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How to leverage your pain as a servant

How to leverage your pain as a servant

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How to leverage your pain as a servant

Let’s play a game. What if you viewed pain as fuel, hurt as something to look forward to and disappointments as your servant. How would that change your outlook on life? On your relationships? On your business?

Indulge me until you finish reading this article. I want you to question why you believe pain is something to be avoided, heartache is bad and struggle is something negative. Ask yourself why you believe that. I think it’s because along this journey of life you have picked up messages of mass thinking. Don’t worry, I have too. But fortunately, we can change our thinking.

Did you ever hear your mom say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Obviously, it doesn’t, but did the idea of scarcity get implanted in your mind? If you heard that phrase often enough, you probably picked up that mass thinking as fact and never stopped to question it. Or if you heard your dad say, “People can’t be trusted,” you probably inadvertently picked up that mass thinking and have never bothered to question it either.

What makes us suffer as humans are our own thoughts — the mass thinking we’ve adopted. As Tony Robbins says, most people don’t ever master their thoughts, and that’s why they are in anguish.

“Thoughts are simply programmed,” said best-selling author Jack Canfield. “We are conditioned by our parents, school, church, culture and so on.” Because of this conditioning, we rarely revisit thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve us.

So how do you, in a sense, re-program your long-held, deeply seated beliefs?

According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, you simply need to question the thoughts you currently believe. For example, let me ask you two questions. Do you believe it is possible for a person to become a millionaire? Now, do you believe it is possible for you to become a millionaire?

I’m pretty sure the majority of you said yes to the first question but no to the second question. Why? Why do you believe that?

If you simply change that belief — that it is possible — you will unlock your subconscious to look for ways to become a millionaire. But if you continue to believe that it is not possible for you, you will never unlock your potential power to find a way to make it happen.

So how can you leverage your negative, harmful, painful thoughts to serve you instead of hinder you? Here are five ways you can do so according to leadership expert Robin Sharma. He calls it his five “ings.”

  1. Journaling. Sharma said on his YouTube channel that journaling saved his life. He believes the antidote to pain is gratitude, so he writes what he is grateful for. In addition, he says that you can never escape your pain; you can only feel yourself through the pain. Journaling allows you to process the pain and use it as a servant, not as a cruel task master.
  2. Talking. Sharma says that talking releases the energy of the pain. If you don’t talk about how you feel, that energy stays inside you, and you end up making yourself sick. When we repress, we only hurt ourselves.
  3. Communing. Nature is something you must commune with. You have to go outside and walk, breathe and be at one with nature. Being in nature gives you much needed perspective on whatever ails you.
  4. Moving. You have to move in order to improve. When you exercise, you will shift your psychology, your neurobiology and your metabolic rate by releasing endorphins in your brain which is a natural motivational drug.
  5. Resting. We can only get better if we recharge. Studies show that it is only during sleep that the body and brain have a chance to do their repair work — to undo the subtle damage suffered by millions of cells over the course of each day. So get some rest.

Instead of viewing pain as something to avoid, try to look at it as something to embrace. Pain, disappointments, hurt and heartaches are just the natural parts of the process of you becoming a stronger version of yourself.

And remember, whatever you are going through now is only temporary. It may last a while, but eventually this too shall pass, and you will be a stronger person because of it.

How to leverage your pain as a servant

What if you viewed:

  • Pain as fuel
  • Hurt as something to look forward to
  • Disappointments as your servant

How would that change your outlook on life? On your relationships? On your business? In your government career?

Do me a favor and indulge me until you finish reading this article. I want you to question why you believe that:

  • Pain is something to be avoided
  • Heartache is bad
  • Struggle is something negative

No, I want you to really ask yourself why you believe that.

It’s because along this journey of life you have picked up messages of mass thinking. Don’t worry, I have too. But fortunately we can decide to believe something different.

Did you ever hear your mom say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” If you heard that often enough, you probably picked up that mass thinking as fact and never stopped to question it.

Or what if you heard your dad always say, “People can’t be trusted.” If so, you probably inadvertently picked up that mass thinking concept as a child and have never bothered to question it either.

