The words in the title of this post come from a tweet last night from my friend Dan Rockwell, @LeadershipFreak.

I retweeted them because they seared into my thoughts. I retweeted them because I have seen them demonstrated in my own life, countless times.

Here’s an example:

My kids have attended a local charter school for the past couple of years. It’s a nice school. The teachers are friendly and helpful, the girls are happy, so I’m happy.

As a result, I’ve never gotten involved beyond volunteering occasionally (when it’s convenient for me.)

The Parent/Teacher Team meets in the evenings, around dinner time. Not convenient for me, so I’ve never attended.

The Board meets in the afternoon, during the time when I’m preparing dinner and at home alone with my kids, so I’ve never attended.

I’ve lived with the assumption that everything is going fine without my contribution.

I’m not ready to get involved in leading at my kids’ school. 

Until it starts hurting. A personnel decision at the school reveals that all is not as perfect as it seems.

My daughter is sad to find out that her teacher will not be returning in the fall.

The pain drives me get more information, to get involved, to overcome my resistance and show up, even though it’s inconvenient.

I’m ready now, because it hurts enough. 

I live out these words in other areas of my life as well.

I’ve written about my decision to give up Coke and pay more attention to my diet, in hopes of lowering my too-high cholesterol. In those early weeks after I went to the doctor, my resolve stayed strong,because the doctor’s admonitions to be careful of my health resonated in my mind.

A few months later, it doesn’t seem so critical, and I’ve slipped back into eating what’s easy and what tastes good, because it doesn’t hurt enough anymore.

These words work in business, too.

I would far rather win customers with the promise of what’s pleasing and positive, but I know that  some people (many people?) will be motivated to buy a product or contract a service because of pain. Because it hurts enough. Until then, they’ll do what they’ve been doing. Even if it isn’t working all that well for them.

We all limp along until the pain gets bad enough, and then we finally take action.

I’m not ready means it doesn’t hurt enough.

Tell me something! What do you resist because it doesn’t hurt enough? How has pain driven you to action?