Happy Motivational Monday and Memorial Day, friends! I hope you had a wonderful three-day weekend and did something that sparked joy or made your soul smile…even if it was sitting on the couch and binge-watching ESPN’s docuseries The Last Dance like I did (so good, right?)! As a Chicagoan who grew up watching and rooting for the 1990s Bulls dynasty, I was immediately transported back to that era. I relived every jump shot with so much excitement and anticipation, even though I remembered nearly every game like it was yesterday. The docuseries also illuminated so much that I, like most people, either never knew or completely forgot. From the drama between management and the greatest coach of all time to the tension among the players, there was a lot to unpack. What really stood out to me though, unsurprisingly, was the GOAT, the “Black cat,” “Black Jesus,” the one and only Michael Jordan and his drive for absolute greatness no matter the cost. Hearing how much his deep love for the game drove him to commit to himself, basketball, and his team was incredibly inspiring.
Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls just before his junior year of college, a team that was pretty unremarkable at the time. But he had remarkable hope and commitment. During one of his very first interviews after joining the team, Jordan said “I just want the franchise and the Chicago Bulls to be respected like the Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics. Hopefully I can help this team, and this organization can build a program like that.” And so he did, and I imagine it took extraordinary amounts of patience, determination, dedication, perseverance, tenacity, hard work, and a lot of discomfort! Growing is painful. Stretching is painful. The truth is that wonderful things don’t happen inside of our comfort zones. Instead, they happen outside of them. The docuseries beautifully captures that!
When we lean into our discomfort, when we gamble and take risks, we’re often reminded of our own strength and power. That no matter the challenge or difficulty, we can do hard things. And we may experience a rollercoaster of emotions, feel some self-doubt, discouragement, and regret, and might even bruise while doing these hard things, but even if we bend a little bit, we won’t break, even if it feels like we might. Does it take great courage to do a hard thing? Absolutely. But the biggest and most powerful tool required to conquer anything is your mindset. Your mind can trick you into believing anything, especially whether you can or cannot do something. How often do you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation or in the midst of completing a task when unhelpful thoughts start seeping in? Thoughts like “you’re not smart enough,” “you’re not strong enough, or ” you’ll never reach your goal.” I know I’m not the only one who has to battle against these intrusive and inconvenient thoughts, right? These thoughts will convince us we’re not worthy or capable and have us merely existing within our comfort zones if we let them win. Aren’t you ready to live? Fight against these thoughts and prove them wrong by:
- Recognizing how unhelpful they are.
- Finding evidence that proves we can do whatever our thoughts are telling us we can’t.
- Empowering ourselves with affirmations that remind us of our ability and worth.
- Forging ahead, even when we stumble and fall along the way.
Sometimes hard things are harder than we imagine, but it doesn’t matter if or when we fall. What matters is that we get up and keep working, keep trying, and keep striving. It will be uncomfortable because growth always is, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: hard things are never easy, but they are worth it. If you’ve got a dream in your heart, put yourself out there, put in the work, and make it happen. Perhaps that’s the best lesson Michael Jordan ever taught us after all: it might be hard, but you can do hard things.
What hard thing are you facing? Comment below (and then go do them)!