What makes us suffer as humans are our own thoughts, or the mass thinking we’ve adopted. According to master motivator Tony Robbins, most people don’t ever master their thoughts and that’s why they are in anguish.

Best-selling author Jack Canfield, says, “Thoughts are simply programmed. We are conditioned by our parents, school, church, culture and so on.” Because of this conditioning, we rarely revisit thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve us.

So how do you in a sense re-program your long-held, deeply seated beliefs?

According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, you simply need to question the thoughts you currently believe. For example, let me ask you two questions.

  1. Do you believe it is possible for a person to become a millionaire?
  2. Now, do you believe it is possible for youto become a millionaire?

I’m pretty sure the majority of you said yes to the first question, but no to the second question. Why?

Why do you believe that?

If you simply change that belief, that it is possible, you will unlock your subconscious to look for ways to become a millionaire. But if you continue to believe that it is not possible for you, you will never unlock your potential power to find a way to make it happen.

So how can you leverage your negative, harmful, painful thoughts to serve you instead of hinder you?

Here are five ways you can do so according to leadership expert Robin Sharma. He calls it his five ‘ings’.

Journaling

Sharma said on his YouTube channel that journaling saved his life. He believes the antidote to pain is gratitude so he writes what he is grateful. In addition, he says that you can never escape your pain, you can only feel yourself through the pain. Journaling allows you to process the pain and use it as a servant and not as a cruel task master.

Talking

Sharma says that talking releases the energy of the pain. If you don’t talk about how you feel, that energy stays inside you and you end up making yourself sick. When we repress, we only hurt ourselves.

Communing

Nature is something you must commune with. You have to go outside and walk, breathe and be at one with nature. Being in nature gives you much needed perspective on whatever ails you.

Moving

You have to move in order to improve. When you exercise you will shift your psychology, your neurobiology and your metabolic rate by releasing endorphins in your brain which is a natural motivational drug.

Resting

We can only get better if we recharge. Studies show that it is only during sleep that the body and brain have a chance to do their repair work-to undo the subtle damage suffered by millions of cells over the course of each day. So get some rest.

Instead of viewing pain as something to avoid, try to look at it as something to embrace.

Pain, disappointments, hurt and heartaches are just the natural parts of the process of you becoming a stronger version of yourself.

And remember, whatever you are going through now is only temporary. It may last a while, but eventually this too shall pass and you will be a stronger person because of it.

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About Me

How to leverage your pain as a servant

Hey my name’s Alan nice to meet you!

Welcome to my site! I’m just a regular guy who’s working with this amazing universe to manifest a life of my wildest dreams. In this blog I hope to share knowledge I’ve learned along the way so you can also experience a life beyond your wildest dreams as well!

How to leverage your pain as a servant

The last thing I remember is flapping my arms backwards, seeing the snow whip past underneath me, skis waffling in the wind in front of me.

Then I hit. Hard.

My skis slapped down, the rest of my body slammed backward, head bouncing off the snow behind me as if I was doing a bridge in yoga. But this bridge happened with such force that it bowed my tibia and fibula, splintering the bones into hairline fractures and tearing the muscles clear off of the bone. And I hardly remember a thing (hi, concussion).

I was a downhill ski racer growing up, and this crash changed the trajectory of that career. I was gunning for the US Ski Team.

From this moment, until I hung up my race skis years later, I was forced to spend hours per day doing PT, training differently than my teammates, more carefully, more tender, more early mornings and endless Sunday nights. If I wanted to race again, to win again, I had to work harder and longer than everyone else. The hours paid off, I gained more podiums.

What my crash taught me was that to overcome hard things, you have to envision the outcome then architect your steps to get there. And, if you want big things, it takes exponentially more work than small things. But I would never have known this that early without this crash. And the rest of my dreams would have been a further reach without this lesson.

My pain, then, has become an asset as it is part of my story and of who I am, of why I’m here, and why I created this business—aka my brand story. And the pain of your past should be a key asset for your brand story too. Here’s why:

That means that pain without reflection is still pain. Ah-ha! Reflection gives our pain a reason to exist because it makes pain necessary to make progress in virtually anything. It also cracks you open to a new world of learning, of understanding the cause and effect of your internal and external motivations, and your internal reward system. These systems have a major impact on how you work, how you teach, and how you lead. Too, the struggle of overcoming this pain has the ability to connect you to others facing similar hurdles both physically, intellectually and emotionally—so it can be the source of building a community which is a key element of building a sustainable brand.

