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Triumph Over Challenging Tasks: Finding Joy Through Hard Times

Are you spending ridiculous hours at work? Or even when you have the benefit of a “short day” you feel like you can barely get through it?  Do you ever cry before you log in to work in the morning? Do you feel like every moment is difficult and trying when it comes to work, what’s happening at home or in your community? 

If that’s how things are, I feel for you.

I have a follow-up question: have you ever had a day where it’s a 10-hour workday, but you just fly through it? Or you are working so hard at something and it’s difficult and challenging, but you find joy in it?

Hurts So Good

Has it ever hurt so good for you? 

Yes, I’m referencing the John Mellencamp song. If you don’t know that song, go check it out. Hurts So Good is a great song, and the idea is, “Yeah, some things can hurt, but they can hurt in a way you enjoy”

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make things hurt so good because I have challenges regularly and some feel good and bring me joy, while others are nothing but pain. I want to tell you some of the things that I’ve realized and have been working with other women on to help it hurt so good, even when there is a lot that you can’t control.

You can’t control your boss. You can’t control your colleagues. You can’t control deadlines. Still, there are things that you can’t control. Still, it can hurt so good.

When we like what we do and we’re excelling in our work, we can do some of the most challenging work and spend some of the longest hours joyfully.

When your reason is merely an explanation, it’s time to reconsider your approach and discover a different course of action.

Going Back To Why

I want to share with you two ways that you can start making it hurt so good.

We usually drag through tasks that we don’t like to do, but we willingly go through challenging tasks when we are passionate about them and it’s something that deeply resonates with us.

It also hurts so good when we know why we’re doing it and we’re excited about the outcome. We know why we’re putting in all this work and pushing ourselves so hard and we’re excited about what that’s going to bring to us. 

It’s like when you get to that part in your workout and your legs are burning, you’re sweating, you can barely breathe, and you still have to take it up one more level, you dig in and you do it.

Why? Because you know that this is making you better. You know this is making you healthier and stronger and faster. And so it’s worth it. 

But when you don’t have a clear why, all you think about is the pain and you just want to stop and walk away.

Within the challenges lie the seeds of our most amazing accomplishments, fostering a joy that outshines any obstacle.

Step One

The first thing to think about is making sure that you put all of your time, effort, and energy into things that resonate with you and that add value to your life. 

That’s pretty obvious, but also kind of hard to do. We can’t necessarily do that every moment of the day. 

But when we can, we should be putting our time and energy into things that resonate with us, into things that we deeply care about, and we should do that as much as possible with the limited time that we have here on this earth. 

Step Two

The second step is to think about your why and to change it if you must. 

If you can’t change the situation (the bad boss, the mean colleague, or the impossible deadlines), you can change why you’re doing it. For your career aspirations, for your dreams, for that paycheck and health insurance – whatever it is, shift to a WHY that will push you more joyfully.

If you can change and focus on that, it will make it a little less painful and in many ways, hurt so good. 

If you can’t come up with a reason and if your why is “just because,” then you need to step away from that as soon as possible.

It’s holding you back. That situation is no longer serving you and it’s keeping you from becoming your best self. It’s keeping you from having your most amazing life.

It’s not easy, but take a moment and create a plan, and then start taking action to step away.

Craft a plan, then ignite its momentum with action

Joy At Home

These tips can also be helpful at home. I have two toddlers and I love them dearly, but sometimes playing with them can be mind-numbing and exhausting. 

To enjoy that time much more, that highly repetitive play that they require in this stage in life, I think about the why. Why am I doing this? Not because I have to, I’m doing it because I bond more deeply with them when we do this. I do it because it’s developing their little brains. I do it because it matters to them.

Knowing that they’re happy helps make me happy, and that kind of makes it hurt so good. It’s worth the challenge. It’s worth sitting there in that mind-numbing situation because I know I’m doing something great for my children. 

Take Action

In the grand scheme of life, we only have a certain amount of time on this planet. In the time that we have, we can do great things and live joyfully, but doing amazing things very rarely comes without a challenge. It very rarely comes without being uncomfortable. 

Oftentimes, the greatest things that we do will cause us to be uncomfortable. 

The goal is that when you’re going through challenges, even finding a little joy in that hardship because you know it deeply resonates with you, you look forward to the outcome or you understand why you’re doing it. 

So here’s the question that I have for you. The challenges you’re going through right now, where you’re putting so much energy and effort and you feel like you need to force yourself to do these things, do they hurt so good? 

If it doesn’t, what can you do to change it? 

If you want to get more strategies for boosting your career and bringing more joy into your days, please check out my podcast, The Savvy Working Mom, where we talk all about how you can find joy, advance your career, and love your life as a working mother. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my free resource library. You’ll get free printable worksheets, workbooks, and checklists to help with goal setting, time management, and self-care for busy moms. 

Let’s makeover your routine at How To Get Unstuck.