This Stuff is Hard and That is Ok

I was talking to a friend the other day.

He recently took over as Executive Director of a small nonprofit and was telling me about their struggles recently over representation. My friend was upset that more people of color were not on staff, or on the board, or even mentioned in resources the nonprofit published. Since taking over, he had made racial representation an issue he had fought for, and he had received a ton of push back from (typically white) supporters, donors and board members.

“But this is so hard, “he said. “Moving a 50 year old organization to be more progressive is exhausting. I wish it wasn’t so hard.”

I told him the truest thing I know: It’s supposed to be hard. Be glad it’s hard.

It’s hard because you are trying to change things. It’s hard because the universe desires the default, and the only way change happens is to go against the default.

The default position in any scenario is the path of least resistance. By definition, then, if you seek to do something other than the default, you will have more resistance. In other words, it’s going to be harder than doing nothing.

And if you are going to fight for change, you have to expect it will be hard.

In his book The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield talks about how the difficulty of a thing can be a barometer to tell you if a thing is worth doing. Since all change is predicated on NOT doing the default, then any change will be hard. And if your work isn’t changing things, and thus not changing the default, is it really worth doing?

Making the world better is hard. And it’s supposed to be.

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