When Work Gets Hard, Some Times You Just Gotta Pull a Tooth!

I was driving home last night after my fourth marathon workday. Yep, left the house before the kids got up and returned after they had gone to bed. (…You ask: I thought this guy had figured out work-life balance?…Me too…). In any event, I was talking to my wife on the phone about the week’s victories and tragedies in the home when she abruptly stopped mid-sentence: “I gotta pull Dylan’s tooth. Bye. She hung up.


She was not mad. She was not angry. Most of the other kids were already asleep. But, as a-matter-of-factly as she could, my wife dropped everything to attend to another something. I continued my drive home thinking of those words…gotta pull a tooth…

Sometimes, when work gets hard, you just gotta pull a tooth. In simple terms, that means the following:

  • You will experience toothaches.  Whether it is now or later, you will face adversity: a work crises, a financial hardship, a health challenge, a problematic co-worker or boss.  Whatever the obstacle, you need to recognize that life is full of these aches.
  • There’s not always a clear choice.  When you experience a challenge, you will have many avenues. Don’t over-analyze those options, but be mindful of the choices and the consequences of each choice.  For example, I have made a conscious decision to work very hard during the week so that I can play very hard with my kids on the weekend.  That decision does not make the late nights during the week any easier, though.  In your life, you may have many options before you and the pathway may not be clear.  But press forward.
  • Eventually, you must do something.  For my son and his loose tooth, that time came last night at about 9:00 p.m. when my wife made a decision to just pull the tooth. That sucker had been rolling back and forth in my son’s mouth for numerous days.  He giggled. He whined. And again, not out of frustration, but out of resolve, she acted.  You will need to do the same.

In his post about working hard and playing hard, Chris Brogan answers the frequently asked question about how to get so much done all the time.  His answer: “I’ve learned how to really put a lot of hard work down into a really short period of time, so that I can free up more time to pursue my passions when I’m done my other work.”  In other words, sometimes you just gotta pull a tooth…step up…work harder.

Question: What tips can you give when work gets hard? Leave a comment here.

Image: Alex Barth

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