top of page
  • ilselarsoncoaching

The Easy Way Out

Hard work & sacrifice are noble. Don’t take the easy way out.

These thoughts are frequent fliers in my brain; emerging when I’m asked to cover an extra shift or join a committee or stay late at work, when helping my kids with homework, when exercising, when considering whether I’ll spend a weekend morning cleaning the house or hiking with the kids. They were certainly inherited from my parents, and then reinforced through decades of school, competitive sports, and medical training.

Recently, I realized that although these thoughts may seem helpful at first glance (and that they may have once served me well), they are no longer thoughts that I choose to live by.

Hard work & sacrifice are noble. Don’t take the easy way out.

What if this is a lie?

What is “hard work”?

When I really think about it, my brain equates “hard work” with doing something because I “should” (even if I don’t really want to), saying yes when I really want to say no, sticking it out because without pain there is no gain, putting my own needs behind those of others. “Hard work”, using this definition, is simply people-pleasing – and it couldn’t be farther from the way I want to live my life and teach my children. It is instead a recipe for burnout, resentment, discontent, strained relationships, disconnection.

And what is the “easy way out”?

I am quite practiced in self-sacrifice and people-pleasing; this comes easily.

What if deciding to honor my OWN needs is actually the harder path?

What if continuing to people-please IS the easy way out?

The next time my brain offers the thought: “Don’t take the easy way out”, I’ll be on board.

I choose to start honoring my own needs and to move away from the familiar practice of self-sacrifice and people-pleasing.

I choose not to take the easy way out.



P.S. If you’re ready to start examining your thoughts about hard work and people-pleasing, reach out! I help busy physicians feel more balanced, more joyful, and less overwhelmed so that they can build their dream lives. Schedule a consult at:


bottom of page