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Embrace the Suck: Using Tough Times as Professional Development

A runner in a black and white uniform kneels on a red running track, catching their breath post-race, as an official in khaki pants and a bright yellow vest stands beside them, seemingly offering support.
Courtesy of Phil Roeder on Flickr

Why "Embrace the Suck" Helps Everyone at Work

The phrase "Embrace the suck," which I think about a lot during long, hard runs, is not just for sports. It's great for any job. When I run a 50k ultramarathon, after 20 miles, I still have 11 more miles to go. That's tough. My legs hurt, and my mind tells me to stop, but my heart wants to keep going. This is what runners call the "Pain Cave" and it's inevitable that you will hit this at some point during an ultramarathon. It's such a guarantee, that I have the phrase "Embrace the suck" printed on my emergency ID bracelet. So what does this have to do with work? Reality is whether you are a firefighter, doctor, barista, or any other job you can imagine, this idea of "Embrace the suck" can change how you see tough times at work. It can help you come up with new ideas and do your job better.

What Does "Embrace the Suck" Mean for You?

To embrace the suck means to accept the hardest parts of your job. It’s about using these hard times to come up with new ideas and ways to do things better.

How This Idea Helps Different Jobs

  • Firefighters: They deal with danger and stress. By facing these challenges, they can find better ways to stay safe and work as a team.

  • Doctors: Doctors work long hours and make important decisions. Facing these challenges can lead to better ways to care for patients and manage their time.

  • Baristas: Getting up early and serving lots of customers is hard. By tackling these challenges, baristas can find faster and nicer ways to serve drinks and make customers happy.

Tips to "Embrace the Suck" at Work

  • See Challenges as Chances: Look at every tough task as a chance to come up with new ideas. Think, "How can this make things better?"

  • Break Down Big Tasks: If a task seems too big, break it into smaller parts. This makes it less scary and shows you where you can make things better.

  • Build a Team: Work with others who can help you look at challenges differently. A good team can come up with great new ideas.

  • Keep Learning: Use hard times as chances to learn. This can lead to new ways of doing things that can make your job easier and more fun.

Wrapping This Up

"Embrace the suck" means more than just getting through bad times; it's about using them to get better at what you do. This way of thinking not only helps you deal with problems now but also makes you a leader in finding new ways to work. By changing how you handle challenges, you can enjoy your job more and do it better.

So let me ask you, "How can you 'Embrace the suck' today?"


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