Today’s post has the potential to piss off everyone I know.
So why bother writing it?
Because everyone needs to read, and understand this.
Even if it means triggering or upsetting a few people along the way.
So, let’s go. Let’s shake things up friend!
We all know the clichés about baby boomers and millennials.
Baby boomers can’t use technology.
They’re set in their ways.
Baby boomers worked in the same job for 30 years, got benefits and are now living cushy retirements (if they’ll retire, that is).
And like every generation before them, they think the younger generation is screwed up.
This is nothing new, by the way. Going all the way back to Ancient Greece, there’s been a belief that “young people today are nothing like we were”.
Millennials are lazy, entitled, narcissistic snowflakes.
They don’t want to work hard and expect things to just happen for them.
I am a millennial.
But what I’m going to say is not in defence of millennials.
Or baby boomers.
In fact, there’s one critical thing both generations have dead wrong.
And I believe it’s impacting everything from our perceptions of each other, to the ability of many people in both of these generations to find true happiness.
The problem is that neither generation understands the difference between short- and long-term struggle.
And there is a KEY difference.
Now, I’m using the different generations to oversimplify these beliefs so let’s remove the stereotypes and just talk about people.
Let’s call these two types of people the forever-strugglers and the struggle avoiders.
Let’s start with the forever-strugglers.
We all know the people.
You know the co-worker who hates their job and says “it’s work. You’re not supposed to enjoy it.”
Maybe you’ve got the friend in a relationship who says “marriage is just hard but there’s nothing I can do now.”
Maybe you’ve heard some of these words coming out of your own mouth.
This is a mindset that doesn’t serve anyone.
There is nothing about life that should be inherently difficult, consistently; especially not in the country most of you are reading this from.
And yet, somewhere, somehow, you’ve been conditioned to believe that in order to be “successful” or to have a steady job/buy a house/retire, you need to suffer. And struggle.
This simply isn’t true.
If this resonates in any way, I challenge you to question your assumption and STOP SETTLING. More on this in a minute.
Now, let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum.
The struggle avoiders.
This is the person who wants a change, or has a goal, but won’t take one step closer because it will mean discomfort.
Struggle avoiders are the people who won’t take the night class because for 3 months, or even 3 years, it’s going to be hard.
Even if that’s exactly what it will take to finally speak Spanish fluently, or start their own public relations business.
You know this friend.
The one that says they want to buy a car or start an RRSP but won’t stop having boozy brunches, or get a side hustle to save money quicker.
Or the one who quits their new job 3 months in because they’re not the CEO yet and are sick of fetching coffee.
So why did I write this knowing it has the potential to offend literally everyone in my life?
Because I hope it will shed a different light on struggle: for everyone.
The truth is, we all need to struggle, sometimes. In the short-term.
But we cannot build a life based on constant struggle. Or constant compromise, unhappiness or discomfort.
You should never plan to be in a career you dislike for 30 years. Or even 5 years.
But you can’t avoid some challenges and some struggle if you ever want to change your circumstance and your life.
When Troy and I wanted to buy our first house together, we set a goal of saving 20% down so we wouldn’t have to pay for mortgage insurance.
And we only had 4 months to save about $80,000.
This meant that even though I was in a professional career, I stayed in my serving job that whole time, and took extra shifts.
This meant Troy worked extra shifts in his job, often on weekends.
We both took every penny from our bonuses and put it towards our down payment.
For those 4 months, we stopped all unnecessary spending.
We went out for dinner once in those 4 months, to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
That was it. And if you know me, you know I LOVE a fabulous dinner. Often.
But we had a goal and it meant we would need to make some sacrifices in the short-term.
We worked damn hard. We put in every effort.
And we crushed our goal.
But it was completely unsustainable.
It was necessary and I have zero regrets.
It was short-term pain, for long-term gain.
There are many times in my life where I’ve had to push myself, and be challenged, and struggle. I look back now, and smile.
Training for half-marathons.
Creating and leading a national Leadership Conference for 3 years.
Working on multi-million-dollar initiatives in my corporate life.
Completing an 8-month community leadership program while also planning a wedding.
Having a newborn baby.
All these times were challenging and I put in an unsustainable amount of effort to make them happen (and keep my baby alive).
It makes me proud that I’m hard-working and able to focus on what’s important to me.
And it also makes me hyper-aware that those are seasons in life that are busier, and they require different sacrifices that I’m not always willing to make.
I am not willing to work two jobs for the rest of my life.
I am not willing to never see my husband.
I’m not willing to wake up every 2 hours forever.
I am not willing to go without delicious food (#sorrynotsorry).
But for the short term, for the bigger picture of what I want in my life, I can do anything.
What has helped make me successful is knowing the difference short-term and long-term struggle.
What makes me successful is my ability to get clear and focused around a specific goal and do the work to get there.
I understand that I do not want long-term struggle and I will not put myself in a situation that I don’t like, that doesn’t work for me, when there’s no clear goal and no end in sight.
Here’s what I want you to know:
If you’re in a tough season of life, or not fulfilled and there’s no end in sight, don’t just accept “that’s the way life is.” Or that life is inherently hard.
Ask yourself what it will take to break out of this cycle of struggle, and start taking action.
Here’s the other thing I want you to know.
To create something meaningful, or to achieve something great, there will be challenging times in your life.
And to get what you really want, sometimes, you have to jump feet first into a time of short-term struggle and challenge.
The forever strugglers are those people who set up and ACCEPT their lives to be unsustainably difficult or unhappy. All the time. And there’s no end goal. It’s just struggle.
The struggle avoiders are those who refuse to step into discomfort or settle for anything less than perfect, meanwhile sacrificing true meaning and not making any progress at all.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Understand the difference between short- term and long- term struggle.
Ask yourself where, in your life, you are settling.
Where you have accepted that it’s “just hard.”
Or it’s “just the way it is”.
And challenge yourself to change your status quo.
Whether this means not accepting you have to work a job you hate, or that you are going to “just get by”, stop assuming that your life means settling for less than what you want.
It’s also time for you to get uncomfortable.
Ask yourself where, in your life, you are avoiding challenge, discomfort or struggle, even though you know there’s something more out there for you.
If there’s a place in your life you’re unsatisfied and have a goal or bigger dream, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
It’s time to take the job that’s 3 steps “down” from the dream job and get started.
Or start your side hustle, even if it means saying goodbye to a few weeknights and weekends in the next 6 months.
If what you really want is to go on a dream trip, or put a down payment on a house, start saving.
And make it hurt.
Don’t always live in hurt.
Don’t always live in struggle.
But avoiding it is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment in life, just as much as assuming you need to struggle in order to “live a life” is.
What I want for you is two-fold, my friend.
I want you to live a life full of joy, that is fulfilling to you and what you want.
I want you to be happy and to be living your dreams.
I also want you to put in the work it takes to achieve your goals and big dreams.
Stop waiting for some day for the challenge to be easier, or for it to magically disappear.
Don’t wish it was easier; get stronger.
Don’t hope it will go away; make it go away.
Do the uncomfortable things. Challenge yourself and do the things you don’t want to do.
Do it so that in the big picture of your life, you have and most importantly, become everything you desire.
PS. I hope my message was worth pissing you all off. Thank you for reading this far.
PPS. Join me LIVE tonight as I expand my message and continue to piss people off.
Join me live and let’s do this!
See you tonight!