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?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
Great post, Becky.
Yes, we all limp along, and when the pain gets to be enough we move; and not one second before. Even though there are many areas of my life I can see growing and changing by leaps and bounds, there are one or two where the pain is just below that threshold.
Much like everything else, no matter how much we’d like to tell ourselves otherwise, it is the fear that holds us back. To quote one of my fav books and movies, “Fear is the mindkiller…”
Thanks for the nudge, my friend
Hi Becky, thanks for this post. Love it! Simply because it resonates with me right now and with what I need to do. And mostly because its very true. Very good title.
Awesome post, yet again! You are right, we don’t move or do something most of the time until it hurts bad enough.
You just answered one of my questions threw your post….thanks!!!
It is amazing to me how we can sit on the sidelines of our own lives, often enduring far more pain than what your daughter (and therefore, you) is experiencing right now. The question is, how do we become more intentional in our decisions, and how then do we balance the many competing demands for our time? What you’ve been doing while not attending these school meetings has been important and valuable to you and your family as well. None of us can be involved in everything, and we cannot predict or know which things are ultimately most important. Sometimes we have to trust that others can handle a situation without us.
Thank you, D’Anne. I appreciate the reminder that I can’t do it all and that a choice to spend time with family is valuable. Last night, after I returned from the board meeting (after 3 hours), my youngest daughter really needed me. So I tossed aside any plans I’d had for productivity, and gave her my full attention instead. It reminded me of how hard it is on my little ones when they’re used to having me around and then I make something else my priority.