The Hard Way


  • Pointing fingers and shirking responsibility.
  • Defensiveness.
  • Denial.
  • Avoidance.
  • Resisting change.
  • Being self-centered vs. selfless.
  • Taking vs. giving.
  • Telling vs. listening.
  • Condescension.
  • Intolerance.
  • Arrogance.
  • Insensitivity.

These are the paths of least resistance. The easier things to do. The most predictable ways to behave. The ways most choose to take. These are the easy ways…

Why? You already know. Because it’s less painful. It’s less work. It requires less effort. But the easy way only works for the short-term. And the long-term consequences are much more painful.

So common is the choice to avoid the hard way.

The hard way is the road less travelled. Those who have the courage to choose this way, lead the way and end up way ahead.

It’s a small population that most think they’re included in, but few actually are in reality. It’s a group that only those committed and capable of beating down their own self-deception and biases can truly be a part of. All are invited and welcome, but only a few elect to do the work necessary for inclusion.

It’s one of the most slippery slopes there is. Ask most about the “hard way” and you’ll usually get proud and puffed-up replies that strongly confirm that of course they’re part of this rare group. In many cases, the mere questioning of this will often be met with the aforementioned defensiveness and condescension which is evidence of the opposite.

Recently I sat across the table from a trusted female colleague who was telling me in her words “what was what” about me and some recent personal issues I chose to share with her. The leveling of my pride, and willingness to endure (yes, at times it required great endurance), the litany of hard truths she was sharing with me was anything but easy.

The difficulty wasn’t that I disagreed with what she was saying; the difficulty was my acceptance that she was right.

Much of what she was objectively sharing with me was spot-on. It was the truth, and at times, very hard to hear. But I chose to listen, and to truly consider her perspective and point-of-view. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about what she said, and this experience continues to contribute positively to my life as I work at initiating changes in my behavior that influence better outcomes for me, and anyone I interact with in my life personally and professionally.

This is an example of the hard way. It was hard to sit there and listen to someone point out where you’re fucked up. It was hard to not get defensive or even offended at times. It was hard not to deflect responsibility. It was hard to entertain my blind spots (we all have them). It was hard not to deny, rationalize, and justify some of my behavior in an attempt to assuage the pain and make myself feel better. It was all hard… very hard.

The shiFt:

It’s this type of willingness to be challenged and to learn that’s vital to producing individual growth. Real growth often comes with pain and a price. It’s about seeking differences instead of only similarities. It’s got to be more than just lip-service, and sound bytes. As I’ve always told my son: “saying and doing are two completely different things.” A lot of well-intentioned people are quick to say the right things, and give good speeches, but quit when it comes to actually doing what they say.

Evidence is in one’s behavior, not their banter.

Stay tuned-in…


The Pretender

Jackson Browne

We’ve all got just two choices:

  1. Get in the game and play… (OR)
  2. Give into the game and pretend

It’s really that black and white…

The “game” = your one and only life that includes your endeavors, your careers, your pursuits, your passions.

Playing the game requires pushing through the inevitable fear and uncertainty that comes with taking roads less-traveled. It comes with a high price tag and can often seem unrewarding and futile.

Pretending is about going through the motions for short-term comfort at the expense of long-term accomplishment. The irony is that pretending appears rewarding at first glance, but is far more costly for most in the long run.

Few folks endure in the face of ongoing opposition, extreme competition, and criticism. Most people eventually give up and give-in when sh*t gets too hard.

Jackson Browne: “…’the Pretender’ is anybody that’s sort of lost sight of some of their dreams… and is going through the emotions of trying to make a stab at a certain way of life that he or she sees other people succeeding at…”

Comparing one’s “success” to someone else’s may just be the most crippling act of all. Unhealthy comparison often turns players into pretenders. Avoid this black hole by taking even more action toward your goals.

“Say a prayer for the Pretender | Who started out so young and strong | Only to surrender” ~ Jackson Browne

To keep anything up ongoing requires a strong enough “why” to get you through the down times. Your reasons for doing anything must be your own and must be owned ongoing or it’s all going nowhere.

Real-world “rock stars” know WHY they’re doing what they’re doing, and have committed to a WAY of life that supports accomplishing their pursuits.

Players don’t pretend; they intend, act, and then ascend.

Stay tuned-in…

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