In comparing the things I do on a regular basis – enduring hard work doesn’t seem to be as challenging as I used to think. There’s a key distinction here though – physical versus mental work. I’m talking about physical work – not creative problem solving work. Not to say that they’re mutually exclusive – physical work often includes moments of mental consideration – lots of little tweaks along the way – but they’re relatively simple decisions not including many variables and inputs.
Today – was yard cleanup day. Before moving on – please understand I’m not sharing this just to share my day – but as a reflection on it as an analogy to whatever challenge you may be facing. That said – today was the day to clean out the last section of untamed territory in our yard – the space behind our shed. We’ve got an odd lot – about a half acre fenced in with the house on one corner of it so the yard feels massive. Perfect for my green thumb and desire for home grown food. Since moving in – each year has been a bit of a progression from taming the shrubs and landscaping outside our fence visible from the road (year one), then taming some of the yard inside the fence and prepping the soil for a garden (year two) and finally planting the garden and growing some flowers / vegetables (year three).
Home improvements are kinda like life I guess – you have grand visions for yourself – dreams – and it can take years to get to them. I’m coming up on my 10th year high school reunion (it’s getting planned on Facebook – it’s quite interesting to see how some people have changed – who’s moved where – and who’s married and kids etc). I occasionally remember that “life goals” we did, like everyone did probably, with what your life was going to look like as you grew older. It was a useful thing for establishing perspective I guess – we didn’t really do much with it beyond a one day assignment type of thing – but it’s hung with me.
I don’t remember where that exact calendar is – but I do remember running across one of those “calendars” and realized I’m actually pretty in line with those visions. From a personal perspective: wife, kids, suburbs, type of work – it’s all strangely close to that vision. Not everything has happened in the order I’d thought it was going to – but to a large part – it’s coming along.
Vision plan – goals oriented program – whatever you want to call it – there’s got to be something to it. Perhaps it’s just aligning the goals with beliefs and realizing that before time passes by – we are on a trajectory and a path. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed then make the changes now while it’s relatively easy. Complaining won’t help change the situation I’m in. I can mumble about how hard it is pulling out the weeds but will that complaining help? Nope.
Hard work – AHHhhhh… Not something I particularly enjoyed growing up. I used to mow lawns and always wished there was a way to play educational resources in my ear muffs while working. I thought about how many hours I could be learning – while working – and the potential there was. It was frustrating having that feeling of “wasting” my time at work while I could be learning – so I eventually purchased one of the early MP3 players and headphones and occasionally run them under the ear muffs. Ours a day – preiPhone – I had the chance to listen to educational materials but it wasn’t like today. I really enjoyed the pure physical work that allowed my mind to wander freely – brainstorm – contemplate life. Frought with headphone issues with cords and moving equipement – I do remember listening to Zig Ziglar particularly on a few yards and really recognizing that there was something more I was called to.
The fun thing about enduring hard work is that you know what you need to do – you are confident in your ability to satisfy the job to a possitive completion and happy client – and you are just needing to endure the steps to get it done.
Task by task – finishing one at a time. Physical work I can do – I know the steps to take to finish the job and I just need to put my head down and focus on getting it done.
Not stopping – just keep going – like the Energizer bunny (or Duracell bunny if you are outside the USA).
Today was a fun day – with basic technology these days of a bluetooth headset and a smartphone – the work not only seemed tolerable but actually fun. I sure love me some #mindfood 🙂 Sure – I was pulling woody brush and tearing out a bushy shrub – shovelling the dirt level and then tilling it all smooth… A hard day’s work from breakfast till dinner – for the fast paced entrepreneur hard work can be amazing.
Key element to making it fun? Mental growth. That bluetooth headset allowed me to endure the long day out in the sun (slightly sun burned now actually) while listening to business podcasts and inspiring episodes that really help me discover new ways of thinking.
At the end of today’s hard work – I feel doubly effective.
One more thing to remember is the benefits of proper preparation. The basic tools can go a long way in allowing me to endure the hard day’s work. Things like leather work gloves – protecting my hands and allowing the freedom for me to touch anything from broken glass, partially decomposed stuffed animals, rusted metal, trash, oh lots of trash… – just that one basic tool allows a wide window of opportunity and options throughout the day. Other basic preparations for the long day like being intentional (about wearing grubby clothes that’s only warn on this special occasion) and putting on work boots make me not even worry about getting my feed or clothes damaged by the mess I was in. Kinda like going to a meeting with the proper attire – when dressed right – when prepared – when I know my presentation and have everything ready to go – it just makes the day go so much smoother.
Just three preparations that take minimal effort / time / money – allow so much opportunity and flexibility throughout the day. Kinda like life I guess.
Enduring hard work – I guess it’s not half bad.