Choose the Hard Bucket

I wasn’t going to work out today. I had a lot of reasons not to. I had just gotten off of a busy 48 hour shift with two large structure fires. I was tired and my right foot was feeling out of commission. I was just going to go down to the gym and coach my athletes and then go home and take a nap before the department’s Fourth of July BBQ and some fireworks later. 

Needless to say, once I got down to the gym and saw everyone that had shown up to do the workout, I instantly knew that I was going to do the workout. I was tired. I was hungry. I had maybe slept a total of 6 hours in the last 48. 

I chose the Hard Bucket. 

See, in life we typically have three buckets. The YES Bucket, the NO Bucket and the TOO HARD BUCKET. 

The Yes and No Buckets don’t really need a lot of explanation. You either said Yes… or you said No. But the Too Hard Bucket… that’s the bucket where excuses and reasons live. 

What does it mean to choose the Hard Bucket? 

It means paying attention to the small details. 
It means picking up the trash you see instead of walking by it and leaving it for someone else. 
It means favoring substance over output. 
It means not being tempted by lack of patients because you are bored or the task is tedious.
It means you cannot be driven by ego and a need to prove to others how smart you are. 
It means you cannot be put off by the need to sometimes throw ideas away and start over. 
It means being mentally tough during times of physical fatigue and weakness. 

We have the luxury in life to never be uncomfortable. To never be challenged. To be offended by anything and everything that others say. To place ourselves in the center of the Universe and pretend that other people do not exist. To except mediocrity.  But choosing the Hard Bucket means that we are actively choosing all of this… 

To be uncomfortable because we know that growth comes from moving beyond our comfort zone. To accept challenges because we know that they make us better human beings. To take responsibility for listening and improving not only ourselves, but those around us. To challenge mediocrity. To hold ourselves to a higher standard regardless of the actions of those around us. 

By choosing the Hard Bucket, we are choosing to lead from within. To do the things that seem less glamourous. Tedious. Dirty. Difficult. 

Choosing the Hard Bucket means that we are willing to sacrifice. That we are willing to continue to push forward when we are physically and mentally exhausted. That we understand the value of hard work, determination and earned respect. 

This group… these people… they choose the Hard Bucket, in their own way, every time they show up. 

Each of us has reasons to say No. To opt out. Excuses as to why not today- why not right now- why not ever. Each of us could choose to not be uncomfortable. To not push. To not challenge. 

But this group… this group shows up and does work. They show each other that they are not alone. That there are others that choose the Hard Bucket. Others that seek the hard work – the tedious work – the mentally and physically taxing tasks. Others that will not accept mediocrity… 

Others who choose the Hard Bucket. 

Choose the Hard Bucket.