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  • Deanna Kohlhofer

Do the Hard Things

Have you ever heard of the 75Hard Challenge? I went through it with my oldest son. It might have been the single most ridiculous thing I have ever committed myself to. Why? Well, because it was hard and also because I ended up having to quit – and that made me angry. I’m not a quitter.

Oh wait.

I kind of am a quitter, actually. It’s complicated. But truth is, I have quit a lot of things. Sure, some were for nobleish reasons – the timing wasn’t right, the interest wasn’t there. Sometimes you simply have to say no or call it quits on good things in order to make room for the great things. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I have quit for other reasons too, though. Reasons I’d rather sweep under the rug. Fear. Opposition. Pain. Difficulty. Yeah – those reasons suck. They were time wasters and dream killers. “Were” being the operative word.

I’ve been listening to Andy Frisella’s podcast. He is the creator of the 75Hard challenge and an entrepreneur who knows what he wants – and goes after it.

Okay - I need to insert a dire warning before continuing. If you are anything like me (and for your sake, I kind of hope you aren’t…just sayin’…), you will google Andy’s name if you don’t know who he is. When you do, you will stumble upon images and videos and websites and start poking around. I need you to know he doesn’t mess with words – and some of his words are kind of, well, bad. I’m not a big swearer. I’ll admit, I drop a word bomb here and there when I am worked up about something. But Andy? Well, he likes those words – a lot. No judgement from me, and I hope no judgement from you, but I did want to warn you in case you were going to search. Be prepared, and don’t listen around your kiddos. Or at church.

Now, despite some of his word choices, I have to say, I like what he says. He is a smart guy and he doesn’t sugarcoat a thing. I appreciate that. I get so tired of the fluffy foo-foo crap sometimes, don’t you? I just want someone to say, “Hey! Get your head out of the clouds, roll up your sleeves, and do what needs to be done.” Andy does that for me.

In the short (and yet terribly long) time that I did the 75Hard challenge, I learned a ton. Check out my Insta posts (and follow while you’re there)…no need to rehash all that here. But what I do want to highlight is one thing he said in a recent podcast.

You can’t wait for others…

I wrote that down. You’d think I could remember five words, but my memory sucks so I scribbled it on the nearest piece of paper because it resonated with me. For years, I have been trying to get others to come on a journey with me – any journey. I hate doing things alone. I don’t know why - a shrink will have to analyze that for me, but I’ve been like that forever. It’s more fun and challenging when you do things with a friend, and, quite frankly, I need people to keep me accountable or I give up too easily. So, what do I do? I get an idea in my head and I beg someone to do it with me. Run with me. Do the keto diet with me. Read a book with me. Write with me. Workout with me. Dream with me.

It wasn’t until I started doing CrossFit that I started to find opposition. No one wanted any part of that craziness. I can’t say I blame them. I mean, it is hard. But I desperately wanted a friend to join me and I would have done anything for someone to say yes. But no one did… and I moved on without them.

That may not seem like a big deal, but I’m telling you it is huge. This terribly unfit introvert stepped into the CrossFit world alone. Not knowing a single person. And I struggled. You guys, I didn’t like the trainer. I didn’t make friends. I hated the workouts. Everything sucked…for a week. And then I found a trainer I liked. I started to make friends. My body got over the shock. And a strange thing happened. I forgot that my friends shut me down. I became more confident. I was looking forward to an hour in hell every day and when I had to miss a class, I was legit sad. Who did I turn into?

The people at my gym, Steel Rain Fitness, will never know the impact they have had on me. I couldn’t possibly adequately express how I feel about Taylor, his staff, and the community. I’ve been at it for a about a year and I am a new person. If I had waited for a friend to finally give in to my incessant begging, I would still be that unhealthy girl wondering why things weren’t happening in life.

Enter 75Hard

After one week, I realized that there were things I had given up on that aren’t ready for my departure – my writing aspirations, in particular. It is not a secret that I have a book in the works. I’d love nothing more than to tell you it is ready to go, but it isn’t. The first draft is done, but it has laid dormant since summer.

I say time has robbed me. I’m busy with work and church and sports and the stupid puppy we acquired. But I do realize I’m just as busy as you are. I thrive on structure and consistency, so I schedule my days very carefully. But wouldn’t ya know - every single time I sat down to write, someone needed my attention. Dinner needed to be made. Directions needed to be given. Someone wanted to talk. People were loud. There was always something that distracted me from my precious writing time. You can’t schedule distractions. I suppose you can expect them, but when your time is limited, distractions are equivalent to a traffic jam when you have five minutes to get to an important meeting.

I tried desperately to accommodate the distractions as much as I could. I put in my earbuds when it was too noisy. I rearranged my schedule. I stayed up late or got up early to get onto paper the things that were in my head…if I was lucky enough to remember them. After several days of trying, I’d set my goals aside and try again another time. I’d convince myself this wasn’t the right time. Or the right project. I’d tell myself I wasn’t good enough to tackle the task at hand. That I needed more time to sharpen my skills.

That’s the quitter in me.

Clearly the world is against me. Why else would it be so dang hard to do what I was created to do? But quitting is easy. And I don’t want to do the easy thing. I am always telling my kids to man up. To be bold. To be leaders. To be different. And here I am, doing the very opposite when it comes to my writing – shying away from the hard things.

Andy reminded me that there is no easy way to that thing you desire. If you want something, then you need to buckle up and steer yourself on the long, bumpy road to chase after it. I’m not sure what that will look like for my writing yet, but I’m rolling up my sleeves and buckling myself in.

If you have a dream, a goal, a desire for something, can I just encourage you to do the same? The hard things are hard because they are not easy. That sounds silly, but think about it… Don’t quit. Do the hard things and make your dreams come true.