Have you noticed pain is a four-letter word? We all experience it. A fella named Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is few of days, and full of trouble.” As you mix and breathe with others, reflect on these thoughts.
Pain is a must to work well with people.
Many of my seminars are on the theme of dealing with difficult people. Some attend those seminars irresponsibly. I’ll call them Mr. and Ms. Avoider.
Ms. Avoider attends because she has a certain person at work in mind. She already has a few options as to how to deal with this problem person. Her thinking is, “I could do choice A. If I do that, then I’ll have to deal with pains A, B, and C. I could do choice B. But if I do that, I’ll have to deal with pains X, Y, and Z. Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll go to this seminar to see if there’s a choice C, thus allowing me to avoid all those pains.” There’s something I say to Ms. Avoider.
“If you’re here for that magical ace card to get favorable results without experiencing hurt, you’re going to be disappointed.”
It’s reasonable to try to avoid pain. There are times when avoiding pain is irresponsible, and we take wasteful steps along the way.
I do have some good news concerning pain.
We get to choose our pain (in most cases)
I understand there are some unavoidable pains in our lives. The good news is most of the pains are within our power to choose! The key to facing these pains is accepting responsibility for them. Let’s get back to Ms. Avoider.
Perhaps the above choice A results in the best interest for her organization. It may bring about those anticipated pains. She may even lose some sleep over them. Careful thought reveals those pains will not be long-term, the favorable outcomes have greater impact for her company, and fewer people experience immediate impact. With this in mind, I encourage Ms. Avoider to look in the mirror and say three words.
“I am responsible.”
There’s something about assuming full ownership for our decisions that helps pain become more bearable. Doing so better enables us to influence others.
Pain is a must for leadership.
Take a moment to recall those persons who directly influenced your life. Chances are you consider them leaders. Perhaps some don’t even hold management positions, yet you don’t question their ability to lead. I’m willing to bet those people made many decisions they did not want to make, yet they accepted full responsibility for them. They continue carrying out such decisions and will do so for life.
Leadership is a quality that never retires. Much of it includes making choices with hurtful results. Time might reveal other choices might have been wiser. The leader will learn from those revelations rather than sulk. How about you? Are you willing to say “yes” to pain?