Sunday, 1 January 2017

Discover pleasure embedded in pain

This morning a colleague shared the vision and anxiety of a newly appointed ‘professional’ CEO of a thoroughbred pedigreed family business.  This CEO working for a century old trusted business house in India, sought my colleague’s consulting support to unlock employee potential towards increasing market-share of their business.  Armed with a vision to grow and keenness to transform the organization, the CEO had only one request ‘support us to cascade my vision through our loyal people; they must change and embrace ‘the new now’, shed their inertia, increase commitment… BUT do make sure that there’s no pain’.

Compare this with what a 24 year old quipped, “I wish to sculpt my body to be beautiful, agile and strong I want to work smart and get there avoiding all the pain”.  Similarly, few months ago a friend posted on FB that, “It is an irony of human nature that sometimes we take so much pleasure to go through pain!” commenting about someone having completed a triathlon or other such effort of human endurance.  He ended the note with a resolve From now on, I’m going to volunteer only for joy and pleasure!!

My colleague’s response to the CEO, my reaction to the 24 year old youngster and some of the readers’ reactions to the FB posts carried common threads; that not every overt pain is truly painful and that many a times the pleasure underlying the transiting pain is more rewarding.   Like, when one runs a marathon she’s not shopping for pain, rather looking for joy which eclipses the pain of every aching muscle into a sweet reminder of the passion, the pursuit and the resilience to transcend beyond the known comforts. 

It appears that the pursuing Aristotelian quip, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain” has crippled many among us and made them lead sub-optimal lives; sometimes bringing our lives to standstill.  Idioms such as ‘don’t upset apple cart’ or ‘don’t rock the boat’ appear to have become entrenched beliefs in the psyche of many a leaders. 

In our consulting practice when we encounter situations like these, we know that for this leader or organization to truly unlock their potential, they will have to transcend pain.  Often the very first step for us is to catalyze ‘confidence building’ in that leader.  Upfront we admit and establish that ‘we cannot eliminate pain’; just as our family physician had said years ago, when I took my adolescent son complaining of body pains, labeling those as ‘growth pains’.   Likewise, consultants cannot eliminate the pains of growth; we can convert it into a pleasurable experience by facilitating the organizational muscles to develop an attitude of ‘celebrating stretch’, by preparing organizational bones to endure aches akin to an athlete anticipating to successfully completing a marathon.  Just as the bones & body of a couch potato decay at a faster pace, similarly, the organizational leaders who haven’t learnt to ‘rock the boat’ cannot hope to cross the ocean that by very nature carries the waves of possibility.

Wishing you all a happy 2017.  Hope you find the confidence to get onto a boat that may sometimes rock in your pursuit to cross the ocean.  Hope twenty seventeen helps you to discover the resilience and fortitude to turn up the boat even when it tumbles, as sometimes it will. 


6 comments:

  1. What a thought to start the new year with! Rings so true..when I reflect on some of my most fulfilling moments of life so far, all the emotions, including the discomforting ones of pain, fear, anxiety etc are an integral part of the experience which would be rendered incomplete if I strip off any part of it.
    Also, I believe there are transactional time investments we often do where such a pros and cons approach may help us decide but when it comes to stuff related to some purpose or passion which sits on a higher level of abstraction then all the pain seems 'transitory' as Harish puts it and is not a deal breaker anymore.
    In the organisational setting, it may involve helping the person reflect on what they really value more and connecting the actions to their higher purpose helping them ride the tides of pain to 'cross their ocean'.
    What a wonderful read..thanks Harish!

    Gaurav

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  2. What a thought to start the new year with! Rings so true..when I reflect on some of my most fulfilling moments of life so far, all the emotions, including the discomforting ones of pain, fear, anxiety etc are an integral part of the experience which would be rendered incomplete if I strip off any part of it.
    Also, I believe there are transactional time investments we often do where such a pros and cons approach may help us decide but when it comes to stuff related to some purpose or passion which sits on a higher level of abstraction then all the pain seems 'transitory' as Harish puts it and is not a deal breaker anymore.
    In the organisational setting, it may involve helping the person reflect on what they really value more and connecting the actions to their higher purpose helping them ride the tides of pain to 'cross their ocean'.
    What a wonderful read..thanks Harish!

    Gaurav

    ReplyDelete
  3. Am I ready to rock my boat? Well, the last few months every time I have tried something I have just loved it. It did mean doing things differently and rocking the boat but the new has always been so fulfilling. Just a few days back I was telling myself - 'can I be more more open to the new and change' so that I experience this high more often and this year my resolution is to try and be open to change even if means the boat isn't always steady.
    Nice read.

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  4. An excellent read.. Thanks Harish for sharing this. It's a great read at the start of the year. One needs to endure and stretch for extraordinary achievevents.

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  5. So very well put Harish ... the magic definitly lies outside the comfort zone ! isnt the comfort of the comfort zone a real barrier to growth , then ?!

    Hoping for more trips outside this zone , this year :)


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  6. Thank you Gaurav for enriching this with your own experience and perspective

    ReplyDelete