What Do You Do When Life is Hard?

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"But a hero doesn’t just take action for results—and certainly not just short-term results. A hero takes action because it’s who they are. It’s a way of being. To constantly choose the right thing over the easy thing, even when it’s not validated by the world."

For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:


I didn’t want to get up at 5:30 this morning.

Or exercise, journal, make the bed, meditate, tap (EFT), eat breakfast, shower, and write right now.

For whatever reason, today was a day when I just wanted to take a day off from my extensive morning. I won’t lie—there are many days when I wake up and feel overwhelmed by everything I want to do.

And, at a different time in my life, I’d probably have quit and called it self-care.

But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the deeper part of me really, really craves my full morning routine. Just some days it’s hard to choose the deeper parts of ourselves.

For most of my life, I’ve chosen what’s easy. And that’s made me a victim of circumstance. When things were going well, I could do what I wanted because it was easy. But, when shit hit the fan—as it always does—I’d give up on what I wanted and tell myself it was impossible.

So I started saying something to myself on the particularly hard mornings. The ones where my mind wants to choose easy but the deeper part of me wants nourishment. I say, “Be the hero you’ve always needed.”

Every time I say that in my head, it transports me back to some of the hardest, scariest moments of my life. Moments where I wish I had someone who could step in and show me that I could survive this. Someone who could save me.

Can I be the one to save myself?

We visionaries have been told we’re wrong more times than we can count. That we’re too emotional or too sensitive. That we’re high-maintenance. That we’re deep or intense. That we can’t take a joke.

We’ve never quite fit in. Or believed that our dreams were possible.

I think back to 12-year-old Mike and think, “I want to be the hero that boy needed. I want to live a life that was just a pipedream for him. I want to give him something to believe in.”

When we were little children, we were connected to our vision—often much more than we are right now. We all had hopes and dreams and aspirations. And we were foolish enough to believe that some of those things might happen. Or, at the very least, that we had permission to entertain them.

And then life happened. We realized we don’t fit into the world perfectly. Maybe we were picked on or bullied or laughed at. Maybe we felt we were “too fat” or “too skinny.” Maybe we were loud or emotional or sensitive.

And we needed a hero. We needed someone to come in and tell us they saw us. They got us. And we’re okay. Even during the biggest drama of our lives, we’re okay.

That we’re not “too much” or “not enough.” We’re perfect. And one day we’ll live a life where we’re no longer trying to fit into other people’s boxes. We’re creating boxes to fit us.

I think about what a Successful, Vulnerable, Zany, Free, Unmistakable, Aligned hero would have meant to 12-year-old Mike. To know that he doesn’t have to tone himself down or prove himself or just do what’s safe and easy.

So, when things are particularly hard, I say, “Be the hero you’ve always needed,” and I do my best to do that.

As a visionary, I want the life I live to be vindication for my 12-year-old self. I want him to know that every insecurity and fear and shame is actually part of his genius. And there’s no reason to beat himself up for being different. That’s what makes him a genius in the first place.

I think about the hero I needed when my grandparents passed away. Or the hero I needed when my best friend died in an accident. Or the hero I needed when I lost all of my friends. Or the hero I needed when I was so sick and afraid I’d die. Or the hero I needed when I shit my pants at work. Or the hero I needed when I started exploring a relationship with Garrett.

If I could go back in time, who would those Mikes need to see to feel safe and okay? That’s who I want to be.

And, as simple as it sounds, that one statement—“Be the hero you’ve always needed”—has helped me to step further into my genius. Into parts of myself I didn’t think I could give myself permission to claim.

Whether it’s as unassuming as choosing to do my morning routine on an off day or as bold as sharing my naked body with social media, that statement has helped me see where there are parts of myself—my genius—that I haven’t yet stepped into.

We all need heroes. People whom we can look up to. People who can shine a light for us to follow. People who inspire us on even our darkest days.

Heroes embody our ideals. They remind us of what really matters to us. Not just on days when it’s convenient. Because heroes don’t just choose the easy things. They choose the important things, whether they’re easy or not.

And sometimes it’s hard to step into that heroism without adequate motivation. Because it’s scary and hard and maybe even feels unsafe. But if we can remember the younger versions of ourselves who needed that hero. Who needed someone, somewhere to be so brave and inspire us to keep going when we didn’t think we could anymore.

If we can do that, then all we need to do is be the hero that person always needed. To be vindication for our previous struggles.

And sometimes we’ll step into glorious results. But sometimes we won’t. Despite the myth most self-help books put out there, there’s a chance—even a good chance—that we might not get the results we want. That’s why it’s called a risk.

But a hero doesn’t just take action for results—and certainly not just short-term results. A hero takes action because it’s who they are. It’s a way of being. To constantly choose the right thing over the easy thing, even when it’s not validated by the world.

But knowing that it’s far better to choose ourselves when it’s hard than to betray ourselves because it’s easier.

So be the hero you’ve always needed.


Questions for Reflection:

*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:

What do you do when life is hard?

— How do you choose your genius when life is hard? How do you keep choosing what you want when you hit 1,000 roadblocks? Do you ever give up on what you care about because it’s just easier? Do you ever choose to settle?

— Who did the 12-year-old version of you need to feel safe and powerful? What type of life would be vindication for that 12-year-old self? How would they act when things are really hard?

— What if you allowed the statement “Be the hero you’ve always needed” to be your guiding light? What if you chose actions not because they were guaranteed for success but because they were guaranteed to lead you to your genius? What if you could be the hero your younger self truly needed? What if, no matter the situation, you chose to do what your own hero would do?

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

Mike writes about how artists, entrepreneurs, healers, and visionaries of all kinds can actually build a life around the genius inside of them.

He's CEO of Mike Iamele LLC and Creator of Sacred Branding® and the Sacred Circle.

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