What if You Looked at Pain as a Threshold to Audacious Results?

It felt like someone was stabbing my toes with a needle.

The alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. signaling the time we needed to prepare for my 11th half marathon. Recently I had struggled with my right I.T. band but had been working with my therapist. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t cooperate today. It would be a painful run.

Pivot your thinking. Instead of seeing pain as debilitating, what if you shifted to see it as a threshold to what you ultimately want? In this post, you will learn about 5 types of pain that you can use to think bigger and reach higher.

Those that follow me know I write on pivotal success. Iā€™m passionate about helping you break out and break through, thinking bigger to reach higher. I believe each of us should be living 100% alive. To do that often requires that we work through pain that would paralyze others. This is the challenge for any leader, manager, or employee. To unleash the ultimate and reach our highest goals, we must be willing to endure some pain.

The Pain of Expectations

To make matters worse, it was a cool, dreary Florida winter morning. Instead of the previously predicted perfect running weather, we had cold winds blowing off the gulf with occasional showers making it feel uncomfortable.

We all want the ultimate conditions, don’t we? After all, that helps ensure that we are not only comfortable, but have the best chance for success. Unfortunately, too often life doesn’t give us ideal conditions. What do we do then?

Pivot your perspective.

Be flexible in your expectations and accept what you get. Adopt the mantra, “Quitting isn’t an option.”

We must overcome the pain of unmet expectations if we want to reach much higher and cross that ultimate threshold. For me, there wasn’t a choice. Either I run in the weather or stay home.

We added a layer or two and told ourselves we would be fine – and we were.

Familiar Pain

My I.T. pain was familiar, even though this was the first time I experienced the sharp, physical pain so early. Normally I make it to at least mile four. In my only marathon, I made it to mile 24 before it came to visit. While quitting is never an option, many can’t understand why I would run knowing I will be in pain.

This familiar pain is enough to keep some if not many from beginning. Anticipating the pain, they recoil and resist.

Pivot Your Perspective

But what if you used the familiarity of that pain to push yourself farther? The advantage of familiar pain is that we are also familiar with the way to manage that pain.

My solution is my familiar pain is to stretch before running and vary the slant of the road. It doesn’t resolve the pain but makes it tolerable. Most importantly, I know it will be uncomfortable but won’t cause irreparable damage. That is a critical distinction.

What growth pain have you had in the past? What old remedies have you found helpful?

Misguided Pain

Thirty years ago she was diagnosed with asthma. The doctor told her she would never run again. She listened and accepted his prognosis. Then 10 years ago, she noticed her company was assembling teams for the local 5K. She wondered “What if I ran the race?” “What would happen?” She asked me and we thought, “Why not try?” After all, we had learned that many athletes compete with asthma. She willingly challenged the expert’s advise, For a typically obedient soul, that alone caused some pain.

But here she was, setting the pace running her 9th half marathon in 5 years.

Pivot Your Perspective

What limitations have others put on you? How has that kept you from crossing that threshold to advance your career or life goals?

Comparative Pain

My wife and I were each in pain but knew it was nothing debilitating. My wife worked with her breathing to maintain a safe level. I made my adjustments that made the pain tolerable.

Meanwhile, I kept thinking of a friend.

Aaron Burros just finished an audacious quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks after being shot 6 years ago. With one bullet still lodged in his right glute, he asked the doctor if he could still run.

“You won’t do any further damage. It just depends on how much pain you can tolerate.”

Meanwhile, he motivates himself through the pain by thinking of two children fighting cancer. “They don’t have the privilege of quitting. If they can do it, so can I.”

Aaron uses their pain to motivate him.

Pivot Your Perspective

Whose pain is worse than yours? How can you use that to think bigger and reach higher?

Transformative Pain

I didn’t start running until the month before my 57th birthday. At a time when most are kicking life into neutral and coasting to the finish, I’m speeding up, determined to do what I never thought possible.

That includes running. I’ve never really enjoyed running in part because I’m not very fast and it doesn’t come easily. My legs tend to hurt even before the I.T. band began acting up.

So why do I run? Because it pushes me to do what I never imagined possible. I guess it is how I authored my first book at age 52 and have now written over 30. For me to run is a challenge, but one that I accept knowing I’ll never win a race unless there is no one else running. The challenge for me isn’t to win but to simply finish. Along the way, I know my legs will hurt, but I expect that. I must run through that pain to get what I ultimately want and to live 100% alive.

Pivot Your Perspective

What do you want to do that will set you apart? What do you want to do that will make the world around you better? Isn’t that worth the pain of beginning?

Celebratory Pain

As we fist bumped at mile 12, we knew the finish line was just a mile down the road. We smiled and said, “We have this!” Soon we saw and heard the finish line. The pain slipped into the background as we accepted praise from complete strangers, we smiled for the photographer, stepped on the electric timing mat, and accepted our finisher’s medal.

We did it!

We had pushed ourselves through the pain to finish my 11th and my wife’s 9th half marathon. That is no record but a message to ourselves. We pushed through our pain to do what we hadn’t done before. We didn’t quit. We didn’t shy away from the challenge.

The day or two after the race, our muscles ache but the celebratory memory quickly reminds of of what we had accomplished. It says we pushed ourselves to the limit and then some.

Pivot Your Perspective.

What pain do you need to go through to reach higher and exceed your expectations? How will that pain remind you that you are doing more than you have ever done before?

Contact me for your FREE 20-minute Coaching Call.




I am Dr. Loren Murfield, and I develop aspiring and emerging leaders pivot to their breakthrough success.  Contact me today to begin your pivot.

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(c) Murfield International, Inc. 2022

Click here to Learn how I pivoted my perspective and went from a chore boy follower to a disruptive leader.

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