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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Handling Pain Is the Difference Maker

If you have heard me speak at least one time, you have heard me say "growth equals pain."

What I mean by that is I've discovered that the major difference between high-level performers and someone who has reached a plateau in their life and career is pain tolerance. It's not experience, money, or connections. It's not bravado or humility or even a collaborative skill. The simple truth is you will only grow to the threshold of your pain. The more pain you can handle, the higher you can go. This is why growth equals pain and change. Every time you grow, something in your life is changing. Change equals loss. You lose something in order to move forward - comfort, people, the status quo. Loss equals pain. We don't like to let go of things. It does not come naturally to us as human beings.

We each have a pain capacity we have developed over time. If you increase your capacity, you can also grow more. They are directly proportional. If you are the primary leader in your organization, your pain threshold will either elevate you, stagnate you, or drag you down. It will do the same for your organization. If you want to predict how far a business will go, simply take a look at the pain threshold of the person at the top.

No leadership role comes without pain. We don't like pain and it messes with our psyche. We always have the choice to embrace, understand and push through the pain. That is the true mark of leadership acumen. The higher you go, the greater the pain will be. That is why you will only grow to the threshold of your pain.

So, how much do you really want to grow?

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