The Right Thing is Often the Hard Thing

Family

My family all together for the holidays

My daughter left today.

She’s headed back to Ohio after spending the past three weeks home for the holidays. As I was driving home from the airport, in a melancholy state, it dawned on me that so often in life, doing the right thing is hard.

As much as we both didn’t want her to go, we know staying in San Diego is not the right decision for her at this point in her life. We love spending time together, but we joked on the way to the airport that if she stayed neither of us would ever get anything done, preferring to just hang out or read.

She has important and meaningful things to do in her life, and so do I. I’m proud of her for being so committed to that, that she’s willing to make the hard choice to live all the way across the country, and support herself while she’s earning her graduate degree. A degree that will enable her to do the work she is so passionate about doing.

She’s definitely made many difficult choices the past few years.

I can’t help reflecting on all the times I too have had to make the hard choice. It’s mind boggling and reassuring at the same time. At least I know with hindsight that it always works out.

I also realize it’s usually about letting go.

The easy thing is usually the thing that’s most comfortable. It keeps us exactly where we are, and that feels safe. It’s what we know, even if it’s not what we want. For that reason it’s often frustrating. Because deep down we want something else, we just don’t have the courage or strength to go for it.

Just ask anyone who knows they should eat healthier, exercise more, or lose weight.

They know what they should be doing. They know it’s in their best interest if they want to live a long, healthy life. But it’s difficult. It’s easier to keep doing what they’ve always done, even if they don’t like the results.

While I don’t face this particular battle, I do face a similar one in my business life.

In the past year or so it’s become painfully clear that it’s time to move in a different direction. There are too many things about the industry I’ve been working in that don’t feel good to me. Yet, as has been the case every time I’ve made a career transition, letting go and moving on is incredibly scary.

And yet every time I let go and move through the fear, the fear ends up being unwarranted.

For example, in December, after being frustrated with Facebook for a very long time, I made the decision to deactivate my account. It took me the better part of a year to overcome my fear of leaving Facebook. How could I have a business and a book without being on Facebook? What would people think? After all, I work in marketing. How can you be a marketer and not be on Facebook? Wouldn’t I be out of the loop? What would I be missing out on?

Yet a month after leaving, none of my fears have been realized. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel freer. More positive. I have removed from my life what had become a daily aggravation. I have shut a door on things I don’t want to see or be exposed to. The first week or so I felt like I was missing something, but that’s no longer the case. I realize at some point I may choose to go back to Facebook. But for now, this is the right choice for me. And, truth be told, it was not nearly has hard as I made it out to be in my head.

Last month I also decided to take down my websites.

Talk about manifesting crazy fear in my head! What would people think? At the same time, my old sites didn’t fit me anymore. I needed to clear a path for where I am headed. Even though I wasn’t actively doing much with the sites, there were still hanging over me and not feeling quite right. Tying me to where I’ve been. By releasing them I immediately became much more open to all the possibilities for the future. The open space feels good.

Who knows, I may end up back where I was.

Or, I may end up with a completely different business. At this point I don’t know. I just know that I needed space to figure it out. And hanging onto the old was clogging up that space. And you know what, the world didn’t end when I took down my sites and put up temporary holding pages. Once again, the fear was magnified in my head and didn’t manifest in the real world.

Going forward my goal is to remember the after feeling whenever I’m faced with a hard choice.

That after feeling usually feels something like That wasn’t so bad… why didn’t you do that sooner!? My goal is to honor the right choice my heart is leading me to, and to do my best to ignore my ego and the fear. To be brave enough to step out of the comfort zone that’s lulling me into non-action. I’m going to remember that my heart never lies, and that trusting it is best. Even when it feels like my head is dragging along kicking and screaming.

I know this year will bring its share of hard choices.

It will continue to be a year of transition and change for me—I can see that clearly. That means a lot of letting go and trusting. It means getting out of my own way and being open to the path that continues to open up in front of me when I allow it to. It means taking one step at a time and understanding that the more open I am to the journey of life, the more wonderful adventures await me, and the more fully I will accomplish my mission here on this planet. Even if I don’t see that mission fully at this point in time.

What about you?

Are you holding onto the status quo when you know you should let go? Are you putting off decisions that your heart is screaming at you to make, because of fear or because it’s hard or requires change? I challenge you to make 2013 the year you set all of that aside, and instead practice letting go and trusting.

 

About Debbie

Debbie is an author, blogger, online teacher, business owner, and mid-lifer. She's writes on a wide range of topics, from marketing, money and success, to finding meaning at midlife. If it's on her mind, you'll find her writing about it!

8 comments on “The Right Thing is Often the Hard Thing

  1. Hi Debbie
    Good post for the beginning of a new year.
    Where’s your daughter going to school in Ohio?
    I live in the Dayton area and my daughter attends Miami University in Oxford OH.
    Congrats on giving up Facebook. When I first read about that I told my wife she should try it :-)
    Looking forward to 2013.
    Barak

  2. Thanks Barak.
    My daughter goes to Kent State. She did her undergrad at Kenyon College. What did your wife say when you suggested she try ditching Facebook? I know it’s really hard for most people. My husband supports my decision but I doubt he’ll ever give it up. :-)
    All my best to you in 2013.

  3. Thank you Margaret. Sometimes I wonder if anyone cares… if I should just keep these thoughts and experiences to myself. But my heart compels me to share in the hope it will help others. When I receive comments such as yours, it validates my decision to be so open. So thank you for taking the time to let me know it makes a difference. All my best to you in 2013. :-)

  4. I am so inspired with your journey. Your steps are always a few a head of mine. I love how you are so open with us all. blessings… Margaret.

  5. Beautiful post Deb. Please don’t give up writing them- yours is one of the very few I still read! As a mom who also has a daughter living on the opposite side of the country following her dreams, I know how difficult goodbyes are. But they are all accompanied by a sense of pride in watching my daughter continue to pursue change even tho scary. She inspires me, as do you. I’ve watched the changes you’ve gone through, and am confident you will figure out what is right for you, your life, your family! As a coach, I am a change agent. My clients inspire me as well, continually willing to try new & scary ways to create the life they desire. I look forward to reading about your journey as it unfolds.

  6. Thanks Ellen, I really appreciate your feedback and support. I think of your daughter every time I see a commercial for “Happy Endings.” It looks like the show is doing well and hopefully she is, too!

  7. I keep thinking of the story you shared with us during our master mind group (the butterfly story by Martha Beck). We all continue to be re-designed many times during our long lives yet most people resist the calling to change. There are many women out there who are on the same path as you … so keep sharing as they need a voice to know it’s okay to not know “what is next?” Getting comfortable with uncertainty has been the greatest challenge for me and at the same time the greatest gift. I say “bring it on” I’m ready for it and I certainly know for sure, so are you Debbie!

  8. It’s so funny that you mention the butterfly story Bonnie. I just got back from a run and while I was running it dawned on me that I’m that “person soup” right now. I’m in the cocoon, changing, but right now it just looks like a messy glob of uncertainty. Strangely, it made me feel better. Because I know that soup turns into a beautiful butterfly that is able to fly away. Thanks for sharing your experience and for your support.

    I will keep sharing. I’ve come to realize this is my path… to talk about these things that so many people shy away from and hopefully light the way for others in the process. Even if I may tripping over myself in the meantime!

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