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Leadership Lessons – Forgetting the Pain

Last week I wrote about walking a half-marathon in the Grand Caymans to raise money to fight cancer. I got a blood blister on the bottom of my foot the size of Rhode Island.

Monday and Tuesday I was walking around like Fred Sanford of the old TV show Sanford and Son and complaining about the blister. It seemed like getting from my car in the parking lot to my office took 15 minutes – even though it was only 60 feet. I had shin splints along with a few more blisters.

By Thursday, though, besides the blister, I was feeling good. On Saturday morning our breakfast club – who all joined in the Caymans for the marathon – got together again for a walk/run and breakfast. We talked about planning our next for run/walk in 2017.

Think about that. Seemingly crippled one day and forgetting what it was like just one week later.

It reminded me of a quality of true leaders – the ability to forget the pain. For example:

  • You hire someone you think could your best technician ever. Three months later he quits. The pain is real for a week or Then, you forget about it and already have interviewed a tech who seems much better than the person who left.
  • You have a long-term employee go in competition against you and steals some of your clients. You are intensely angry. A week later you hire someone you know is twice as good as this technician every dreamed of be The pain subsides and you plan for the future.

That’s what happens with leaders. They’ve learned to move on. They understand that life is a series of changes. Some good, some bad. Some amazing, some disappointing. As time goes on, true leaders understand they make their own luck, and they are responsible for their own success and their own happiness. They understand that pain is part of it. But they never focus on it because they are too busy planning the future.

Whenever one associates with true leaders, they learn what makes leaders the way they are. Every great leader has an incredible story – usually full of challenging times. When one hears those stories they often wonder how that person got through it. Years ago I learned, “the fire that forges steel is the same fire that melts plastic – it is all about what you made of.” Pollyannaish? Maybe. Did it help me in many situations? Absolutely.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “In five years you’ll be the same person you are today except for two things – the people you associate with and the books you read.”

Do yourself a favor – commit to reading six leadership books in 2017 – just one every two months. In addition, look for leaders you can spend more time with. You’ll be amazed what you learn. It will also be the best Christmas gift you give anyone this year … and it will be to yourself!

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