These are the fundamental building blocks of how you came to be, and this is what your team and your customers care about. They want to know what got you here. They want to know what you’ve overcome, and why you’ve created your product or service. They want to know why you’re driven to help them avoid that pain.

The key, then, is to not only share that pain, but share the reflection of that pain. That’s your job as an entrepreneur, a marketer, and a leader. Here are 3 tips on how to do that well:

Tip #1. Bleed first.

Make a list of the top 5-10 things that have happened to you in your life. Then write out the experience and the real, deep and concrete emotions that came with each step. When sharing your story, start with the most fascinating and emotionally evocative part. In other words, start with the bleeding—your pain, your challenge, your tightrope, your conflict—and open with a strong and compelling piece of your story.

Tip #2. Give context.

Now it’s time to give context of the bleeding from above. You can do this by answering the 4 basic questions of any good story: Who? What? When? And why? So, after you hook people, you open up the story to give people an understanding of what happened, who was involved, and why it matters.

Top #3. Close with a lesson.

Ok, you’ve hooked your audience, you’ve given them context, now you have to close with a bang. The best way to do that is to share your reflection of the pain, of the challenge, and what you’ve done with that information. What was the lesson you learned from it? What did you do to overcome it? What was the thing that helped you break through to a new normal?

That’s it! Don’t overcomplicate it, but remember to always add value to every story you tell because remember:

How to leverage your pain as a servant

The last thing I remember is flapping my arms backwards, seeing the snow whip past underneath me, skis waffling in the wind in front of me.

Then I hit. Hard.

My skis slapped down, the rest of my body slammed backward, head bouncing off the snow behind me as if I was doing a bridge in yoga. But this bridge happened with such force that it bowed my tibia and fibula, splintering the bones into hairline fractures and tearing the muscles clear off of the bone. And I hardly remember a thing (hi, concussion).

I was a downhill ski racer growing up, and this crash changed the trajectory of that career. I was gunning for the US Ski Team.

From this moment, until I hung up my race skis years later, I was forced to spend hours per day doing PT, training differently than my teammates, more carefully, more tender, more early mornings and endless Sunday nights. If I wanted to race again, to win again, I had to work harder and longer than everyone else. The hours paid off, I gained more podiums.

What my crash taught me was that to overcome hard things, you have to envision the outcome then architect your steps to get there. And, if you want big things, it takes exponentially more work than small things. But I would never have known this that early without this crash. And the rest of my dreams would have been a further reach without this lesson.

My pain, then, has become an asset as it is part of my story and of who I am, of why I’m here, and why I created this business—aka my brand story. And the pain of your past should be a key asset for your brand story too. Here’s why:

That means that pain without reflection is still pain. Ah-ha! Reflection gives our pain a reason to exist because it makes pain necessary to make progress in virtually anything. It also cracks you open to a new world of learning, of understanding the cause and effect of your internal and external motivations, and your internal reward system. These systems have a major impact on how you work, how you teach, and how you lead. Too, the struggle of overcoming this pain has the ability to connect you to others facing similar hurdles both physically, intellectually and emotionally—so it can be the source of building a community which is a key element of building a sustainable brand.

These are the fundamental building blocks of how you came to be, and this is what your team and your customers care about. They want to know what got you here. They want to know what you’ve overcome, and why you’ve created your product or service. They want to know why you’re driven to help them avoid that pain.

The key, then, is to not only share that pain, but share the reflection of that pain. That’s your job as an entrepreneur, a marketer, and a leader. Here are 3 tips on how to do that well:

Tip #1. Bleed first.

Make a list of the top 5-10 things that have happened to you in your life. Then write out the experience and the real, deep and concrete emotions that came with each step. When sharing your story, start with the most fascinating and emotionally evocative part. In other words, start with the bleeding—your pain, your challenge, your tightrope, your conflict—and open with a strong and compelling piece of your story.

