Turn Your Pain Into Your Greatest Advantage

Your pain is your unique advantage. 

Now, if you had told me that when I was a teenager after my first girlfriend dumped me, I would have told you to get lost. But what I realize, more than 35 years later, is that moment would give me a unique advantage. I look back and think how wise you would have been to have said that to me. 

In less than a year from now, Elizabeth and I will have three teenage sons in our home. And with that, the conversations have shifted from the “this was the best day ever” era when, no matter what we did, they were ecstatic, to the more real world of relationships and the up and down emotions that come with them. 

Because of that, I rehashed to one of our kids the story of my first girlfriend- and the pain associated with it, as well as why that pain shaped who I am today in an extremely positive way. 

To make a long story short, I was dumped. But I wasn’t just dumped. I was told by a mutual friend that this girl didn’t want to date me any longer. That was it. No conversation. No explanation. No closure. It hurt even more that it happened during the summertime, when I found myself with little to do while my parents worked. 

Because of that, I found myself with a lot of time to think. And they weren’t enjoyable conversations with myself. What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? I had zero outlet for understanding, and it sent me down a mental spiral that affected me more than I realized at the time. Life went on, new relationships were plenty and that brief moment in time rarely crossed my mind. 

Still, parts of my personality were shaped. More and more, I valued real conversations. I placed a standard on being honest, even if it was painful to do so. Whether it was for me or helping others, I didn’t ever want to avoid a conversation that needed to be had. Often, it would be easy to walk away. Avoid the drama. But these things needed to be said. 

All of these attributes that I credit to any success I have had, came from somewhere. Books I’ve read. People I’ve learned from. And, maybe most importantly, experiences from my past. And what I learned from them. 

And it was only when I was talking to my son about this did I truly realize what that pain from my past did to make my future so much better. 

Having that first romantic relationship end in such an impersonal way enforced inside of me the value of personal connection. The importance of doing the little things that are easy to avoid. The understanding of how important communicating individually is. For every conversation we avoid, there is someone waiting for a response. 

Without that, the importance of connection may easily have been overlooked. But with it, a superpower developed. I’ve been able to develop my network so powerfully simply because of the understanding of how valuable our 1:1 connections are. It’s something that I literally feel a pain if I am not doing it. While others might avoid or run away from conversations because they are uncomfortable, I cherish them. Because, I believe, deep down there is still that pain of being completely avoided and ghosted in the first romantic relationship of my life. 

I also think that the experience I had is why it’s so frustrating for me when I teach this but other people don’t seem to value the input. I know that if people connected personally with more people, in a generous way, they would reap the rewards of it. Not just with stronger relationships but also with success in their careers that would be hard to explain otherwise. 

Building real relationships is the most important thing you can do to build a successful business. 

Yet I never would have been able to see what it could do without the focus I intensely put on it- and continue to do so to this day. That pain- for good or bad- will probably always be there inside of me. But that pain not only made me better. It made me unique. 

I know there are people reading this that are struggling, struggling to get past mental hurdles. Struggling to push through limiting beliefs. Struggling because they didn’t get what they needed earlier in life and it has them questioning their worth, their value and their own confidence. 

If this is you, what would happen if you turned that pain into an advantage? What would happen if you used what you didn’t get to help others? 

You didn’t get positive attention? Give positive attention to someone else. 

You didn’t get praise? Be known for giving great, personal compliments.

You didn’t have a mentor to teach you? Be that mentor for someone who needs it. 

You didn’t have anyone to lead you? Go lead the people who need a leader. Greatness doesn’t come from having ease in our lives. Zig Ziglar once said that champions aren’t made on soft beds. Champions are made by fighting through- and learning from- the obstacles placed in front of us. 

Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss such a golden opportunity of turning a pain of yours into one of your greatest advantages? 

Have an AMAZING week!



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