How Choosing the More Difficult Path Leads to Awesomeness (and a Cuter Butt)

The other day, I was the only student to show up for lunchtime yoga. “You have three options,” my instructor told me. “A. We can do a restorative yoga class. B. I can kick your ass with a really intense class. C. We can blow this joint and go out for drinks.”

I stood there, waffling between all three. An hour of restorative yoga would pretty much be an easy-peasy, introspective afternoon nap. Going out for drinks would be fun. And I’d been wanting to pick my instructor’s brain about his experiences within the teacher training program.

In the end, though, I chose option B. I felt I needed it, especially after my rough day at the lab, trying unsuccessfully to get blood drawn so I could take the next step in trying to get pregnant. That and I’d been feeling a little fat. So we got down on our mats and we sweated it out.

I was so happy with my choice. My instructor read aloud a great passage from Life Is a Verb, and then we worked our way through a full vinyasa practice. Because I was the only student there, my instructor was able to give me adjustments on every pose, pushing me harder and deepening my practice. We also worked on inversions I had been struggling with. And I still got my chance to grill him about teacher training. When I left the studio, I was feeling simultaneously relaxed and revitalized. I was ready to make the tough choices on my to-do list next.

I feel as if freelancers crave the tougher path.

Yeah, yeah. I roll out of bed at 8:30, at which point I only have to commute from my bedroom to my dining room. I don’t have to wear a bra — or pants — if I don’t want to. I get to hang out with my cats all day. My schedule is flexible enough to allow for a shit-ton of yoga classes throughout the week. I’m my own boss.

But I’m also the toughest, most critical boss I know. I can’t count on regular income. I’ve had to force myself to diversify — with ghostwriting, editing, coaching, funeral singing, etc. — to more easily pay the bills. I’ve had to fight my introversion and social anxiety in order to build my network. I’ve also had to learn self-discipline and self-motivation, and take on the roles of marketer, accountant, administrator, and more.

And every day, I’ve had to consciously choose to sit down at the computer and fill the blank screen, instead of watching the latest What Not To Wear marathon or baking apple crumble and lemon pound cake.

That’s a hard decision to make, yo.

And I know you make the same choices, too. It’s scary to leave a seemingly stable job and a regular paycheck in order to make it on your own. It’s scary to put yourself out there. It’s scary to ask for what you’re worth and to stand firm with problem clients and to try new things. It’s definitely far from easy.

And it can be tough to make the tough choices from day to day.

But it’s worth it. Because of the pantslessness and the bralessness and the kitty cat slumber parties, yes, but also because it challenges us. It pushes us to be more… to be better. Making the tough choices ensures that we continue growing, both as people and in our career.

It’s tough to remember the benefits sometimes.

But right now, my booty and my thighs are still sore from Tuesday’s private class and — man oh man — if I keep it up, my mood will keep improving, and I’ll look hotter in skinny jeans.

And for the same reason, I’ll skip the Netflix this afternoon and work on those projects I have on my plate.

What tough decisions do you have to make today?

Related: Are You Being Challenged By Your Career?, News Flash: Both Marriage and Freelancing Are Hard, Reevaluating Your Life