Growing pains are often experienced by children and teenagers, supposedly when they are growing fast. According to the Mayo Clinic website…
Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night. In many instances, growing pains will wake a child from sleep. The term “growing pains” may be a misnomer because there’s no evidence that growth hurts.
While there may be “no evidence that growth hurts” in the physical development of children, what about in the personal development of people?
Does pain help and hurt?
Pain enlarges our desire to learn and change…to embrace growth opportunities.
Recently, one of my executive coaching clients was telling me his story; it helps me understand what brings us to the coaching engagement.
He sold his company and is in a major transition after a successful career of 30 years. We are listening to the story for truth. Truth liberates us from what holds us captive allowing us to live at the next level. It was revealing when he said,
“I didn’t hurt enough, so I didn’t make the changes 5-6 years ago.”
This is not an indictment or judgment. It is a fact: personal growth is often hindered due to our high tolerance for pain. No, I’m not talking about physical pain.
If you are on a hike, how long would you tolerate a small pebble in your boot?
If you are hurt by someone, how long would you tolerate the anger, bitterness, resentment, and negative health impact associated with holding a grudge?
What’s the difference?
The pain is present and a solution is available.
Unfortunately, most of us will stop as soon as we feel the pain of the pebble. Then, this matter of forgiveness…; how long do you tolerate that pain before tapping into the solution?
What’s your position?
Yes, there are other contributing factors to our resistance. As people we seem to fit into one of three positions regarding a behavior change:
- We know something is holding us back, we’re just too busy to deal with it
- We know something is getting in our way, but don’t know what to do
- We don’t know are limiting behavior, everyone else does, it’s a blind spot
People committed to personal growth and success notice unproductive behavior and initiate change which improves their performance. It’s a powerful response. Influence and credibility increase as others observe real, sustained changes in behavior.
Pain tolerance exposed…it’s painful
As an executive coach I build trust, ask questions, and provide objectivity to support the growth effort. This can be uncomfortable, if not down-right painful. The desired outcome, improved performance and relationships with a positive impact on life and business, that’s awesome.
The pebble is out of the boot!
Opposition to change (personal growth) stands steady until our pain pushes us to break through the wall of resistance.
When do we you tap into our ability to learn and change? When there is enough pain to push us through the resistance. What is enough pain?
How high is your pain tolerance?
If your pain tolerance is high it will take more pain to jolt you into action. In other words, a high pain tolerance hinders our ability and willingness to learn and grow as people.
No pain, no change. No change, no gain.
Try telling a child or teenager, in the middle of the night that there’s no evidence that growth hurts…that their “growing pain” is a not an accurate description of what they are experiencing.
Try telling my coaching client that the pace of business success isn’t causing him pain today.
Pain, as emotional or mental distress, is a gift designed to help us stop, take stock, and engage the process of growth.
When the pain invites us to listen to the story and we search for truth; we then have a choice:
- Manage the pain, this often leads to greater ramifications, unintended consequences
- Embrace the pain which usually removes our resistance to change, leads to improved performance and enjoyment of life
Consider this: on a scale of 1 to 6 (1 = very low; 6 = extremely high) what is your pain tolerance?
If it is high, how is this impacting your willingness to change? What is that costing you?
Good news: it’s never too late to engage the process of growth.
Where are you feeling pain today?
What needs to change?
What support do you need to make that change?
What if you forward this to a friend?
What if you post a comment and engage in the conversation?
I’d love to hear your voice.