Why living your best life doesn’t mean living your easiest life

One of the most fundamental and yet seemingly contradictory things I’ve learned from both coaching women and being a woman myself is this: When we’re living the life we always imagined, life is often more difficult than we ever thought it would be.

Someone recently wrote me a note to acknowledge this paradox. She’s the co-founder of a successful startup with three children under the age of 4. It’s both a dream and an incredible struggle, she said. She hadn’t realized those things could happen simultaneously.

I can see why she thought that, but I’m not surprised.

Living your best life is in no way synonymous with living an easy or uncomplicated life. In fact, most of the time, chasing our dreams requires great courage and sacrifice.

Perhaps outside opinion is telling you that everything you want is impossible to get. Or maybe you’ve experienced numerous failures along the way to making it—whatever it may be—happen. Or you’re simply struggling to juggle a mix of expected and unexpected responsibilities.

Taking the first or next step in your journey—despite the fear of criticism or rejection or failure—is hard.

I’ve personally experienced this many times. When I left a lucrative job to join the nonprofit world, I took a 50 percent pay cut and also sacrificed a lot of sleep and a good chunk of my social life. But it was meaningful, joyful work, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

When I decided to launch my coaching business, we were also trying to start a family. I mentioned this to a friend, who told me, “Baby first. Business later.” I didn’t listen. And while I certainly experienced my share of difficult moments trying to balance business and baby, I look back on those days with incredible pride.

When you’re daring to live your best life, that means you’re likely also taking risks, learning the hard way and encountering setbacks. At the end of the day, you’re probably exhausted but happy. After all, life is messy, challenging, and complicated, whether we’re pursuing our dreams or not. So I say let’s go for it.

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