What are you pretending not to know? What issue are you avoiding or distorting or not taking action on because you are not telling yourself the truth about that situation or that person? What's that thing sneaking up on you ready to jump out of the shadows with some inconvenient reality?
About two months ago I signed up for a three-day mountain bike stage race in Moab, Utah coming at the end of next March. I paid for the race in advance and paid for six months of training with a well-know bike coach in advance. I started picturing how beautiful the whole experience was going to be. I loved the idea of doing a long grueling race. I loved the idea of training throughout the winter to build my character and get in the best shape of my life. I loved the idea of working with a world-class coach to crack the whip and hold my feet to the pedals. Yup. Loved the idea of all that.
And then Mr. world-class-feet-to-the-pedals-mountain-bike-coach sent me my workouts for the week. It had somehow escaped my attention, despite his crystal clear warnings of suffering ahead, that I was going to actually have to do the training. "WTF?"
I went home and out that night for my first training session: 105 minutes of aggressive pedaling by myself in the dark and on the frigid back roads of the foothills of the Rockies. Sore ass. Cold feet (literally and figuratively) and constant jittery shoulder checking to make sure I wasn't about to be taken out by a dangerous cougar (literally and figuratively). I survived all that adversity and managed to get into a kind of flow.
As one of many self-protection mechanisms, human beings invent many delusions and illusions to avoid uncomfortable confrontations with reality. I think it's a way to try to side step the necessity of suffering along the path towards a worthy dream.
All worthwhile pursuits involve a degree of suffering.
There is no practical way to evade the uncomfortable labour if you are committed to doing something magnificent. Anything else is fantasy and ego. The people who are prepared to do the work and learn to embrace the suffering as a kind of joy are the ones that break through the barriers guarding a great life and great business. Everyone else will have good lives, and that is not a bad thing at all. But it won't be great as the comfort of the good is almost always in the way of the great.
I have just published the fifth book in the blindspotting series on "realism and inspiration" with Rachel Mielke and Shane Evans, two super-strong women who have much to say about overcoming the challenges of running a great life and business. Order yours and view the trailer here.