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The Pleasure of Pain

December 5, 2013

I admit it. I did a little too much. Okay, a lot too much. It snowed here in Utah this week. About eight to 12 inches depending on your location. It didn’t seem like that long of a sidewalk. Of course, each shovelful of snow was really heavy, but hey, I used my knees!

Didn’t help. After getting home I sat down with my iPad in the living room.

Honey can you come into the dining room for a minute?

Sure. . .Augh!

My left hamstring stiffened up. At least I think it was the hamstring. All I knew is that it hurt. . .a lot. My right leg was fine. I looked like Quasimodo limping across the living room dragging my left foot behind me, moaning in pain. Fortunately some hot rice packs and it was eventually good as knew. It got me thinking about a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while.

Pain: both the physical and the professional kind.

Who likes pain? Who gets up in the morning and says, “I want to hurt today?” Anyone? You, in the back is that a hand? No? Just stretching?

We don’t like pain. We spend our lives trying to avoid pain. Many of our labor saving devices are designed to spare us pain. Is this a healthy attitude?

I don’t think it is. Think of a runner. I don’t run now, but there was a time when I ran often. It’s painful. It hurts – during, and after. So, why run? Why sign up for that pain?

I think it’s because we understand the pain is just a symptom of the process of getting stronger. So, may people voluntarily sign up for daily pain. Same goes for anyone who goes to the gym.

But, that’s for physical activities. How well does it translate to business? I think it translates really well. If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough. Working for a large non-profit, I got shuffled into a position that I would have never applied for. I was the project manager for our monthly datacenter maintenance. It was very painful for many months, as I tried to learn the technologies. And that pain was a sign of growth. We need the pain. We should learn to embrace it. If you can embrace your pain at work like a runner embraces the pain of running 26 miles, you will own the pain, not the other way around.

So the next time something is hard. The next time you think, “I’m not sure I can take anymore of this pain”, remind yourself of the runners or other athletes, and realize that the pain is an indication of a growth opportunity. Learn to embrace the pain and you will find yourself growing in new and exciting ways.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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