How to be tough

When you think of the word tough, what comes to mind?

I always picture someone boxing. They are punching, dodging hits, getting hit, and they keep going until the fight is over. Even if they lose they don’t cry because boxers, I imagine, are tough.

What does it mean?

I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately, now more than ever. While interviewing and getting in touch with people for the Full-Time Chime Podcast, I wondered if they realized how tough they are after listening to their story. And while doing some self-reflection, I wondered how tough am I?

I drafted this blog post a few times wondering how I could capture what it meant to be tough until I realized this is a LIST. This is not the time to share one story about myself on acting tough….

Okay, maybe just one quick story, I finally got my tattoo! Surprisingly, it was a relaxing experience. But no, that does not make me tough. So let’s dive in.

I first want to share what being tough does not mean, because sometimes we might mistake these moments for be tough. Ugh, I’m guilty of some of these items.

Being tough does not mean…

  • Quitting projects or jobs because you do not want to give more than 100% when your team needs you.
  • Being rude towards others because you had a bad day.
  • Not being there for someone else because you are busy focusing on yourself.
  • Not asking for help at work even when you need it, desperately.
  • Ending friendships because you don’t want to be around people doing “better” than you.
  • Ending romantic relationships because of any type of fear you may have.
  • Putting off what you want because you are waiting for the “perfect time.”
  • Holding a grudge and allowing negative emotions to live inside of you.
  • Judging people who are not as well off as you are.

What being tough actually means….

  • Take baby steps towards future goals even if you are not 100% ready.
  • Forgive others and let yourself be happy.
  • Try again (and again) after failure.
  • Treating people, even the ones you don’t know, with respect all the time.
  • Root for others whether or not your life is perfect.
  • Admit you need help because you want to be better.
  • Apologize to those you have wronged.
  • You are scared to try something new, but you give it a shot anyway.
  • Communicate your wants, fears, and needs to your manager or partner. The people who need to know.
  • Standing up for yourself without putting someone else down in the process.

This list will continue to grow, I’m still learning from personal experiences and now from others as I prepare to launch the podcast.

My personal life lesson this week

Getting a skull tattoo does not make me tough. But, tuning out the voice in my head saying “what will people think of me?” and doing what I want…yeah, that’s a little tough.

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