We Can Do Hard Things

This year, for so many reasons, has been hard. But we’re surviving, we’re pulling through. Don’t forget to look back on this time and say to yourself “I can do hard things.”

By Nili Zaharony

I’m nearing the end of the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I picked it up so I could join the HER Circle book club. We recently met up to discuss it and I hadn’t yet finished it because #momming. There are moments in the book that make me pause. In one chapter she challenges us (women) to define ourselves not by who we love or serve but by what we love and what we do to fill our cups.

 

Yes. I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend. I am many things and I love all (okay maybe most) the people in my life but they are not what makes me me. I challenge you to ask yourselves these questions.

 

  • What do I love?
  • What makes me come alive?
  • What is beauty to me, and when do I take time to fill up on it?
  • Who is the soul beneath all of these roles?

 

I am still working on my answers to these questions and no doubt I will for the rest of my life.

I can do hard things. It is the hard things, once accomplished, with all the challenges and unknowns, that will make me happy. This year, for so many reasons, has been hard. But we’re surviving, we’re pulling through. Don’t forget to look back on this time and say to yourself “I can do hard things.”

- Nili Zaharony

For a decade I worked in tech. Continuous improvement has been drilled into me for longer than I can remember and now it’s time to apply that to me, not just to work, or product development, or the people around me. 

 

The year 2020 with its pandemic, murder hornets, and Black Lives Matter protests, has been a period of change worldwide. All of that, along with the laundry list of other things that this year keeps throwing at us, has been hard. 

 

For me, the hardest thing was actually even before the pandemic. I had ALWAYS defined myself by my work. Seven years ago, I sat in an office for a meeting, and somewhat unintentionally started a business. It was a tech marketing agency. I loved my work, the people I worked with, and more than anything, building an environment in which people enjoyed the work they did and the people with which they did it.

In February of this year, just before COVID-19 hit the fan, I made the incredibly difficult decision to walk away from this business that I’d spent 7 years building with blood, sweat, and tears (literally – there was an incident building some desks for new employees). 

 

I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew I was burned out and needed time to figure it out. A week after I had my official last day at work, daycare closed and we abruptly went into quarantine. For the past 4 months, I have been homeschooling my children, and sometimes their cousins too. It was hard, exhausting, and even infuriating at times. 

 

In that time, I also became pregnant with baby number three (yay!) which means I’ve been battling some pretty wicked nausea. 

 

This week, my children went back to daycare. I have no idea if it’s the right decision but I know that I never had time to recover from my burnout and I needed a break. 

 

They are thriving. My daughter talks nonstop about her friends and the activities they are doing. I even got a video from my son’s class. How they manage to keep eight two-year-olds socially distanced for circle time boggles the mind, but they do it! I feel as comfortable as I can considering the extenuating circumstances of the shit show that is 2020.

 

I am now back to where I was in March. Unemployed and able to focus on what the heck comes next. Right now, I know it won’t be in the tech field. It won’t be a full-time job either. I fully acknowledge my privilege in being able to make that call. 

 

The payout from selling my portion of the company will give me a buffer. I may start an Etsy shop to make paintings for children’s rooms, or focus on fitness, maybe start a podcast. Maybe I’ll do all of these things. I know that creativity makes me happy. Writing, painting (even though I’m not very good), gardening. I love harvesting my cherry tomatoes in the backyard. They are so delicious. Fingers crossed the cucumbers make it!

 

I’m still trying to figure out the answers to the questions above. But walking away from my business, from a  comfortable 6-figure salary and opting for the unknown, so far, that has made me happy. It was incredibly difficult and yet, I have no regrets. Homeschooling my children for 4 months was hard, but with so many beautiful moments and memories. 


My one major takeaway from 2020 and from Glennon’s book is just that. I can do hard things. It is the hard things, once accomplished, with all the challenges and unknowns, that will make me happy. This year, for so many reasons, has been hard. But we’re surviving, we’re pulling through. Don’t forget to look back on this time and say to yourself “I can do hard things.”

Nili Zaharony
Nili Zaharony

Nili is mom to two young children and one on the way.

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