Suffering is something we tend to avoid like sucking on a lemon, but we’ve all experienced it’s value in school, sports, raising children, etc.

What good can come from suffering?

  1. When we make a choice that involves suffering, we’re on the path to potentially reconciling the gap between our best self and the reality of how we currently show-up to others.
  2. Potentially? Well, if we freely choose this path, then we have to exercise our whole self – knowledge, character, and temperament to close the gap. Your best self is your whole self. It’s all or nothing…

Here’s a classic issue leaders suffer from in business – ‘what do you do when you practice authentic leadership and it doesn’t work? For example, a business colleague doesn’t respond to your authenticity like you would hope.’

The answer is three-fold.

1. Suffering helps propel you towards closing the gap between your best self and how you currently show-up to others. Their lack of response signals you still have work to do to achieve your best self and illicit the response you hope for.

2. You don’t have as strong a relationship as you think you do. Back-up and look at how strong a connection you have with that person. For example, do you have ground rules? Ground rules are what you both need to work together successfully.

3. There are times when it’s best to just move-on, but rarely. What’s more likely is that the first two points work. In they don’t AND you’re producing good work product, then when you do move on, you’re decisive, there’s no drama, and you’re able to explain ‘why’.

Most quit their business colleagues because they don’t recognize the value of suffering. Authentic leaders do hard things. They use suffering to close their authenticity gap.

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