What about rain? Often we need it, occasionally we ask for it, usually we don’t like it. Until we see the grass and crops growing and rainbows in the sky. Without it, things are unable to grow, or unable to grow well, anyway. Hard things in life are like rain. They help us grow.
What about growth? Often we need it, occasionally we ask for it, usually we don’t like it. Until we reach the other side and see the results – the “rainbows” and “crops”, as it were. Growth requires that we leave our comfort zone; that we leave our “home” and go out into the rain; that we get a little wet. Or drenched to the bone.
Sometimes we experience hard things as natural consequences, whether of our own actions, the actions of those around us, or forces of nature. Sometimes we intentionally seek out hard things to challenge ourselves. No matter the source, we can count on hard things. People say that life is hard. If we intentionally seek out hard things, the rest of life tends to look pretty great. Challenging ourselves intentionally can create personal growth that will help sustain us when we face the hard things that are unexpected. It comes down to building character.
Going in search of hard things, on July 9th 2016, I participated in what has been dubbed the hardest 50k trail race in the U.S., the Speedgoat 50k. The race was held at Snowbird ski resort in Utah’s Wasatch mountains minutes from Salt Lake City. Much training, preparation, and anxiety preceded the race over the course of several months. For me, that was the lesson, rising to meet the hard things face to face and being as prepared as I could for the challenge. In the days leading up to the race, my mind questioned whether or not my preparation had been sufficient. Crossing the finish line an hour ahead of my time projections answered that question, however, I was not alone. At mile twenty-three, my friend Chris, a phenomenal runner, joined me to run the last ten miles. What a difference it makes to have help, to have someone in your corner cheering you on and pushing you through the hardest part. Unexpected hard things in life, the hard things we do not go in search of, are sometimes fought in our own minds or places we may not feel comfortable (or even have the capability of) asking for help. Someone is out there that is capable of helping, you just need to reach out. In the end, the hard things will pass, you can push through the rain, with help or without, and the growth and sunshine on the other side will be well worth the perseverance. Do hard things and grow.