hard thing – the thing I haven’t done in sixty-four days – is kind-of a ridiculous thing. If you asked me what it was, I probably would not tell you. It is also kind-of an important thing – for me. And that’s what that matters. It was something I knew was good for me, something that would help move me forward and grow.

I think that’s the best kind of hard thing I could do.  And it’s the reason why hard things are worth my time, attention and celebration – and why this was a good reminder that it doesn’t matter what the hard thing is, it only matters that someone is doing it.

I can do hard things.

You can do hard things.

We can do hard things.


2 thoughts on “Revisiting Hard Things

  1. Nic! 111 days of running!?! I am SO IMPRESSED. Wow. And inspired. Well done.

    Of the four scary things you mentioned, I most relate to the one about leaving something behind in favor of a “better” something. I recently have been trying to acknowledge that pretty much everything I do, everything everybody does, is, at least to some degree, optional.

    For example, I need to eat every day, but I don’t necessarily *need* to eat pizza at my desk. I could be eating lentil stew or something with a friend. To recognize that eating pizza at my desk is a choice and not a necessity, other options suddenly become visible and enticing. Or maybe I need to stick with pizza at my desk, because lentils with a friend would mean missing an important deadline. Anyway, life is definitely about choices. Now that I added that little summarizing sentence at the end, I’m also reminded of a conversation we had long ago about a quote whose sentiment was essentially “It’s not about what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.”

    Everything we do is a choice, and I think maybe acknowledging that makes transitioning to another one a little easier.

    Incidentally, today I ate lentil stew at my desk, for anyone who might be wondering 🙂


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