A friend and business partner told me a story of a recent cyberattack on one of his businesses. Shitty deal, all too common, but shitty nonetheless. I was told the IT professional working at this medium sized company wards off thousands of attacks daily on their systems. Most would pose minimal threat, but only because the process is in place to protect. That protection needs to be in place for the business to grow without fear – and it comes with a cost.
The threats seem … not necessarily smarter than us… but certainly more relentless.
This morning, I took my dog for a run. It was an unseasonably spectacular February morning. It was hard work, but the run was good for me (and for Ace), the wet pavement and warm winter sun were welcoming, the effort was well worthwhile.
As I ran, I thought of all of the things I need to do to keep myself in a good spot. To minimize the threats to my personal health, my professional ambition, my family’s well-being, to relationships that are important to me, and my own mental health. It’s a lot of goddamn work. These threats are also numbered in the thousands and can feel like they are constantly testing my fence, looking for weakness. They too are relentless, and often disguised as comfort… the snooze button, social media, empty calories, negative self-talk, shortcuts… we all have our own list.
Fending off these threats is work with no end – and doing the right things is often uncomfortable or difficult or inconvenient or lonely.
I try to picture the version of myself that caves. And I’ve been that version in the past. Hiding from my own light, sabotaging progress and actively seeking comfort.
It’s even harder to picture my other version. The one that doesn’t hide. That actively seeks discomfort… unafraid to grow because the threats to my system are actively being thwarted.
I’ve labeled the comfort-seeking version and I recognize his voice. Without question, I continue to let some of those threats in, but I also (most days) feel like I’m a step ahead. The 80/20 rule probably applies here – giving comfort just enough permission to not crash the system.
I can’t eliminate the threats. But I can protect against them. To be happy and healthy and strong, it comes down to being relentless and persistent. Find joy in discomfort. Be present and have gratitude for my own interesting life. Protect the fence and find the capacity to grow.