Monday, July 23, 2012

I Can Do Hard Things

Yesterday my friend was telling me about how she was cleaning out her older son's room (who had just left on an LDS mission) and her daughter was helping her.  The daughter is deathly afraid of spiders and there were some dead ones along the baseboards (they were in a basement bedroom).  My friend asked her daughter to vacuum up the dead spiders while she finished packing up some things.  The daughter said she couldn't do it, she was too afraid.  And my friend said, "Honey, your brother (that just moved out) is doing something that scares him.  In this family, we do hard things."

She knew she sounded impatient and she left the room for a moment.  When she came back she peeked in the room and her daughter had the longest hose available on the vacuum and she was vacuuming up the spiders saying over and over to herself, "I can do hard things."

Later on that week, the same daughter was out in the garden weeding and the spiders were crawling around, but the daughter sucked it up and kept weeding---until one crawled on her hand.  Then she was done.  But she came to her mom afterward and said, "See Mom, I'm getting better at this."

That story totally struck me, not only on a personal level (because we all struggle with hard things that we're trying to overcome) but also on a professional level.  Being a writer can be scary.  Getting rejections and bad reviews is hard.  Putting yourself out there is hard.  Sometimes even getting the words down on paper is hard.

But if we work at it, and say over and over to ourselves, "I can do hard things," then I believe we can do it.  The more we work at it the less scary it becomes and the more victorious we feel as we reach milestones in our lives and in our work.

So, today, when you are sitting in your chair staring at a blank screen, or reading a rejection, or submitting to an agent, I hope you'll remember a girl with a vacuum hose who faced her fear with a rallying cry of, "I can do hard things."

Because you can, too.


Kaylee Baldwin said...

Thanks for this post! I love the story of the girl (and totally feel for her b/c I hate spiders.) Today I think I'll be saying: I can do hard things.

Jon Spell said...

I also hate spiders, but find them fascinating. Not in the way that I'd like to have a pet tarantula, but more in the theoretical way of "who designed those? They're so alien!" (Also, central-vac is awesome for spider disposal) Worst spider squash-kill ever was a pregnant spider. It's ok, once the tremors stop after imagining it, you can console yourself that it didn't happen to you. =)

I did something personally hard last weekend. It was something that needed to be done and there was no one else available to do it, so I just did it. I had to psych myself up beforehand, procrastinate a bit, and promise myself a big reward if I completed it. (Big reward: chocolate chip cookie dough) I got through it ok, but when I ponder doing it again, it fills me with that same dread. Some things don't get easier with succession, BUT, at least you do have the confidence of knowing you did it once; you can probably do it again. (Note: I don't want to reveal what it was lest you all condemn me with pitchforks and torches and eyelash curlers. Not for doing it, but for all the months of not doing it.)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Kaylee, I hate spiders, too! *shiver*

Jon, now I'm dying to know what it is. You have to spill!

Jon Spell said...

(Jon hangs his head and asks for a blindfold)

I changed my first dirty diaper after 11 months. Of twins.

(Jon runs and hides)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Um, Jon. Wow. I can see why you wouldn't want to admit that. LOL

On the other hand, I think your wife has been moved up in line for sainthood status.

Sonia said...

There is a great book called "Do Hard Things" by 2 brothers, Alex & Brett Harris. A great read for anyone, especially teenagers.