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Embrace Pain

The forces of pain and pleasure impact every area of your life: from relationships, to finances, to how you feel about yourself and others. Everything you do is to either avoid pain or to gain pleasure. So, what do you do with pain?

I believe we need a fresh perspective. We need to make friends with our pain.

Many of us are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness but we often feel empty, alone, obsessed and without meaning. Happiness wants you to think about maximizing your benefits while difficulty and suffering send you on a different course. Athletes often play when they are hurting. They know they have to make friends with their pain. Why do they continue putting themselves through such pain? Because they love playing and understand that their aches and pains are the price they must pay to stay on a field and compete on a field.

My friend, do you want to be a better leader? Raise your threshold for pain. Do you want your business to reach higher goals? Reluctance to face pain is your greatest limitation. There is no growth without change, no change without loss and no loss without pain. If you are not hurting, you are not leading. Your vision for the future has to be big enough to propel you to face the heartaches and struggles you will find along the way. I can tell you my friends, you will only grow to the threshold of your pain.

I consult with leaders and I understand your hopes and hurts because I’ve been there and I’m still there everyday. When I begun consulting with leaders, I asked God for two gifts: detached concern and favour. I get calls from people and they don’t call me because they want to hear interesting stories or pass time because they are bored. They call because they are in pain and they want some answers. I tell them that the remedy will cause more pain before they can sense relief. To get stronger, they have to go deeper. Why? Because like a patient in surgery, you have to be willing to feel worse before you can feel better.

I’ve known leaders whose potential hit a ceiling and stopped when they refused to break through their pain threshold. Some completely bailed out, but most settled for something less – often far less – than the grand design God had for them. Their pain threshold became their ceiling. My hope for you is that you’ll acquire a heart, perspective and skills to continually raise your pain threshold. All in all, I hope you will find courage to do three things:

1. See pain as your greatest teacher – Don’t avoid it. Don’t minimize it. And don’t numb yourself to it. Pain never just goes away. When it is not resolved, it sinks deep into our minds, creates anxiety in our hearts, causes resentment and depression and creates tension in our relationships. Face the pain sooner and you will learn important lessons about God, yourself and how to help others grow as they encounter difficulties. Pay now or pay later. If you pay later, the results may be devastating. The choice is yours!
2. Let your vision drive you – Keep the vision fresh and strong. Don’t let your mind be consumed by your immediate pain and obvious limitations. If you interpret your pain as bigger, more important, more threatening, more comprehensive – than your vision, you will define your vision down to the threshold of your pain. Focus on the bigger picture and let your anticipated legacy give you the courage you need to face each day’s struggles. Your vision will continually renew your hope, restore your courage and refresh your perspective. It will enable you to pay the price and face the pain and take the next step forward.
3. Have a rigorous personal development plan – If you have a plan to grow spiritually, relationally and professionally, you will incorporate difficulties into the learning process. Don’t coast. Read the best authors, spend time with courageous leaders and craft a plan to sharpen your skills. At many points, you will bump up against various obstacles – internally and externally, real and perceived. As you face each of them with courage, you’ll raise your pain threshold and you’ll become a better leader. In the process, you will see pain as your friend.

My friends, in conclusion, without a fresh perspective on pain, a compelling vision and a clear plan, every heartache has the potential to stop you in your tracks. A driving sense of destiny opens your eyes to the lessons you can learn from betrayal, crisis and failure.

Share your thoughts with us and if you need help on your journey of true leadership, reach out to us. We are here to help.