I recently heard a quote, “Life is tough, but so are you.” I wrote it down, because I think so many of us need to hear that. We need our own, personal cheerleaders telling us that we are strong and resilient.
At breakfast, we were talking about my cousin who is serving in the US Navy, living on a submarine. We were saying how hard that must be. My 9-year-old daughter said, “Why is he doing it then?” TEACHING MOMENT! This led to a conversation about why we choose to do hard things. I started to think about some of my challenging times and how they have shaped my life…
Graduate school was one of the hardest things I’ve done. During my first year at Purdue, I often ate lunch and dinner on campus and studied ALL DAY LONG. I suddenly wasn’t the smartest one in class anymore! There were math problems with answers three pages long. I remember waking up in the morning with an answer to a math problem that I felt like my brain worked on all night long. It was very challenging. But, I am so glad that I did it! Graduate school made me see problems and solutions in such different ways. It made me question things and not take “no” for an answer. I had classmates from all over the world, and I learned how to communicate in creative ways. My experience at Purdue taught me to persevere even when there were times I felt like I couldn't do it.
My experiences in graduate school prepared me for something that happened many years later. Multiple running injuries had resulted in my ankle giving out when I went down stairs or stepped on uneven surfaces. Most of the time my ankle was swollen and in pain. I wrapped it, iced it, and ran a half marathon on it. Perseverance, right? It got to the point that I couldn't keep wrapping it anymore. The pain got so bad that I knew it was time to see an orthopedic surgeon. The doctor determined that my ligaments were completely detached, my tendons were torn, and I had a bone fragment floating inside. The timing was tough. I had a 3-month-old baby when I chose to have the surgery. The surgery was very successful, but what followed was the harder part. I was on crutches for 10 weeks. Guess how many head turns I had when I hobbled around on crutches while wearing a baby in the Bjorn? It took some getting used to. I figured out how to crawl up and down the stairs. I could scoot like a crab while “carrying” my baby, and we’d get from one room to the next. Somehow I managed the stairs, a newborn, 3 other children, and 12 weeks of physical therapy. Would I do it again? Yes! I have a new ankle, and I’m able to run again. Learning how to be resilient, stay positive, and reflecting on past challenges, has given me the strength to do hard things.
I know that a big part of who I am today is based on the hard things that I have done and continue to do. I can do hard things! Everyone is a work in progress. I know that doing hard things makes us strong, gives us a new perspective, is humbling, and it helps us to solve tough problems.
When you are feeling like you can’t keep up anymore, think about all of the hard things you’ve done and how those events have shaped your character. You can do this!
“Life is tough, but so are you.”
I'm Erin, and typos drive me crazy! I'm a MBA graduate with over 15 years of experience in HR, small business management, academia, and social media. I am a wife, mother, half marathon runner, and lover of the outdoors.