This is Hard vs. This is Fun. A Better Way to Define a Problem.

In All, Business, Center Stage Preschool, Entrepreneurship, Vacations by Don AlleyLeave a Comment

(This post was originally written in the Spring of 2016 for another website. I brought it over here for this blog…)

Things that are legitimately hard for me:

  • Skiing on double black Diamond trails
  • Swimming 3000M without stopping
  • Rock climbing at 5.8 (I know, I know… pretty weak)
  • Syncing my left hand with my right hand on Bouree in D Minor
  • NOT sounding like I’m crying during a touching part of a film…when I’m actually crying.

I had just received a phone call from the director of my performance arts preschool, my latest business project. Another setback. It still hadn’t opened yet (currently March, and the goal was August…of last year), and I was feeling frustrated from the continuing delay. And because of permits from the county, there was nothing I could do about it.

Powerlessness. The negative emotion I run from the most, the one I HATE feeling. Being in a state of frustration, anger, rage, insecurity, all while feeling like my hands are tied behind my back and I can do nothing…Blah.

And to top it off, when I got the call, I was on vacation, so I REALLY wasn’t in the mood to deal with these feelings.

So as I was driving down California Ave in West Seattle in my 2015 soft top convertible Camero (It was a rental, and I managed to only get 1 speeding ticket that week), I found myself saying, “This is hard. I dont like this. I hate this. Why am I doing this? Why do you always have to create new shit? Why can’t you just enjoy what you have? You should just quit.”  My insides were starting to knot up, my face started to wrinkle, my shoulders dropped, 5 perfectly brown hairs turned gray… FML.

Luckily, I only existed in this self-abasing state for about 3 minutes. I quickly reminded myself that there are plenty of things that I do that are legitimately hard, and dealing with this wasn’t one of them. I started listing them off….skiing, swimming, trapeze, piano. I mentally came up with a pretty long list, and then asked myself, If these are hard, why don’t you quit these too? My answer…because they are fun and awesome! (Well, my first answer was, Because Im not a ____ [insert vulgarity] ). Back to the empowering answer. The reason I don’t quit those things is because I like it when it’s tough. It makes it more challenging and more fun.

Ahhhh…the answer.

Then why the hell cant you look at business situations the same? Its SUPPOSE TO BE HARD! Just like the other things you do. AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT FUN!

  • Its fun building a million dollar business from scratch.
  • Its fun dealing with obstacles. They make you a better business man.
  • Its fun being on vacation and having to excuse yourself from a conversation with new friends, and return to tell them all about your up and coming venture and how its going to change children’s lives.
  • Its fun having the guts to risk a lot of money on a ground-breaking idea.
  • Its fun to tell people about the times you failed.(Disclaimer: only months/years later, after you have recovered…)
  • Its fun when everything feels like it is going wrong, and you keep pushing, selling, asking, hustling, and then you have a breakthrough and you realize you achieved the goal.

THAT’S fun!

Its incredibly fun. Its not hard. Its all part of the adventure of your life. And it’s awesome. So enjoy it. Smile! You are a badass, with awesome ideas, and you are incredibly resourceful!

Stop whining about a minor setback. In all honesty, it wasn’t even a set back. It was just a curve ball. Put your big-boy pants on, smile, deal with it, and remember….it’s all in how you define it. What does this mean? Not a damn thing. So how should you define curve balls that could possibly piss you off?

They’re fun. That’s how.

This, btw, is just me, coaching me. Sometimes I need a good verbal spanking. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else like this without their permission…

So within a 5 minute period, my powerlessness dissipated, I felt strong again, in control, and back to my awesome vacation. The feelings of fear, and of wanting to quit had passed.

Why would I want to quit something that was fun? 🙂

Don Alley
Don Alley is an artist and entrepreneur. He is known as the karate guy, the preschool guy, or the video guy. He runs Super Kicks Karate as the chief instructor in Ashburn, Center Stage Preschool, and Lucky You Media. He is also the co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families across the country.

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