I was having a conversation with my daughter several weeks ago (and to be honest I can’t remember the exact conversation) except for the fact that I caught myself saying to her that things will never be easy for her. I was saying that her father and I have always had to work hard for everything we’ve ever had. That nothing has ever been given to us. That we won’t be one of those families that wins a sweepstakes or contest because things like that just don’t happen to people like us. And because we’ve had to scratch and claw our way through life she might as well accept the fact that she will too.
That conversation has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been telling myself this story for so long that I didn’t realize this was “my story” until I heard myself repeating it to our daughter. Not only have I been telling myself this story now I was forcing my story onto her.
Since recognizing this story for what it really is – a limiting belief, I’ve been doing some soul searching to figure out why and where this has come from. Do I wear difficult and hard as a badge of honor? Do I have less respect for those who have things come easy for them? Do I feel that success is more deserved when things are hard?
Can that be true? I feel that success is more deserved when its hard?
Have I been self-sabotaging and making things harder than they have to be my whole life so that I can totally feel like I deserve something? Have I been making myself suffer through things I don’t enjoy so that I can prove that I’m worthy of success?
If I’m honest with myself then I have to answer those questions with a ‘yes’. And it has dawned on me now that this could be one of the reasons I’ve struggled a bit with my transition to being a coach. There is an internal disconnect because coaching is not hard for me. It’s easy and its fun and it’s something that I get really excited about and really enjoy. Maybe that’s why I take on way too many sessions free of charge and volunteer so much of my time. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I deserve to be compensated for my time and expertise because I love what I do so much it doesn’t feel like work.
Am I less of a professional because what I do comes easily to me and I have fun? I spend a tremendous amount of time improving my skills and learning the latest and greatest methodologies and trends. I’m fully vested in every client that I work with and spend hours every day strategizing the best way to get them from point A to point B. But because I love what I do I feel like I’m less of a professional than my colleagues who suffer through each and every day at what they do.
How does that make sense? It doesn’t.
It’s not cheating the system when we do what we love. But it is totally cheating ourselves when we don’t.
Just like the guy who dies with the most toys doesn’t really win, the person who can torture themselves the most to make money doesn’t either.
Suffering doesn’t make you a more serious and dignified professional. Earning good money doing something that makes your life a joy does.
So, I have a new story. I have decided that waiting until retirement to end the suffering is no way to live. Retirement won’t be any sweeter because my work years were miserable. I choose fun and quality of life now. And so should you.