Tip #2. Give context.

Now it’s time to give context of the bleeding from above. You can do this by answering the 4 basic questions of any good story: Who? What? When? And why? So, after you hook people, you open up the story to give people an understanding of what happened, who was involved, and why it matters.

Top #3. Close with a lesson.

Ok, you’ve hooked your audience, you’ve given them context, now you have to close with a bang. The best way to do that is to share your reflection of the pain, of the challenge, and what you’ve done with that information. What was the lesson you learned from it? What did you do to overcome it? What was the thing that helped you break through to a new normal?

That’s it! Don’t overcomplicate it, but remember to always add value to every story you tell because remember:

How to leverage your pain as a servant

Fiction writer Mark Twain offered the tongue-in-cheek observation that if you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, you ought to take time to stop and reflect. Employee reflection is a particular case where their thoughts on leadership, both their direct superiors and your own, can be useful in figuring out how to improve the workplace.

However, for employee reflection to have the impact that a company needs, the business must encourage it, and put things in place to take advantage of its insights. To help organizations understand how to promote employee reflection and use the resulting ideas, 13 experts from Forbes Communications Council examine the methodologies they incorporated into their own businesses.

Members share their best tips for encouraging employees to reflect on their workplace and leadership experience.

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Create ‘Safe Spaces’ For Reflection

Creating “safe spaces” for employees to reflect on and get curious about various aspects of their position, the team, the results of a project and/or the company as a whole is an exercise that often provides results exponentially better than we can create on our own. Creativity is a crucial step to innovation, which is arguably necessary for long-term business success. – MaryPat Kavanagh, Terahertz Device Corporation

2. Allow And Respond To Anonymous Feedback

Not everyone is confident expressing ideas, especially if they disagree with a manager or team members. That’s why it’s critical to offer a means for employees to submit anonymous feedback. Management then needs to acknowledge the commentary they receive and show how they are responding to suggestions. This will build employee confidence and trust, as well as create a positive work culture. – Holly Chessman, GlowTouch Technologies

3. Give Employees Flexibility And Freedom

Offering a flexible work schedule enables outside pursuits — art, sports, family, volunteering, travel — which can increase creativity. Many of my best ideas come while jogging, which I couldn’t do if I had to sit in an office all day. Leaders can also provide time for employees to do project recap reports, sharing not just successes but celebrating learning and opportunities for improvement. – Amanda Ponzar, Community Health Charities

4. Have Open Lines Of Communication

It’s important to encourage employees to have open lines of communication and to make it a norm to give and receive feedback in the workplace. It’s even more important for leaders to listen closely to feedback and do their best to implement necessary changes. By doing so, employees will feel valued, feel heard and ultimately be more content at work. – G’Nai Blakemore, Mattress Firm

5. Lead By Example

Show your employees how. Reflect on your performance, the company/team performance from your perspective. Show them how you do it in a genuine and honest way and explain how important this process is. Then give them the chance to do the same in several forms and encourage more answers or details every time. Eventually they will give their honest feedback. – Kobi Ben-Meir, Yalber

6. Incorporate Reflection Into Staff Reviews

You should be having bi-annual staff reviews, if not quarterly reviews. This is an excellent time to incorporate reflection. Use the same reflection questions each time so that the employee can track their progress. Mirror company values in the questions to align mission and values from the top down. Send the questions to the employee ahead of time so they have time to process before the review. – Holly Tate, Vanderbloemen Search Group

7. Organize Structured Planning Workshop Sessions

As a part of the annual planning and review process, we host a highly structured workshop session with key team members to help elicit reflection on the previous year to inform the next. We leverage that everyone has different backgrounds, roles and perspectives. For us, this has been a great tool in helping us be both inspired and realistic about what we can achieve as a company and as individuals. – Jennifer Moore, Silvercrest

8. Conduct Anonymous Surveys

On a regular basis, leaders should take a temperature check on the culture and attitude of employees. Send an anonymous survey and encourage open and honest feedback. You’ll find the best ways to foster a more positive culture and iterate on your products and services will be to look inward. Plus, negative feedback will provide opportunities to become even better tomorrow than you are today. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio

