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  • Writer's picturedennisharris04

Own Your Hard

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

I am not a professional athlete, or a famous person and I am certainly not a psychologist with a PHD. Who am I? Why am I writing this? I’m somebody who grew up in a physically and mentally abusive household with very little positive guidance and wasn’t given a great start. From that start I always had the belief that I was meant for something better. I became a person who finished high school and managed some post secondary, worked from the bottom to owning my own incorporated company making a six figure salary, and then gave up the company to pursue a bucket-list job.

While I was achieving those milestones I met a girl who became my closest friend and the love of my life. We adopted two dogs and had two fantastic sons amidst owning houses and running a company. We created the family life that I never had growing up and I did my best to stay true to the path I wanted for myself. It was not easy, the path contained a lot of hurdles, loss and some heartbreak along the way. There is a part of me that would have been more than happy living out my life without ever sharing how I did any of it. The main reason I am sharing is that I have concerns with the kind of world that we are raising our boys in.

I know that true balance in life is difficult to achieve and it seems in an effort to make our experiences kinder and easier, we have forgotten what that truly takes. It seems that so many aren’t willing to own their “hard” anymore and there is a self-entitled attitude where people want others to believe that their life is the harder one. They seem to have the belief that the world owes them something, when really they are letting themselves down by not digging in and fighting for what they want. What if I suggested that the hardest thing you have been through is the hardest thing there is to you. Everyone has a different journey that has different levels of hardship which would be difficult for any of us to fully understand unless we lived it.

The foundation of true character is forged in the fires of hurdles, hard times and not always getting what you want. I coached with a man that believed it was too tough to teach young kids playing football the mental edge it takes to deal with loss. I thought that was a lazy attitude when I heard it and then I realized he had never been taught to deal with it either. What's worse is he was afraid of change, wanting to do things the same, looking for different results, which is the very definition of insanity. When did we stop keeping score and start telling everyone that they are equal and special? It’s okay to keep score and it’s okay to lose as long as the takeaway was what did we learn and what could be taught from it. When did we get so lazy that we stopped keeping score and stopped properly teaching people how to deal with loss and adversity?

I believe that we owe kids, the future generation, more than just exercise ideas. Teach them how to fight through disappointment, which is the true way to put people on the path to being special. If you keep telling someone they are special, and something doesn’t go their way, how are they supposed to cope? I pushed through a lot of hard, dark times where I wasn’t told anything about being special or even given a pat on the back. One day when I was in my late teens someone told me I was worth more and it stuck with me to this day. I am by no means suggesting to get yourself involved in abusive situations to feel good later. I do think we need to teach people how to deal with hardship, give them credit when they truly have done something great. We will never truly achieve perfect balance, but it’s the pursuit that is important. We all need real help at some point in our lives, but we must be careful not to let it take away from what needs to be done for ourselves. It starts with you. My grandpa used to say if you looked into a mirror and liked the person staring back, you are doing alright. That starts with owning your hard and chasing the goals and dreams you have with relentless pursuit.

Do not wait for someone to tell you are good and you deserve it, go after it and make it happen. When you achieve something significant it will mean everything to the most important person, YOU. Then when someone tells you an achievement of yours is special it will be a much welcomed bonus. People talk about nothing good happening when you stay in your Comfort Zone, but we need to follow up on that statement a bit. Too many people set these lofty goals that are for the most part difficult, almost impossible to achieve, giving them an excuse if they do not succeed.

Be accountable to yourself by setting responsible goals that are achievable, because you are the only one that owes you. Breaking out of the comfort zone can start with the simplest day to day actions that may be leading to something bigger and may be even life changing. Take small action steps to start and create a routine that will make it a part of your everyday life.

Then start thinking of bigger goals and ask yourself why you haven’t achieved or even attempted them yet. Yes we are all afraid of new and difficult change, especially when it comes to bettering ourselves. Own your hard by choosing your hard. What is harder, a lifetime of trying with some failure or reaching the end of your journey filled with regret? There is something special that happens to the human soul when a person comes through adversity or accomplishes something. It adds strength, warmth and each time brings a layer of confidence with it that is truly positive and comforting. You are missing out if you haven’t truly faced adversity, even if it is painful.

Own your hard and feed your soul because it starts with each of us. Embrace change, fight for what you believe in, take care of your family and friends, ask someone how they are doing and mean it. If each of us takes the time to push through hard times in a true effort to be a complete, happier and a more engaged version of ourselves, maybe we can start figuring out the rest of the bullshit that drags our world down. We have put labels on everything in an effort to separate people, we are still dealing with race issues, religion issues and now a pandemic, which it would be nice if we all came out better versions of ourselves at the end. My grandad was in the Navy and he just accepted everyone based on how they treated him, not where they were from, financial status or their religious beliefs. I believe travelling the world and seeing the similarities of everyone from country to country helped the way he thought. At the end of the day people are each trying to carve out their own slice of life to protect and appreciate, but the world getting better starts with each of us keeping score.

That score starts with what have you done today to better yourself and the pursuit of what you want? What are you bringing to the table instead of acting like you deserve something? Start something for yourself now and do not think of the outcome, stay in the moment. It starts by surrounding yourself with the type of influences that you aspire to be. It could be five people who are like minded with the same goals or have achieved what you want. It could be the influence of a good author that resonates with you, or someone that came from a similar background. Look for the obvious influence, but keep a weathered eye for the subtle example that might be there for a moment and then passes through. There is a huge difference between wanting to make a lasting impression and cramming your needs and expectations down the throats of others.

Think about doing two things when you start your day. One is taking that step towards a goal you want to accomplish and one is to make one kind gesture towards someone each day. The goal can be a simple one, the gesture can be simply a smile with no want for reciprocation. Also, when you step out into the world try not to look for a person’s religion, their sex, where they are from or what colour their skin is. Take a moment to think about the fact they might be trying to own their “hard” and better their life and make a difference. Our truth path is missing that simple moment of clarity where we all want things to be as good as they can be.

We are all stuck on this beautiful, blue rock hurtling through space. Think about that, our foundation is a planet moving through space, while spinning to the point where flight charts have to be consistently updated. Remember that old saying that someday is not a day of the week. Think about it now. What are we fighting over? What are we doing to chase our goals? Are you enjoying your journey? What do you want to be remembered for? Own your “hard” and feed your soul by doing something out of your comfort zone that makes you better and may even contribute something to your community and hopefully the world.

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