10 More Reasons to Embrace Pain: Resilience Reframe Challenge # 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Resilience Reframe

More Pain

I thought there was nothing more to say after the last blog post on the theme of embracing pain. That will teach me for feeling so smug! Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, over the Christmas break my body, or perhaps more accurately my hip, decided to up the pain level a few more notches. I was seriously in danger of heading into self-pity when I saw this astonishing and humbling post from Jon Morrow 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face. Clearly I’m not facing the kinds of challenges he is, but nonetheless I wanted to have another look at how this new development of mine could present opportunities and not just problems.

Why it Matters for Leadership

Of course this is about me, from a personal perspective, improving my situation, but I believe paying attention to one’s mindset is just as true for how we inspire and lead others. Let’s face it, in these unstable and polarised times, it is easy to be downbeat. The mindset we adopt is as important in a work setting. Indeed there is growing evidence that positivity boosts engagement at work: the research study Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing by psychologist Barbara Fredrickson and mathematician Marcial Losada shows that teams with a positive-to-negative ratio greater than 3:1 were significantly more productive than workgroups whose scores were lower than this.

Benefit Reframe

Here then are 10 more reasons for me to accept and embrace my pain, in no particular order:

  1. Sitting down more has generated more time for reflection, especially about what and who is important. This Christmas I have actually picked up the phone is response to messages in a card rather than put it on the January ‘to do list’.img_5893
  2. Not being one to happily sit idly for very long, and missing my walks, I needed to find something practical to do. As a result I have developed an elementary skill in origami. Creating a small paper heart boxes to give to friends has been very satisfying.
  3. Also on the ‘keeping busy’ front, I have been able to read more. I have just finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. It is quite harrowing in places, but I couldn’t put it down, and at least at this month’s book group meeting I will be in the unusual position of being able to properly contribute to the discussion!51P6Pvejl4L._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_
  4. I think I was given Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman  by Elizabeth Buchan as a joke but it too was very funny and absorbing. Only this morning I came across this beautiful piece of writing in the story, eerily on-message for what I am sharing today: ‘Mazarine had been correct when she argued that we must experience pain, otherwise delight will never have its proper savour, nor pleasure its sweetness, nor love its bittersweet ache ...’
  5. Relying on other people is giving me a great deal of practice with patience. With driving out of the question I find myself frequently resorting to cadging lifts from family members. These requests are always granted willingly, but not always when I’d like it. I have no option but to wait and I am getting better at doing so graciously.
  6. Walking with crutches means changing the way you carry things – I have had to reduce what is in my handbag and wear it cross-body to prevent it slipping off my shoulder. Now I can find what I need quickly, probably saving myself quite a lot of time.41ORWhTpGVL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_
  7. I also find myself having more conversations with friends and acquaintances when out and about. I think it is a bit like having a dog – the crutches are a point of interest and people genuinely want to know what the matter is. I have learned to schedule in more time and resolved to continue to do so, even once I am properly back on my feet. The kindness of strangers becomes more apparent too. Several people have gone out of their way to reassure me and tell me about how members of their family have had positive experiences with hip replacement. It is heart-warming to feel cared for in this way.
  8. Like most people when affected by something in a big way, I trawled the internet for information. On a site about osteo-arthritis I learned that onions contain a flavanoid that inhibits inflammation. As well as the obvious dietary implications, I can also use this in my soon-to-be launched Powerful Onion™ coaching programme.file-04-01-2017-11-57-18
  9. Because the pain has become more acute, and knowing that without a solution I would need to make radical changes to my life, I believe I am taking the impending operation more seriously. As a result I am carrying out daily exercises which I hope will hasten my recovery post-operation.
  10. Crutches can have surprising uses. Who would have thought I could save the day by holding up the stubborn  branches of a Christmas tree to enable my son to fix it into the container properly?


I’d like to leave you with this very poignant quote by Glennon Doyle Melton “Pain is a traveling professor. Pain knocks & the wise say: Come in—sit with me. Teach me what I must know.”

Questions to take you further

  • Who could you create more time for, even if doing so does not count as urgent?
  • What small changes to your routine could you change to make your life easier?
  • What problems are you currently facing that might benefit from a Resilience Reframe?


Find out more about the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams on influence and authenticity.

© Move Ahead Global 2017

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