9. Build A Team Of Critical Thinkers

Leaders are responsible for creating the right kind of environment for their teams to thrive in. Encouraging and leveraging your team’s voice are the only ways you can achieve that. When teams feel listened to, you create trust. Trust spurs creativity, creativity sparks innovation, and innovation leads you to extraordinary results. Build a team of critical thinkers — it will pay off. – Camille Weleschuk, ATB Financial

10. Think Twice Before You Cancel A Meeting

Good leaders schedule one-on-one time with their people but not many prioritize it. Regular chats with employees often get pushed aside when things get busy. That’s a big mistake. Employees need opportunities to share what’s on their minds and many depend on these meetings to initiate important conversations. Plus, employees feel less valued when a leader continually cancels time with them. – Kate Barton, Clearview Advisory

11. Make Professional Growth As Important As Results

Even the best managers, with their employees’ best interests in mind, get busy. And what happens when we get busy? Deep reflection on game-changing business ideas and on team optimization and individual growth goes by the wayside. It becomes a luxury. Interrupting this cycle must be intentional. Have employee path/skill development conversations monthly, and team/culture check-ins quarterly. – Omar Garriott, salesforce.com

12. Practice Servant Leadership

Borrowing the concept of “lead by serving,” the leader is a servant first by putting team members as the highest priority, with a focus on their growth and well-being. This has been effective in building team trust, empowering team members to give their best, and inspiring them to step up in a moment of crisis. – Anna Luo, Jivox

13. Use A SWOT Analysis

Utilizing a SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — is a good way to get interesting feedback. Particularly if you make it an anonymous form, then employees are freer to speak their minds. SWOT analysis works so well because employees do not immediately start with complaining about what is wrong with the company, it challenges them to look at the company from all sides. – Sarah Lero, Peerless Products Inc

How to leverage your pain as a servant

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for senior-level communications and public relations executives. Find out if you qualify at Fo…

How to leverage your pain as a servant

While standing in the check-out line in Publix, I listened as a lady in line ahead of me was explaining some customer service techniques and skills a young female checker needed to improve her expertise: “greet people, smile, and be positive, she said.”

The young checker never responded, either verbally or non-verbally.

I whispered to the lady, “They don’t teach them customer service skills.” She said, “I know, that is why I do it.”

Service is a Commitment

Joan Maddox, VP of Client Services for School Dude says, “Client service must be reliable, responsive, reassuring, and empathetic.” She stresses that client service is a commitment, and that it must not be an option, but a requirement of your job.

In her Client Service presentations, Maddox quotes Dr. Leonard L. Berry, who is a Distinguished Professor of Marketing and former Texas A&M Professor.

Dr. Berry says this about customer expectations: “While the young lady did at least greet me verbally as I paid for my goods, she remained expressionless and failed to even express Publix gratitude for shopping at her store.”

“Customer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear; look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable. Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise.”

Servanthood Attitude

Customer service, customer relations, client services, regardless of how you brand it, it can either positively or negatively affect revenue, organizational vision, and customer attitude about the organization.

In fact, if you are a customer service representative , then “you are” the company or organization you represent. As such, there is a “servanthood” attitude that must be portrayed in every exchange you have with a client.

J C Penny, founder of JC Penny Company, is famous for saying, “The customer is always right.”

His idea was that customer service is priority one at JC Penny. CEO Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, Coleen Barrett, always said about her company, “We are a Customer Service Company, we just happen to fly airplanes.”

Leadership Skills

Customer service is a leadership skill that must be trained, practiced, and perfected to ensure employees represent the company in the brightest pane possible.

Servanthood is a major aspect of customer service, which says that one is “serving” the needs of others. Using Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership ideals, “serving” in this context means “to make them better” than they were when the encounter began.

In other words, “healing” the customer’s stress and pain, while relieving them of their perceived burden, is a characteristic of quality customer service.

The following are from my experience of over 40 years of providing customer service:

Top 5 Customer Service Principles

1. Establish a Customer Service Vision

If the company vision and/or mission statement says you will focus on customer service, then establish a program that insures you will do what you say. Follow the practice of Southwest Airlines: “Hire people with a ‘servants’ heart.

