Dane Sanders

Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices...

published8 months ago
4 min read

Hey Champ

You know the feeling: You started with why. You anchored your purpose. You outlined your plan. Your milestones are specific, measurable, and time-based… your lead and lag metrics are committed. You even time blocked, for goodness' sake.

Then, you blinked. Your expectations outpaced reality.

Whether it was a fire you needed to put out or a distraction you gave into, it's all the same. What you said was most important wasn't. "It" didn't get done.

Previously on TMYD

We finished our last episode with a simple question, "Why do so many of us accomplish urgent things so easily yet struggle to get the important things done consistently?"

Stephen Pressfield calls it the Resistance. Seth Godin says the Lizard Brain is getting its way. I call it the hypothalamus hijack — when the anxiety-driven flight, fight or freeze part of our brain gets the best of us.

We resist what's unpleasant in the short term and embrace what feels good.

Said different, we do the comfortable stuff and resist what's difficult.

It makes sense, right? Avoiding what's hard does offer temporary relief… only to leave regret in its wake.

Here’s the thing…

In moments like these, the temptation is to think you have a problem.

That there's something broken. Maybe even you're broken.

I've got good news: You aren't. Everything is working perfectly.

The truth is the system you're living in was built to give you precisely what you're getting. It's not broken. You're getting what it's designed to give. You just don't like the output.

If you want something new from your system, it will need a redesign… to set it up to give you something new.

In an upcoming podcast, we'll share my conversation with Jerzy Gregorek. He's a champion Olympic weight lifter and coach. He's renowned. He's set records, won medals, and written books… fancy celebrities like Tim Ferriss talk about his influence on their lives.

But, what he's probably most famous for is a little mantra. It goes like this…

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”

Think of that for a second. What if that little line was a system?

The inputs are your choices. The output is your life.

What kind of choices are you making? Are you happy with what they're giving you?

After decades in and around business and leadership, I've come to believe that the ability to do hard things is the singular, most profound differentiator.

If you want to redesign your system, take a page from Jerzy.

When pressed for a choice, make your default decision to do the hard thing over the easier one for the next seven days and see what happens. Then, do it for seven more. If that's too much, try 24 hours.

The thing to notice is not wanting to do the thing.

[Bonus: What might that be for you right now?]

When you feel that tension, map it to the decision you're committed to making.

Then, make it, regardless of your preferences.

The fact that it feels difficult might be the clue that it's the right thing to do.


This week a bunch of us are getting together to celebrate the life of my friend, Timmy Krueger. He died of stomach cancer earlier this year, leaving his wife and two boys.

I miss him. We all do. Tim was an Ironman… figuratively and literally.

One of the remarkable things about his life is when whirlwinds loomed, Tim would run toward them. Like the American Buffalo, the storm was his cue to run toward it. Doing hard things was his default state.

What's interesting to me was is in his last year on earth, Tim was more alive than most people I know. But, as his body betrayed him, he kept doing the hard things. And, his life got more significant.

He got closer to his God. He got closer to all those who were important to him. The stakes with every decision were evident, and he kept making great ones.

Cancer won the battle. Tim won the war.

Choosing the hard thing was his system. Tim's legacy was his agency. It's why he was able to be so successful at going through hell.

Oh… one more thing: He established the habit of doing hard things before he got sick. He built his system before he needed it.

What about you? What kind of system have you designed for yourself? Are you happy with what you're getting?

Might Jerzy's advice (or Timmy's life) invite something new for you?

This edition of the newsleader is admittedly heavy. But sometimes, that's what we need. If that's you, I invite you to reach out. I'd love to hear where you're at.

If you've already embraced the "hard things first" mindset, I'd love to hear about it! Will you share?

Next time…

Two weeks from now, I’ll be shifting back to the cultural conversation.

More specifically, we will talk about what it looks like to enroll your whole team into a "doing hard things" first mindset -- without any coercion required. I can't wait.

All my best,


P.S. Keep your ears peeled for a fresh episode of Converge. My conversation with digital entrepreneurial pioneer, Corbett Barr, drops next Wednesday.

Dane Sanders is CEO of His team of certified mental health professionals and coaches - trained in TMYD's motivation modality - offer workshops tailored for organizations looking to become great. Tom Rodriguez is TMYD's Chief Mental Health Officer. Comments, questions, and inquiries are always welcome at

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