The Secret Behind Working Hard

I never dreamed that I would summit an erupted volcano and look in, but that’s what I did on Saturday. My husband and I summited St. Helens with two of our friends. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day. We climbed all that way with our ski gear and I realize now that I had also never dreamed about the feeling of skiing down a volcano with miles of mountains in my view.

Part of the rim left from the eruption in 1980.

Today I found myself thinking about how or why I did it, seeing as though I had not dreamed of it. I’m usually a planner. I’m a goal setter. I dream and then go after it. And I’m a believer in the power of visualization — visualize yourself doing it, or help someone else visualize it, and you’re more likely to succeed. But I didn’t plan this, set this as a goal, or even attempt a visualization.

What I realized was that I really like to work hard. Seriously. And, in fact, I think most people like to work hard. Working hard is not the same thing as working all the time. Working hard is pushing yourself, strategizing, doing all you can do in that moment. For hours, I was climbing for the pure joy of exerting energy. Contributing to something. Enjoying something.

Brian climbing St. Helens with Mt. Adams in the background.

Tackling something big enough to make you struggle mandates moments when you’re overwhelmed or exhausted, and when you’re working hard you definitely make mistakes. But working hard is more rewarding. And you know why it’s more rewarding? Because if you’re motivated enough to work really hard, you’re doing something you love.

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