Pain is definitely not my first desired go-to for information. Upon first glance, I would much rather enjoy other forms of communication- a light suggestion, a brief nod, even an encouraging word! And yet, as an athlete, I can, in fact, resonate with the concept of pain as part of my feedback loop. As part of that history, I quickly got in touch with the good pain/bad pain reality. Of course, good pain was when I would push my body to its limits, knowing deep down that I am strengthening it within a larger process. And, the bad pain? Well, I can more directly appreciate that message today when I turn in the midst of a yoga pose and immediately feel a shooting pain that simply screams, "oh, so wrong!"
But what about in your professional career? I have certainly known the pain of not wanting to go in to the office - whether the desire to avoid an interaction with a difficult colleague, blatant contradictions between value-based messaging and leadership actions, or not finding the potential for growth and development that could keep me stimulated and energized. It really doesn't matter which direction you profess, "live to work" or "work to live", pain is pain.
So, what does one do? There are the "simple" answers. Just leave! You know, get out! The next answer, just bury your head, do your job and, when the clock strikes the designated hour, bolt like lightening. Both of those responses can certainly hold truth or serve as a temporary placeholder. In all honesty, I have lived into those answers myself. But what I found in doing just that, the pain didn't go away.
So, where do you begin when the pain feels excruciating and You. Just. Want. It. To. Stop! The following are beginning steps forward.
Step 1. Start by bringing your emotional thoughts into the present physical moment. Begin with your breath. Breathe and allow yourself to feel the oxygen entering and exiting your body. Why? Because that action brings you into the physical present rather than swimming circles in the pool of your thoughts. Do this multiple times to practice being in the here and now.
Step 2. Engage in self-reflection. Move your thoughts from your head to paper. Through journalling, you begin the process of releasing a block in your life. And, it can be done in whatever way resonates. Possible ideas are bullet points of current situations, key word capture or story telling. Just get them out of your head.
Step 3. Give yourself space to open to the awareness that comes from reflection. Patterns, connections, the emptying of the mind to create room for possibilities can all begin to emerge.
These steps can move you from hanging over the precipice to standing a distance away and taking in the view. Allow this to be a beginning, your beginning, as you use pain as guidance and input rather than merely a scary voice from which to hide.