You Can Do Hard Things

I always love seeing this plaque at MaRS Commons. The scantily layered brick wall looks like it could barely hold itself together, never mind the weight that’s hanging on it. The wood the quote is written on leaves the impression it’s been been through a battle or two with its ragged edges, scars, and scrapes. But the message is powerful and daily inspires the crazy entrepreneurs who are engaged in risk-y business, married to the scary place where they go out on a limb with a dream dangling in their pocket, hoping their idea to make life better will take flight. Perched on the edge, pouring out everything they’ve got into a lofty trek through uncharted territory is hard and terrifying. But worth it! At the end of the day, those hard things are what they climb upon to the next level whether it’s a lesson learned, a pivot in the right direction or success beyond the wildest imagination.

What rocks about doing hard things is that it automatically triggers a win-win situation. No matter how things turn out, we score at least two victories. First, we conquer the pesky dragon of the unknown breathing fire down our neck. Second, we wrestle fear to the ground and come out on top as the ultimate heavyweight champion in the “you can do hard things” rumble.

Most of the time, there’s joy and success tied to the hard things we do. Sometimes the dream evaporates, our hearts get broken, we take a beating. Either way, the person who looks back at us in the mirror can smile at the reflection of someone with courage and strength. Someone who does what’s right in the face of incredible cost, who will give someone who has hurt or disappointed you another chance, who steps out in faith and not give up when the dust of failure has settled all over your efforts in the past. Looking right back at you is someone who dares to learn something new and stretch beyond what’s comfortable and easy, someone willing to risk looking foolish when the voice in your heart wins over the roar of the crowd, someone who will make the sacrifice and give whatever it takes. And what’s more, what you may not realize, is that people were watching when you made that gutsy move and because you did something hard they were inspired to do hard things too.

The writing is on the wall.  You can do hard things. And that makes you a hero!

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