Customer service representatives need to care about fostering and promoting the vision and/or mission of the company.

Establish standards for those you place in customer service positions: caring attitude, cheerful and happy demeanor, and outgoing personality. Good communication skills, being respectful and gracious.

I recommend a customer service motto that will not only tell the customers your attitude about providing superior service, but also to remind representatives of company expectations.

In my last position, our Custodial Services Motto was the following, “Customer Service is our Purpose, Quality Service is our Goal.”

We used the motto in our standards and at the end of all our communications. Everyone in the organization knew our standards and our goal of providing superior customer services.

2. Establish a Customer Service Training Program

Train new employees, and re-train periodically current customer service reps, on the visionary expectations. Servanthood is the “practice” of serving.

Teach the common behaviors of customer service representative: telephone etiquette, conflict resolution techniques and skills, develop an attitude to resolve the problem to make a positive impression on the customer, and impress upon employees to not take the customer’s anger and negativity personally.

Keep the quest alive to resolve the customers complaint.

Customer Service expert Glen Hamilton advises, “Create Happy Employees. Employee beliefs, attitudes and behaviors determine the quality of the customer service provided. Happy employees create happy customers.”

3. Establish Relations with Customers

Shawn E. Gilleylen, author of “Success with Etiquette: Books of Etiquette” explains the importance of etiquette toward customers – “make customers feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated.

Treat them with respect, empathy, and efficiency.” She also says, which I call most important, “Say “Thank you” and “Please” graciously.

4. Monitor and Evaluate their Performance

Leaders must proactively monitor and evaluate customer relations practices in action – inspect what you expect is a proven leadership principle.

Glen Hamilton maintains that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; the same is for leaders.

He suggests several ways to measure customer satisfaction, including surveys, telephone contacts, customer feedback forms, and observing employees to insure they are functioning within prescribed customer service standards.

5. Maintain Customer Service Pride

Recognize employees who demonstrate customer service excellence, who are recognized by customers for superior performance, and who promote company goals within Customer Service missions.

Advertise the recognition through company newsletters. Create a “Customer Service Plaque” and hang it in the main entrance area of the company for everyone to see.

Serving Others First

Customer service is “serving” others first. When customers walk out the main entrance of your company fully satisfied, everyone feels good about their accomplishments.

Maintaining company servanthood is vitally important to organizational success.

How Can Leaders Handle Customer Service?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

We all know change is inevitable. Yet in the midst of transformation, too many leaders abdicate, says Rose Fass, CEO of the consulting company fassforward . After all, it can be hard to let go of a cherished initiative, or a product line that’s been successful for years.

But you have to be strong enough to take charge, says Fass: “The best kind of change comes when you envision, initiate and control it. That type of change creates opportunities, transforms companies and ignites growth.” Otherwise, you’re facing with the damaging prospect of “change that happens in spite of you, rather than because of you.”

Fass, author of The Chocolate Conversation: Lead Bittersweet Change, Transform Your Business, says leaders should think of organizational change as a three-step process. First, you need to “define your change” – think expansively about the future and what change you’ll need to undertake. Next, you need to “sell your change” to your employees and other stakeholders. Often, this isn’t easy: “Expect it to be bittersweet, since you and everyone else are now exploring foreign company-wide territory,” she warns. Finally, it’s time to execute: “Genuine leaders get everyone else to buy in by diving headfirst into the cause and never asking anyone to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves.”

Fass offers a list of 10 “transformation topics” that she believes all businesses should discuss. If you have a handle on these questions, you’re well on your way to leading change, rather than letting it control you.

1) New Actions: Which ones do we need to make happen?

2) Core Assets: Do we know how to leverage ours?

3) Barriers to Success: What are ours and how do we knock them down?

4) Competitive Positioning: Where do we stand?

5) Key Differentiators: Are ours still making a difference?

6) Resources & Relationships: Can we get more out of ours?

7) Operating Climate: Where are we hot, cold, lukewarm or frozen?

8) Strategic Imperatives: Have ours been clearly communicated?

9) Strategic Options: Are our best ones identified?

10) Strategic Shifts: Where are ours occurring?

