The real truth about pain

The truth about painMost people know the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and right now I feel like some sadomasochist when I write and tell people that I like pain! My reasoning is because I know that it is actually my friend and ally. It tells me when I’m injured, it makes me hungry (for success) and it forces me to take action. Pain is not pleasant, it can keep you up at night and make you angry but believe me when I say that in the end going through pain is beneficial for you.

Often when you try something new, you’re not very good at it. If you’re a high achiever, this means experiencing the pain of discomfort and sometimes failure. What you’re essentially doing is stepping outside of your comfort zone. But, rest assured, everything that happens to you, as a result of doing this, serves you in some way. Pain can be both feedback that something is amiss and it can also signal great growth.  Sure it hurts and it’s not welcome, but it’s unavoidable for the successful entrepreneur.

If you ask a champion in any field of endeavour about pain, you will find that rather than avoid it, they embrace it and accept it as part of the game they must play to win. Champions realize that pain equals growth and the benefits far outweigh the discomfort. Look at what these three champions said:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I realized that pain could become pleasure. I was benefiting from pain. I was breaking through the pain barrier and shocking the muscles. I looked at this pain as a positive thing, because I grew.”
  • Cyclist Lance Armstrong: “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it lasts forever.”
  • Muhammad Ali: “I hated every minute of the training. But I said to myself, bear the pain now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Achievement expert Brian Tracy says, “90% to 95% of people will withdraw to the comfort zone when what they try doesn’t work. Only that small percentage, 5% or 10 % will continually raise the bar on themselves; they will continually push themselves out into the zone of discomfort, and these are always the highest performers in every field.”

Studies at the University of Chicago by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, back this up too.  The findings concluded that the highest achievers are those who consistently push themselves out of their comfort zones. Instead of withdrawing to their comfort zones when they don’t get immediate positive results, they force themselves to stay at this awkward, uncomfortable and painful (but higher and better) level of performance until the pain finally subsides and they become comfortable at the new higher level.

So, what I’d like you to do is to take a moment and think about the sum total of everything you’re currently doing to improve your business. Think of every detail you can – the sales, the marketing, the admin, the technology, the operations, the management, the HR and recruitment, the level of effort, the sweat, the time that you put in – everything.

Now grab a pen and draw a small circle in the centre of a sheet of paper. Imagine that all the work you’re doing is contained in that small circle. Inside your circle, write the words, “where I am now – my comfort zone.” Next, take your pen and draw another circle outside the first one, and write, “the pain and I suck zone.” Finally, draw another circle outside of this and write the words, “where the magic happens and the kick ass zone.” This outer larger circle represents personal growth, increased performance and positive change.

If you’re not seeing the changes you want – a frustration that so many of us experience at some time in our life – it means you’re staying completely inside your comfort zone most of the time. In order to make a positive change in your life, you have to expand your boundaries by moving outside of this circle.

So, go do it! And, when you’ve done it, remember, this is too: expanding your comfort zones is a life habit. Each time you grow and step outside of it the pain subsides, the benefits are realized, and the pain is forgotten. You’ll have reached a higher level of achievement that will eventually become your new comfort zone! When this happens it’s time to press on again.

Tom Hopkins, a sales trainer and one of the world’s top motivational speakers, taught me this lesson recently when I read his book, ‘How to master the art of selling’, “The pain of every change is forgotten when the benefits of that change are realized.”

[box]““The pain of every change is forgotten when the benefits of that change are realized.” TWEET THIS[/box]

In the comments below, tell me how you deal with the pain that results from expanding your comfort zone and what methods or techniques you use to combat it. Let me know what action you’ll take as a result of watching and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always for watching, reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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