Change, says Fass, is bittersweet. But that realization means “you’ll be more prepared to persevere when the pain points start popping up. The course you follow to change also needs to be consistent or else it will cause confusion and slow everyone down to a crawl.”

How does your company master change?

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out, and you can receive her free Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.

I started life as a journalist and political operative. I’m a consultant and the author of “Reinventing You” and “Stand Out.” I also teach for Duke University’s Fuqua…

How to leverage your pain as a servant

Our Pain Has a Greater Purpose

I believe there is a side to suffering we miss when we focus solely on our pain rather than on God’s greater purpose. If you can see the purpose behind the pain, you can find the way out of this lie. If you can see the purpose beyond the pain, you will understand God’s ability to leverage the suffering in your life for greater things.

If your suffering won’t go away, it might as well go to work. Hard times have the capacity to deepen your faith and the faith of those around you. And when you submit your situation to God, he can purify your motives and teach you wonderful things that you can only learn when suffering humbles you and forces you to pay attention to the deep work the Holy Spirit is doing inside of you.

I’m not suggesting God hurts us on purpose just to watch us squirm in agony. On the contrary; God doesn’t hurt us. The world we live in does. Things are breaking down here on earth. People hurt each other. Greed and violence and war and deception are everywhere, and you can’t get away from the constant cycle of sickness, poverty, and death. God doesn’t create these things to hurt you. He is the very One who wants to rescue broken people from these evil forces. And how does God do that? What is his plan to redeem humanity from the curse?

It begins with Jesus. God sent his own Son to this earth to live a sinless life and die a horrible death in our place, so that we would not have to be punished for our sin and rebellion.

It continues, however, with us. The plan God began with Jesus was handed off to God’s people, Christians, to carry on. Jesus himself promised that we would do even greater works than he did, simply meaning that billions of Christians can accomplish unimaginable good in this world for the glory of God when we understand that God wants to use us in his plan. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

And how does he use us, exactly? One way is through our suffering. Consider these words written by Peter, the disciple who spent years with Jesus only to deny him at his crucifixion, and then was restored to lead the New Testament church:

But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:20–21)

Does this mean it is God’s will for me as a Christian to suffer? At first glance, the answer seems simply . . . yes. But let’s consider a more nuanced reading of these verses.

This Scripture states that it is God’s will not that you simply suffer aimlessly, randomly, or mindlessly but that you suffer for the purpose of doing good and, more importantly, that you endure that suffering. Therefore, God does not orchestrate purposeless suffering in your life but rather, on the contrary, redeems your suffering, giving you the grace to endure it for the purpose of serving as a witness to the power of the gospel. People—our children, our spouse, our friends, our boss, our extended family, even skeptical nonbelievers—will observe the way we handle suffering, and they’ll learn from us. When they see us endure the same kind of hurts and hardships they experience while remaining humble, faithful, and prayerful before God, they’ll pay close attention, curious about the source of our strength.

To put it another way: there is always a bigger story encompassing the painful place in which we find ourselves. God is always up to something much bigger. And while we may not focus on or even be aware of the bigger God-story in the midst of our suffering, the God-story is still there.

When it comes to suffering, sometimes the way we overcome is to simply, humbly, and faithfully endure.

Nothing testifies to the deep, authentic reality of God’s presence in the life of a believer like watching that believer keep their eyes on Jesus while enduring hell on earth. Observing a Christian cry out to God in confusion, pain, and anger, while maintaining the faith to keep calling, to keep weeping, to keep reaching out in hope and trust, is perhaps the greatest apologetic for the Christian faith the world will ever see. Our suffering has the power to change those who are watching us suffer.

How to leverage your pain as a servant

Excerpted from Overcome by Clayton King. ©2017 by Clayton King. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group: www.bakerpublishinggroup.com. Used with permission.

Clayton King is founder and president of Clayton King Ministries as well as Crossroads Missions and Summer Camps. He is professor of evangelism at Anderson University and pastor at NewSpring Church, one of the largest churches in America. The author of over a dozen books, including Stronger, King regularly speaks to tens of thousands of people all over the globe. He and his wife, Sharie, have two sons and live in South Carolina.

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